Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Four Generations on Change - Part 3

Guest Post by Donna VanderGriend

3.  Change -- the questions
“Shifting sands” becomes the metaphor for change as we retirees walk a beach in Florida.  Weather reporters warned of a hurricane and then changed the prediction to a depressed tropical storm.  The waves roiled shells and sand up the shoreline; the winds blizzarded the sand seaward…defense and offense doing their best to win the land.  We are amazed at how much one night of storm-tossed seas could change the terrain of our walking beach from smooth to dunes-and-moguls.

Even quicker change than a one-nighter is the in-a-twinkling-of-an-eye type.  In nano-seconds a tragic accident can maim or take the life of a loved one and the terrain of the rest-of-our-story changes dramatically. 

And then there is the “long obedience in the same direction” that promises Christ-like changes in us.   After a long following after the tenets of Christianity, one sometimes asks the question:  Is there any such thing as spiritual growth?  Am I a changed person?  How does one measure that?

One of Paul’s letters to an Asia Minor town promises the “shire people” there that death shall be swallowed up in victory, the mortal changed to immortal in the twinkling of an eye.  Some change is glacier-like; other change is instant.  When Teresa of Avila died, the sisters found a bookmark in her breviary with these seven terse sentences written in her handwriting:
Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are changing.
God alone is changeless.
Patience attains the good.
One who has God lacks nothing.
God alone fills our needs.
Addendum:   A changeless God uses change to get our attention -- and then counteracts the trauma of change with promises of peace and rest to keep our attention.

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