Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…those famous words that are inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. She stands in the harbor as a beacon of hope and liberty. It is a universal instict to desire freedom, hope, and the ability to control your own destiny. For the millions of people who passed by her on their way to a new life, she stood as a symbol that anything was possible.
I spoke with a young person recently who was making a career choice. He wanted more than he currently had, he wanted a new challenge. He wanted the opportunity to make his own way. He wanted to learn, grow, be challenged and prove himself worthy of all things good. He wanted a promotion and yet was not sure that it would provide all that he hoped. He was excited about the opportunity change provided, yet fearful that it would not live up to all he really wanted. But isn’t that true for all change? We have to take the exciting along with the possibilities of disappointment? The good and the bad are two sides of the same coin.
Imagine being on a ship for months crossing the ocean, hoping to make it through the long journey and arrive in America. Then once you arrive, not really knowing all the details – was what you were promised going to be there? Would you like where you live, or the job you ended up doing? Would you like the food or meet anyone you would like, let alone love? Could you trust the people around you, or would you regret it all and only want to get back home? Change means we have to leave behind the known and face head on the unknown. The good, the bad, the ugly, the mediocre, the fabulous, and the boring. It all comes with change, and when we choose that route the unknown becomes our constant companion.
I cheer for the people who had the courage to uproot their lives and travel to this strange land. I applaud those who endured all the unknown to make a new life, a new start, a new opportunity for the future generations. I smile when I think of their faces when they had their first glimpse of Lady Liberty…what a sight that must have been. I give thanks for those who were already here and made arrangements for family and friends to join them. Someone had to go first. Someone had to step forward and choose change. Someone had to advise, listen, counsel and encourage those new arrivals. At one time or another we were all new, we were all in a strange place, we were all uncomfortable with the change we were making…and someone helped up adjust. You may be the new arrival, or you may be like Lady Liberty encouraging others to live a new life…either way, anything is possible if you are willing to change.