Destruction in the Name of Progress

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The city I live in is preparing for the construction of a new interstate. After many years of debates, discussions, votes, and protests our residents can finally see the evidence of the final decision. Right now, along the sides of the current highway, the scenery currently looks like this:

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Honestly, it looks like some kind of catastrophic event has occurred. Now I understand why the environmentalists were so upset. After years of seeing the same landscape, major changes are evolving, and many trees indeed are being harmed in the process.

Somehow the whole situation makes me feel a little unsettled. I don’t like change. For those who know me well, that information isn’t any big secret. I’ve lived in the same town nearly my entire life with just a few semesters away at college. I’ve lived in a total of four different homes my entire life. My cars are my friends for years at a time.

I do know there are advantages to these changes. We’ll be able to get to nearby towns faster. Being directly off of the interstate may likely help our economy.

But this post isn’t about the reasons an interstate is advantageous. The thought that occurred to me as I reflected on all of the destruction happening involves our own lives. All of us. You see, often progress cannot be made unless an overhaul happens within us. 

Consider the extreme situation of a drug abuser or alcoholic. They must temporarily overcome great agony in order to break the addiction. I’ve never seen anyone do this firsthand, but from what I’ve seen on movies, this is an excruciating process, and one that is ongoing for the rest of their lives.

I find the same thing to be true, though, in even more basic situations. In order to change for the better, we have to experience some pain.

As I’ve worked the last few months on risk taking, I’ve found the initial steps are not always comfortable. In fact, trying new things often makes my stomach churn and sometimes I even experience feelings of true dread.

But afterwards…afterwards I enjoy such a feeling of accomplishment. The thought of doing the same thing again doesn’t seem nearly so frightening. Great satisfaction comes with attaining something otherwise deemed impossible. 

Too often we are afraid of positive change because of what we might have to endure in the process. Fixing your marriage may take time and money. Changing jobs when you know it’s time may seem like an impossible task. Taking on the extra job to pay down the debt may feel more exhausting than it’s worth. Disappointing your child in order to do what is best for him/her feels so undesirable.

Endure the pain in order to achieve the reward. Be brave. Take a risk. Make beauty from the mess.

Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 (God’s Word Translation)

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Photo with quote from Stock Exchange.

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