At Your Service: August 12, 2009

“Change is the only constant.” It is a phrase and concept that we hear all the time and the subject of much conversation. In practical terms, we are increasingly challenged by the need to deal with change in every aspect of our lives.
Technology makes it possible to instantly connect with people around the world. Our economy is inextricably dependent upon markets on the other side of the globe. Our competition is not only down the street, it is also out there in cyberspace. The list of things with the capacity to impact our lives seems infinite. To make it all even more complicated, the rate of change is also accelerating.
It seems that we must do something to make it easier to deal with it all. There is a plethora of books, magazine articles, videos, and courses that promise to help us flourish in the face of change. Our friends and family have all sorts of advice about what we can do differently. We make our way through the labyrinth that is modern living doing the best we can and find whatever peace we can.
Then, out of nowhere, life throws us a curve ball and the assumptions on which we have based our life are suddenly up for grabs.
At a recent gathering of friends, a woman casually sipped on drink as she sat in conversation on the deck. As often happens out of doors, she felt something crawling on her leg; which she instinctively brushed away. It bit her. Someone said they thought it was a bee and asked if she was allergic. As the bite began to swell, she said, “No, I’m not allergic to anything.”
Some 10 minutes later, she stood to get something to eat, took a couple of steps and went down. In a few more minutes, she lay unconscious. Her life was saved when the host, who knew himself to be allergic, provided an antidote. A ride with our local EMT heroes secured her survival.
We tend to think of life’s changes in terms of external factors. Those that are the most significant, however, often come from within. Sometimes it is simply a recognition that the aging process has caught up with us. We look in the mirror and notice that our hair is going grey or put on an old pair of pants and they seem to have shrunk while hanging in the closet. We have the feeling that our body has somehow betrayed us.
The big betrayals come in the form of a diagnosis of cancer or diabetes or we discover that we have a life-threatening allergy. Suddenly, everything we have is viewed from a new perspective. Those things we have always taken for granted are now subject to re-evaluation. Our priorities shift and we begin renegotiating all our relationships.
In the face of such change, we must go deep into the well of character to find the strength and courage we need. The deeper we must go, the more likely it becomes that we will find what has always been there: the loving spouse, the true friend, the devoted children and love for the one in the mirror. It is then that we come to understand that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”