To be or not to be, that is the question…Hamlet
In Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, he contrasts the misery he is experiencing in his life with the unknown of the afterlife. Hamlet contemplates taking his life, but in the end Hamlet decides the known misery of this world is preferable to the unknowns of death. Hamlet’s real issue is not whether or not he wants to die, but whether or not he can handle the chaos of the unknown surrounding him.
I have always felt I have a lot in common with Hamlet. Not the contemplating suicide part (although, knowing how the mental battles I’ve been fighting have affected me, I have concluded that Christians often do not take emotional trauma seriously enough. However, that’s not what I’m talking about.) Where I find myself relating most to Hamlet is in how very slowly he processes his situation. A lot of times we discuss Hamlet’s flaw as procrastination. He puts off, and puts off, and puts off what he should do until it’s too late. I can relate to that as well. I am quite a procrastinator myself sometimes. But I don’t think Hamlet’s major problem was procrastination. And I don’t think my major problem is procrastination. I think our problem is that we just can’t get out of our own heads sometimes. We miss the opportunity to act because we are overthinking. Hamlet’s world was falling apart. Circumstances were changing faster than he could process. He didn’t have time to adapt. He wasn’t sure what was true. He didn’t know if he was going crazy. He didn’t know if what his senses perceived was reality.
As Hamlet’s world continued to change and to fall into chaos, he just couldn’t process it all fast enough to come to a good decision on how to act. So, he just kept thinking about it. And thinking about it. And thinking about it. And then, poor guy, when he finally does seize the moment and act without thinking, his actions actually made everything worse.
I can relate to Hamlet. It takes me a long time to process change. Even when the change is good, and even when the change is something I want, it still takes me forever to adjust and catch up to what’s going on around me. The last two years of my life have been one change after another – and most of the changes that have taken place have been because of someone else’s decision and have been the exact opposite of what I desired. Change has made me fearful.
Change and unknowns are a constant aspect of life. I am still experiencing change, but it is mostly a good type of change. Nonetheless, I am still reeling from the chaos that has been around me for so long. What I really want is to get out of my own head and enjoy the good change and everything that comes along with it. I want change to slow down so I have time to catch up and adjust.
Right now, I can think of several others close to me who are also feeling the stress of change. Some of us are experiencing happy, exciting change. Others of us are experiencing hard, unwanted change. Regardless of the type of change, though, one thing is always true – change is always a little scary. Change opens the door to variables beyond our control while also forcing us to be vulnerable as we step out of our comfort zones. Change can promote great growth in our lives. Change can cause great trauma. It can happen slowly or quickly. Change is by nature unpredictable.
How do we deal with these constant changes? We have to find a fixed point to focus on.
Throughout the Bible, we see evidence that God does not change, beginning with His name, “I AM.” In the midst of change and variables, we can find our constant in Christ.
“For I the Lord do not change…”Malachi 3:6
” Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. ”Hebrews 13:8
When I focus on the situations changing around me, I get dizzy from all the chaos. But when I focus my eyes on the constant of Christ, I finally find the peace and rest that I need to calm my mind and to find a clear path and a clear direction for action. Since He is the same yesterday today tomorrow and forever, when I focus on Him the chaos fades away.
I don’t know what change you are facing today. I don’t know what change I may face tomorrow or next week. But when I stop looking at the change and look instead at my constant, the chaos of change becomes still. I know I can trust that my God will never change. In trusting Him, we can find peace and joy in the midst of change.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”James 1:17