Life is full of experiences, some pleasant, some less so.
All of us have experienced much change – family life, work, health, church and other community groups, where we live, etc..
We can fear change or embrace it.
Those of us who have been involved with MUC in recent years have been acutely aware that church life has also been changing – there have been aspects that have caused concern, and aspects that have caused excitement – some of us may have had opposing feelings toward particular changes.
Like many of you who have moved several times, we have lived with the high expectations offset by uncertainty and doubts associated with family relocation associated with work, and the concerns that come with job redundancy.
Peter worked with the SECV (State Electricity Commission of Victoria), early days in Melbourne, and later in the Latrobe Valley for 16 years until 1991. That finished during a period of major change for the SECV – the first moves toward the privatisation of much of the organisation – then employing 21,000 people. Most SECV employees at that time believed that they and their families would have the benefits of “lifetime” secure employment.
One section of the Transport Services Group that he managed became the first significant group to be ‘privatised’ and the other sections were clearly likely to follow.
Being aware of the trauma that many people were likely to experience, we arranged for the Industrial Chaplains to conduct an ‘Understanding Change’ program, initially for the management group, and then for everybody. One of the most significant exercises during the program was to get participants to list their significant memories, good and bad, from early days until age 15, discuss them with a colleague and then repeat from age 16 to the present time. For many participants there were some ‘pretty heavy’ memories evoked but the purpose of the exercise was to find:
We are where we are – because of, and in spite of, these experiences.
We’ve made it to here – we can live with some uncertainty regarding the future.
It was also pointed out that there can be phases in our reactions to change – initially shock/denial, followed by anger/fear, then hopefully acceptance/ optimism, and embracement/commitment to the new way.
That program and other discussions helped many people, including us, get a less troubled perspective re the future.
The personal outcome of this privatisation process was that Peter became redundant – somewhat expected, but a reality to face. A new position was found but it required that we move back to Melbourne, leaving Sue, our recently married daughter, and our 20 year old son Chris, to live a life without Mum and Dad nearby and for us to start another phase of our lives – new home, new job, new church group, re-establish friends network, etc.
As a couple we have a trail of ‘Gone’ items.
- Family homes in Glenroy, Doncaster and Yallourn – demolished for redevelopment.
- Churches – Glenroy Methodist now a mosque, East Doncaster Methodist/Wesley Uniting sold to developers, Yallourn Methodist/Presbyterian/ Uniting demolished as part of Open Cut expansion MUC Andersons Creek Road sold to developers.
- Peter’s workplaces – Hazelwood Power Station – demolished, Transport Workshops and other facilities in Melbourne and the Latrobe Valley – demolished or re-purposed.
Those places that were important to us in earlier times no longer exist, but life goes on.
Some comments and quotes that we have found helpful:
- We have no problems, only challenges and opportunities. (The challenges may be great and the opportunities hard to find, but they will be there)
- The serenity prayer “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”
- We can exercise choice in how we face life:
- Start each day – decide to be in a good mood or bad mood – choose good.
- When something bad happens – decide to be a victim or learn from it – choose learn.
- When someone comes complaining – decide to accept their complaint or point out the positive side of life – choose the positive.
- Life is about choices – When you cut away all the junk, virtually every situation is a choice.
- You choose how you react to situations.
- You choose how people will affect your mood.
- You choose to be in a good or bad mood.
- It’s your choice how you live your life.
The only thing that is truly yours, that no one can control or take from you, is your attitude, so if you take care of that, everything else in life becomes much easier.
Change need not be feared- it can be embraced and that life is still GREAT!