We now have entered the season of change. 2015 has turned to 2016 so that even the calendar says this is a different time. When contemplating the new year, we often hear, “out with the old, in with the new,” as if everything old is something to dispense with and everything new is the best.
These thoughts didn’t come as a result of a “Goldie Walk.” They came as a result of watching our one-year-old Catahoula mix adapt to change. As I have reported previously, we live in a large house built in 1912. When it was first built it did not have “sleeping porches.” They were added later. Being a Chicago boy, I had never heard of “sleeping porches.” They are additions to the bed rooms, big enough for a bed and a chair and a lamp. The idea is that there are windows on all sides, so that when you open the windows, you’ll always get a nice breeze.
That’s a great idea in the spring and summer when the Texas heat can fry your brain. Not so great in the winter, when the winter wind whips through those old creaky windows like a freight train on a mission. When we had that recent cold snap that blew through here last week, we decided that adding another blanket wasn’t the best approach. We had another bed, after all, located not on a drafty old “sleeping porch.” So we decided to change bedrooms.
“Simple,” you say. And I would agree; except where Goldie was concerned. You see our dog sleeps with us. All the dog books tell us that dogs need to sleep in their own beds, but not in our house. She’s our “pet,” after all. When bed time came she would lead us up the stairs to the bed in which we had been sleeping. When we tried to tell her to follow us to a different bed, she wouldn’t do it. She refused. No matter how much cajoling and coaxing we did, she would not come to the new bedroom. Finally, we had to bodily lead her to the new arrangement; not once, but several times. She also had to “re-learn” how to get into this new bed.
Our dog is not dumb; in fact she seems to be quite smart. It’s just that she is not a big fan of change. I can relate. When I used to write checks to pay my bills, (now I pay my bills on line; it’s so much easier, I can’t remember the last time I wrote a check), it took me forever to remember that we all have gotten a year older, that time marches on, waiting for no one.
I went to the redi-care clinic because I had a cold, (they said I had allergies. What do they know?), and they measured my height. It’s been well documented by many other doctor’s offices, that I have lost an inch. All my life I had been 5’10 and ¾.” That ¾ of an inch has been very important to me. It meant that I was an inch and ¼ away from 6 foot, a “common” standard of tall. Now I am not as tall. I told my lament to the nurse and she reported that she too had lost some height, but for her it didn’t seem nearly as important as it did to me. That too was a lesson learned.
Our culture and nature preaches to us that change is not only necessary, it’s inevitable. You can’t stop changing. Then why do we find it so hard? I believe the basic answer to that question is fear. I’m afraid I won’t have what it takes to accomplish the change I desire. I’m afraid such change will be hard work, and I’m not ready for that. I’m afraid that if I change I won’t fit in my world the way I used to.
Confronting this fear is the first step toward the change we desire. There is an old aphorism that packs a lot of truth in it. “Work as though it’s all up to you. Pray as though it’s all up to God.” Facing the need for change requires a level of self-examination few of us have the courage to pursue. But if you give your all to the change you desire, and you commit that change into God’s hands, then your “what, me change?” will become, “change me!” And what a great place to start.
Mark W. Stoub, author of “Blood Under the Altar” and the forthcoming, “Fire in the Blood.”