Faced with the loss of a favorite bagel shop I wrestled with how we experience change in our lives. Learning to help others navigate change is important.
Looking Forward to Lunch
This week I am attending the yearly conference of the Nehemiah Leadership Network. It is being held at the Tuscarora Inn and Conference Center. I have found reason to visit Tuscarora Inn a couple times each year. One of my favorite things about trips here is a visit to the local bagel shop. It is one of those shops in a small country town. A locally owned place where you can get amazing sandwiches on just about any type of bagel that you can imagine.
Confronted with ChangeI arrived a day early so I could settle in and get some rest before the activities of the week began. I was not really hungry, but I did want to stop by this special bagel shop so out the door I went. As I came into town I was greeted with a big, bright orange, brown, and pink sign glaring at me. Normally I am one who cheers the site of a Dunkin’ Donuts sign. There was a season when I would have bet that my blood was part Dunkin’ coffee. Today, my heart sank. Gone was the bagel shop with such great sandwiches. In its place stood the same old Dunkin’ that I can find just about anywhere on the east coast.
I drove through town in hopes of finding something local, I was disappointed. As I walked into Dunkin’ Donuts they had taken what was a nice space with plenty of area to sit, read, relax, have conversations with friends and sterilized it. There were about one third of the amount of seats, all crammed in together. This was not the place I remember sitting for hours as I enjoyed my lunch, a cup of soup, and a good book. I grabbed something to eat and got out as fast as I could.
How we Experience Change
Change is constant. No matter what season we find ourselves in one thing will be true, it will involve change.
There were some within this community who would have joined with me and mourned the loss of the community bagel shop. Others welcomed the “growth” of seeing a franchise like Dunkin’ open their doors within the community. Still others were barely aware that anything was happening. Change came, no matter how the individuals received or responded to it.
For me, this change felt like loss. I missed what was and I longed for the day when the bagel shop sat in that same spot. Driving back to the conference center eating the exact sandwich I could have gotten at one the thousands of Dunkin’ Donuts across the country that sense of loss was real. There was nothing wrong with the meal. It was exactly what I ordered. The nutritional value was what I needed to get me through until dinner. To be honest, it was probably one of the better meals I have received at Dunkin’. It just was not what I had been looking forward to.
Our Change Perception
About halfway back I started to think about how I respond to the other changes that take place within my world, the changes that are probably a little more significant that the closing of a favorite bagel shop. I started to think about how we who are change agents, leaders of change can sometimes see something as positive and good while others may experience the exact same event with a profound sense of loss. I imagine the retired men who lost their place to come sit, grab breakfast and solve the world’s problems as the bagel shop’s community feel was replaced with the efficiency and effectiveness of a Dunkin’ franchise. At the very same moment that those men mourn the loss of what was gone, imagine the commuters who can now go through a drive through and get a cup of coffee with the speed and efficiency of Dunkin’ Donuts.
Helping People Navigate the Constant Change of Life
Anytime we notice change taking place within our world, communities, within our lives it would do us good to slow down for a moment. Slow down and ask, “Who is celebrating the changes taking place? Who is mourning the loss of what once was?” The ability to come alongside both groups to help them mourn what was, celebrate what will be, and travel the transition well makes us a good community.