What’s in a Name?

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La Delta. Let’s just get the La out of the way—The was taken so La it is. It adds a little flair. Now, Delta, as in the mathematical symbol indicating a change in some constant. Delta, as in the necessary changes of life that keep us moving, that keep us alive.

I suspect that most desire something constant and dependable: A consistent income, a healthy body, peaceable relationships and political freedoms. We avoid discomfort, conflict, and stress if possible, all of which are completely normal things. But as hard as we try, it never works out this way.

Delta has become a sort of mantra for me. When things get uncomfortable and I see the struggle closing in, I take a deep breath and remind myself that this deviation from constant is needed, that it will make me better and life sweeter. Instead of resisting, I try to embrace what is happening, knowing that this too, shall pass.

This whole idea isn’t a matter of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but about fostering a deeper appreciation for life. Like finally breathing through your nose after a head cold, or dieting for days and finally eating a bowl of ice cream. And then the more difficult things, like barely making ends meet and then finding a better job; or battling a chronic illness, yet experiencing a pain-free day; trying for months to get pregnant and finally conceiving.

Because what if there was no change or challenge? What if we didn’t have to experience difficulty or resistence? How meaningful would life really be? We would have no frame of reference to indicate that this moment is sweet, or that relationship is special, or this job is a blessing. Everything would be black and white, sedentary and lifeless. We need the bitter to savor the sweet, the sorrow to deepen our joy, and the emptiness to reveal what’s full.

James urges us to consider it a joy when bad things start to happen, because the struggle will test our faith and produce in us patience. And if we let patience do it’s work—if we remain open to the difficulty—we will one day be complete, in need of nothing. We do not rejoice for the sake of suffering, but the outcome: to be made whole. We need the hard things, the sad things, and the painful things because we need the change. We need to be changed. We need delta.

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