|April 27, 2016
Change is built into the fabric of life. We all experience it, not only by initiative and choice, but it is simply a big part of what it means to be alive.
Sometimes we try to avoid it by holding on way too tightly to present conditions or looking fondly upon the past or the way things used to be. Psychologists tell us that we have selective memories about the past, remembering and embellishing the good and often forgetting the bad. But it almost doesn't matter, all things change, like it or not. This makes me a little melancholy because I am one who cherishes the familiar; and you better brainwash me good if you expect me to give up the joyful memories of family and friends.
How we deal with change is the sixty four thousand dollar question? I now believe that the old saw that we are either moving forward or standing "pat" is untrue. It is really either forward or backwards. Because change puts our lives in motion. Not only young people with growing bodies and brains but middle age and older; just in different ways.
If change is a major part of life, I am assuming God wanted it that way. In fact, despite one of my favorite hymn lines (....."and not changeth thee"); God is very much involved in change. He got lonely the way he first created the world; changed, and created men and women. The bible says he changed his mind and spared the people of Nineveh from destruction after Jonah's dynamite preaching . The Bible also says he changes his mind often toward us and does not even remember our sins (when we do such a good job holding on to them). There is a whole genre of theological study called "Process Theology".
Jesus changed too. He decided he would change from being a carpenter and dedicate his life to telling God's story. He was radically changed at the transfiguration. He changed from a low key countryside rabbi and healer with his rabble rousing entry into Jerusalem. The resurrection was a big change which made him both often less recognizable, and then again, recognized for who he really was. In a verse that gives me both comfort and hope, Paul says that there will come a day when we will all be "changed in a twinkling of an eye".
In my old age I am beginning to think that the key to change is not resisting it or even coping with it - but to embrace it; as difficult as that is for me. To quit looking in the rear view mirror so much and fasten my seat belt and step on the gas, even gently. Open myself and pay attention to what is ahead. That that, is what God wants from me and for my life. That reducing my anxiety and fear has less to do with familiar things and circumstances and more to do with the one thing about God that never changes. His love.