Attending funerals, weddings, baptisms, home-town high school games and family gatherings can certainly stir up memories, and that stirring can bring into sharp focus the awareness of how fluid and ever-changing life is.
I’ve been thinking about change lately—a lot. Personally, I like change. Not the kind of change for the sake of change, but the kind which opens new doors, offers a new perspectives or breathes new life into my understanding of the world.
My wife once told me that I was not the man she married. I agreed. That guy was as clueless as a door knob, and only fractionally aware of the dynamics of the world. She has since housebroken me, and my view of life has not only broadened, but grows clearer in focus with each sunrise.
Not all change results in improvement. Some things hold an eternal and ethereal perfection, immune to improvement. My wife, the Dodge pickups of the early 1950s, the music of Bach and the Beatles, are amongst the perfect, and any attempt to improve on them is wasted effort.
I think one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen is someone who struggles with life, knowing they need to change, but are unwilling to effect that change. It’s not that they can’t change, it’s that they won’t. It’s as if the emotional price and uncertainty of the changing tomorrow is outweighed by the known ‘comfort’ of the today.
Decades ago, Bob Dylan, one of the most influential and innovative artists of the twentieth century, sang about how ‘the times, they are a changing.’ They were changing then, and they are changing still.
Change, or even the thought of change, is laden with hidden hazards, and for some, a soul-chilling dread. To change is to leave the relative comfort of what we know, and gamble on the uncertain. I’ve learned that, for me, the potential of tomorrow pales the reality of today, and, most importantly, it is in that tomorrow I will live.
Something is expected of me somewhere amongst all my tomorrows, and unless I embrace and effect change, I’ll never get there. I still love the Beatles, old pickups, Bach, and my wife, but tomorrow will dawn, and for as long as I breathe, it will be my home.