Thursday, September 11, 2008

Why Do We Dislike Change?

Here are a few Chloe moments....

Once my wife was getting after Chloe for doing something. Chloe looked at me and said, "Pa Paw, make her mouth stop"! I looked at Chloe and said, "Honey, if I could do that I would have done it 30 years ago"!

Whenever Chloe spends the night at my house she sleeps with my wife and me. This past weekend after we got in bed and turned off the lights she looked at my wife and said, "Meemo, don't tell us we can't talk"!

Yesterday morning when I pulled into the parking garage at work I was jamming to "Shock the Monkey" by Peter Gabriel. Later, when I got back into the car at lunch time, the song picked up exactly where it had left off four hours earlier. It did not miss a beat. Friendship can be like that. Around mid morning I received some thoughts on friendship from someone I consider a close friend. Later, I was at lunch with a relatively new friend who has been a pastor, chaplain, and counselor. As I get to know him better, I like him more and more. We seem to connect with one another easily and we are able to have deep and intimate conversations about our lives. All of these things made me reflect on friendship and how the right people seem to enter our lives. These thoughts filled my head as I drove along the Ohio River on an absolutely gorgeous day. I have more friends than I can count. They are all over the place. I feel very blessed that there are so many people who's company I enjoy or who I can communicate with in a meaningful way. Admittedly, not all of them are intimate friendships. My inner circle is small. My outer circle, however, contains many people. I relate to all of them on some level. It's probably safe to say that most of them fill some need within me. Some people I see everyday, some occasionally, and a few rarely. With true friends, years can go by and when you are blessed to be with one another, it's like my experience with the Peter Gabriel song. The gap of time closes and you find that the friendship hasn't missed a beat. If you are blessed to have friends, whether they be intimate friends, or casual friends and acquaintances, do not take that for granted. It is a great gift to be blessed with friends. They warm the heart and light your path in a world that is sometimes cold and dark.

Change is something that none of us can escape and many do not like. The Buddha says that "All things are impermanent". I have often wondered why we are so reluctant to change. I think it is only human to like what feels familiar and what feels comfortable. I know that I personally like the familiar. I am also a creature of habit who likes some routine in their day. Routine can be a skeleton on which everything else can hang. I have sometimes been resistant to change using the argument that I just prefer stability. However, I think the reality is that my primary resistance to some change is that it's never an improvement. It's just change. I don't think people in general like to change unless the change makes life better. Show people an improvement and most will readily embrace the new and better way. Why is their so much change in modern life? Is it because life and the world move so fast that the motion itself is constantly rearranging all of life's molecules? I have lived in the same city most of my life. Sometimes when I am driving around I wonder about the landmarks that have disappeared and that have been replaced by new landmarks. Sometimes it seems to have happened overnight while other change is so slow that you never notice it until the transformation has completed itself. I look in the mirror and wonder what happened to the young man I once was. I didn't wake up one day and suddenly be the bald, grey bearded, middle aged man I now am. The transformation from a young man to an older man occurred one day at a time in moments where I tried to be present and mindful but I still did not always notice the change. Change never stops. Even though I know I have a psychological predisposition to fight life and sometimes resist it, as I get older I try to let that go and simply flow with the changes of life. When life changes for the better...and it sometimes does....I enjoy it. When I do not like the change, I simply make the best of it, wait it out or adapt as needed. I know my situation will change again as surely as the sun will rise and set.

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