Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, said, ” No man ever steps in the same river twice.” This is an interesting metaphor both of life and change. We are born in the context of change. Our birth affects not only us but the people closest to us. I stood in the pulpits of the churches I was serving in 1975 on Children’s Sunday and said it was my last Children’s Sunday as a perfect parent. I knew that soon our twins would be born, and actual parenting, mistakes, and all would replace my theoretical knowledge of being a parent.
A lot was going on in our lives at that time. Gail was in Graduate school, and I was beginning my career as a pastor. Even though much of our lives remained the same as they had been, the addition of children to our lives changed them forever.
Sometimes change comes as an event or series of events that forever alter the circumstances of life. World War I took people out of their mostly rural roots and gave them a vision of a larger world. A line from a popular song of the era asked, “How ya gonna keep them down on the farm after they’ve seen Paris (pronounced pair EE in the song)”. World War II did the same thing for the next generation. Suddenly families were stretched all over, making the traditional multi-generational family living all in the same place less the norm.
The home took on a new meaning as people brought their new experiences into familiar settings. Like the river that is continuously changing, new life experiences make even the same setting activities different.
Life-changing experiences can happen suddenly. We were at Universal Studios, Florida, on September 10, 2001. We went again on September 14. Walking in the same place was radically different. I remember wondering if it was OK to enjoy ourselves. The world changed on September 11, 2001. We can never return to the way things were before that day. We do things differently than we did on September 10.
Some changes come as gradually as the story about putting a frog in a pan of cool water. I’ve never tried this, but the story goes that if you gradually increase the temperature, the frog will be cooked without ever realizing what has happened. It is said that a frog dropped into boiling water will jump out.
Whether the change is sudden or gradual, it is also inevitable. Aging brings about change. Our ability to do certain things changes with age. This can be frustrating, even disturbing. It is inevitable. We can not stop most change. We cannot control many things. We can decide how we will respond to change.
As we move forward, we need to accept that change is something we all have to face. It affects different people in different ways. Change tends to bring out the best and the worst in people. When facing change, try to take a measure of how it is affecting you. Do you need to reach out to others for help in dealing with it? Can you be of help to others? As we move forward, we weave the change into the fabric of our lives. Let’s resolve to be better as a result of the changes we experience.If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.
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