Sunday, March 17, 2013

Resistance to Change: Personal and Pope Francis

We will be entering Spring in the next week and this causes me to think of change. It has been a weekend of meeting with others at the Motherhouse and I am toast. Not much going on in my head that feels blog-worthy. So, why not go with the theme of change for the sake of the upcoming season?Change is difficult on the personal level, and even more complex when dealing with systems (I am going to leave systems alone for now, much of this can be translated though). We resist change, even when we initiate least this is my experience. For instance, when I get my bike out in a couple of weeks and begin a riding routine it will be fun for the first outing and maybe even the second. There is a guarantee that by the third time I plan on riding my thinking and commitment will become sketchy. I know the pattern and have lived with it since I can remember. This resistance is like attempting to walk through a concrete wall, and I am very skilled at getting myself off course. It usually takes me another week before the third and fourth ride occur. And then eventually, something clicks and I begin riding at a reasonable rate and look forward to the experience again. I always feel awful for giving into the resistance, and still manage to play this little game with myself. Over the years I have become more gentle about this pattern, partly because I see the pattern and know I will follow through with a little coaxing.

Now my thoughts are shifting to the resistance experienced when attempting to deal with the action of systemic change. This is a much bigger deal than getting on a bike. This is about transformation beyond the scope of an individual and it takes dedication and work from a body of people to make it happen. The thing that amazes me is that systems can and do change at an unpredictable pace when we are willing to work through the discord with one another. Resistance occurs on so many levels. This week we experienced the election of Pope Francis. This is a major shift in the Church while we welcome the first Pope from the America's, the first Pope Francis, and many other first's including he has represented himself to the world. My guess is he is experiencing much resistance from insiders at the Vatican, as well as many of us Catholics who believe and work for change in our faith. Sometimes it seems like we want changes based on conditions that they will be what we want, when we want them. Many of us our excited in the mystery of this moment in Church history, and my guess is there will be much support for Pope Francis as he finds his place among us. This does not mean it will be easy for him or any of us, and that is where we will meet our own resistance. So, my hope is that this is similar to the pattern of getting on the bike for the third ride and we are gentle in how we find ourselves in the resistance. This is an exciting time as we witness the changes of our times and I pray for Pope Francis.

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