When my husband and I first were married and as we were merging our households together I became the owner of a lovely little potted palm tree my husband affectionately called “Mr. Palmy”. When we moved into our first home in Orange County, California “Mr. Palmy” was planted into the ground of our tiny backyard, and there it took root. Another palm tree went into the ground soon after and as our trees took root, our married lives took root. We added our shelter dog Rufus to our household as well as a host of new friends into the circle of our growing marriage. We have many happy memories of our little condo in Santa Ana.
I decided to go back to see our old condo, and as I looked up above the garages Mr. Palmy was soaring at least fifteen feet higher than our garage! His ‘friend’ had thrived as well, and both of them looked magnificent! It was a stark reminder of how much time had passed as well as the change and growth that still happens even when I am not around to witness it.
While we were raising support in Southern California for a few months I had a chance to stay for more than just a “vacation stay”. And like the change I saw in “Mr. Palmy” I witnessed change all around me every day. The state gone through some changes (more crowded, drought conditions and a bigger homeless population). Some of my friends had really changed, some had moved and a couple had passed away while I was gone. My perceptions had a new twist to them as well. Life did not stand still while I was away for three years. Change was everywhere, and as unsettling as it was, I was now a sojourner in a place I used to call home!
As I take a deep breath at the end of the day, and I think about moving to a far off and foreign land, I am filled with gratitude for a God who does not change. One of my favorite hymns is “Abide with Me”. This second verse gives me great comfort:
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see-
Oh Thou, who changes not, abide with me.