Some change is forced on us.
I was downsized from a job I held for 24 years. I was given a choice: Accept a buyout or a 40 percent pay cut along with an increased workload. My job was eliminated.
Some changes we choose.
I volunteer with an organization called We Care We Share in Lorain, Ohio. It offers a food pantry two afternoons a week. I learned from a friend that volunteers were needed there, so I showed up one day and began volunteering. I didn’t have to do that, but I chose to.
Some change is inevitable.
Some of the hairs on my head are turning gray. My eyes also change over time; I’m due for another check-up one of these days. I’ll probably need a new eyeglasses prescription. The joys of aging.
If there’s one constant in life, it’s that there’s nothing constant in life.
Moment by moment, we change
No two days are exactly alike. Change is the name of the game.
The car I drive is 23 years old. It’s still running pretty well, but the mechanic recommended $1,600 in repairs to keep it up to speed. I’m not sure the car is worth that, so we’ll probably replace it in the near future.
I’ve attended three funerals in the past two months. All were for senior citizens, thankfully, but still: People wear out, just like cars do.
There’s no anti-aging pill that lasts forever, much as science has tried to find one.
We make choices literally every minute of every day. To get up in the morning, or not. What to eat for breakfast. Or not. Whether to show up for work or an appointment on time. Or not. Whether to look for a new job, a new relationship, a new residence (including a new location sometimes) …
We bought a house a year and a half ago, after renting for 3.5 years. We did some remodeling in the kitchen last fall because my wife wanted to put her touch on our home. That’s certainly a good thing. But what to remodel and how to do it were choices we had to make – and you’d do it differently, I’m sure.
I won’t even get into politics. We all know the contrasts between our current president and the previous one.
Think big picture. We change presidents every four or eight years. Change is inevitable.
The U.S. Constitution is more than 200 years old, but even that has been expanded. And new laws are passed all the time, federally, at the state level and locally.
Change changes us
Hearts and minds change too, sometimes dramatically.
At my last job, I worked with adults with developmental disabilities. Some of those folks were born with their disabilities, but others received their mental and/or physical disabilities through trauma. One guy fell off a roof. Another was abused terribly as a child.
Even those born with disabilities can learn to overcome them, to a degree. Those folks can accomplish a lot more than we often give them credit for. Even if they can’t communicate well, they often see and understand quite a lot. And they can communicate – with sign language, facial expressions, nodding yes or no, and in other ways.
I left there because not all change is good. And some changes I felt were necessary weren’t happening.
Some people quit smoking. Some people conquer a drug or alcohol addiction. These things aren’t easy, but they can be done.
It’s easier if we make the choice to avoid those substances before we even start. But we need strong grown-ups to lead their children away from those temptations, don’t we, since most addictions start when we are young.
Addictions are not inevitable. Broken families are not inevitable. Some of us are exposed to these things earlier than others of us are, but each of us is responsible for our own choices.
Fighting change, or embracing it
If life doesn’t go the way we’d like it to – and it won’t, sooner or later – we have choices to make. Dozens of my former co-workers got downsized at the same time I did. A few got jobs in other career fields right away, or a short time later. A couple of them retired. Some stayed with the company, with new responsibilities – and in some cases, a new location. I took the buyout and sat on my hands and knees for awhile until the buyout ended, then took a $9 an hour job while I figured out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
Same scenario, different choices.
Many of my former co-workers are still in the same city. Some of us aren’t.
Here in northeast Ohio, Republic Steel and U.S. Steel factories are idle, the result of layoffs. One of those plants may resume production soon on a limited basis. General Motors Corp. just closed a factory in Lordstown, a little more than an hour’s drive from here, putting 1,435 workers in the unemployment line.
The cycle continues.
Change is inevitable. Sometimes we choose it, sometimes we don’t.
How we respond to change determines the course our lives will take.
We can fight change.
Or we can embrace it.
Even that is a choice.
The one constant
Are there any constants in life, besides change? Any at all?
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
Jesus speaking, in Matthew 7:24-25
No foundation on Earth lasts like that. All of them will eventually crumble, whether a physical building or a moral or spiritual truth that we base our lives upon.
Even as the winds of life blow – and they certainly will – we have a foundation to fall back on.
That’s why I’m a Christian. When the storms of life threaten to carry me away (you know what I mean), I have a home base that will protect me.
I change, certainly. I learn and grow, hopefully. I am not the person I was 10 years ago, when I was downsized. Or even last year.
But even as my job situation fluctuated and my location changed, the God I worship did not change. He supports me when all else fails me.
Sometimes, we don’t discover how much we need a rock until change threatens to destroy us.
Climb on the rock. You’re never far from it, no matter who or where you are.
That’s your sanctuary in the storms of life.