Though some personality types thrive on spontaneity, novelty and change, it seems most folks do not.

It’s completely understandable, of course. Most folks like to have their coffee ready, their tools in the right place at home and things consistently organized at work. For things to be otherwise causes stress.

Stress spends energy. Too much energy spent leads to exhaustion. Exhaustion leads to depression and anxiety. Anxiety leads to, well, you know. ...

Personal and family rituals are important ways to counteract anxiety. Shared experiences around the table, in conversation with friends, games and other group activities build family and community in houses of worship. When in relationships, however achieved, life thrives.

Relationships are the antidote to change. Close relationships, in what the poet John Donne called “the atomized world,” help others feel less alone in an increasingly mechanistic, technocratic world. This new world coming upon us so quickly causes fear and has understandably led some people to act out their fear by blaming others rather than the true and immense sources of questionable change.

How does one grow through times of change?

Seems to me the solution is to be found not in aggressive action against “the other” but rather in a willingness to create relationships in spite of fear. Regardless of our country of origin, parents want the same things for their children: medical care, clothing, shelter, food and safety. This is a shared, deeply cherished value of our common humanity. When it comes to the growth of faith, hope and love in individuals, the word “change” should be stricken and the word “ GROWTH ” ​be used instead, printed in ​BOLD,​ capital letters.

Technology ​changes.

​Politics ​changes.

​Public opinion ​changes.

​Weather ​changes.

But human beings grow. All challenges are opportunity for growth. Change is often dreaded, but growth is a beautiful word, one that can be welcomed. I suggest that growth as persons and humanity is accomplished in and through relationships. We can no longer afford the ethic of ultra-individualism that has so broken relationships and cohesiveness in our country. We need to grow once again into balance between healthy individualism and cooperative community such as our country embraced to accomplish victory in World War II.

How we assist others to enjoy these treasures is up to all of us to decide. I suspect if folks put aside their future anxiety, humanity would be able to become more humane and familial.

Crises as we are undergoing now do not happen in a vacuum. The actions and attitudes that have brought about the crises in immigration and the earth’s ecology are many. No one person is responsible and no one person is to blame.

Together with trust and goodwill, we can embrace growth as persons and as our beloved country. Humanity depends upon it.

I recall a saying from the Talmud: “Every blade of grass has an angel hovering over it, whispering ‘grow.’” Grow.

Phil Emanuel is the priest-in-charge at St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church in Florence.