I think I am a person who craves consistency, which is to say I am not comfortable with change. Why this is so, I can’t really say. Now change is not necessarily negative, in fact change is usually proclaimed as positive and given the name of progress. Change is an inevitable part of life. The seasons change, taking us along with them, neither asking nor needing our consent. Besides death and taxes, change is the only certainty, the remaining constant.
Recently this was brought home to me yet again. I went to eat at one of my favorite little eating places in a strip mall only to discover a sign on the door saying they were no longer in business. (not moved, just gone) I don’t eat there very often (obviously or I would have known it was gone or going much sooner) but just knowing it was there if I wanted to meet a friend for lunch or whatever was comforting. Now I felt let down, abandoned in a sense, something I counted on was no longer there for me. ( I know, I know, there’s plenty more eating places to choose from, but I had found one I liked)
And having to part with my car of fourteen years when it officially gave out on me, was definitely an unchosen change. I was content with my car, I was comfortable with it. And they don’t make that exact car anymore so I couldn’t just replace it with a newer version. (besides I didn’t want a newer version) Let’s just say I still haven’t bonded well with my beloved vehicle’s successor.
Then they rearranged/remodeled my Meijer store without even so much as soliciting my opinion on the matter as their valued customer. (or maybe I overestimate my value to them as a loyal customer?) Anyway, I could get in and out of there in record time because I knew where everything that I typically bought was located. I was comfortable there. That was before. Now I wander around looking for the most routine of items, trying to guess at the logic behind the relocation process of everything from shampoo to bakery goods. Mostly, I am unsuccessful and leave frustrated without finding everything on my list. I’m sure there was some very sound marketing strategy reason why they needed to play upset the apple cart with all of our shopping lives and limited time.
Did I mention the pumpkin patch I frequented for many years is now a field full of firewood for sale? Or that my favorite community theater, where my children and I saw many a play is no more, but has relocated and has a new identity to match its’ new venue. And where have all the goldfish that we used to feed in my favorite fountain pond gone? When did they start assigning seats in movie theaters? I have not moved in many years (does this surprise you?) but I have watched my beloved neighbors move in and move out, so the changes come through no choice of my own. And I learn to love my new neighbors even as I miss those who have moved away. Co-workers leave and new ones come to fill their spots. My children had the audacity to grow up, become productive citizens and leave an empty house in their wake.
My long time bible study group is disbanding as we are each being called in new and different directions at this time. There was comfort in the consistency of these precious relationships, but constant change is the only constant. Our presidents change, the weather changes, fashion changes faster than we can shop to keep up with what’s in for the moment and technology changes even faster than fashion does! Todays’ health food is tomorrows’ health risk. My car wash even went from one lane to three lanes, not to improve service I’m sure, but just to torture me with having to decide each time which lane is my best bet to get through quickly.
I like the comfort of the consistent, the feeling of the familiar. Some people might label the absence of change as monotonous or as boring. But I am not one of those people. My bank recently changed hands again, my church changed some things on their web site (after I finally figured out how to work what was already there) and my employer outsourced me and others to a new and different employer. All changes I did not choose. When I visit my hometown after a long absence, finding places and people unchanged is reassuring and reaffirming, as if all is right with the world because things are as I remembered them. Something I can count on.
But it seems to me each day brings more unchosen changes into my life, causing me to question what or who I can count on to be there when I need the comfort the continuity of their presence provides. I’ve had more than one favorite food place just disappear without warning leaving me wondering what happened. And people are so mobile these days, we seem to come into and out of each others’ lives in a constantly changing pattern whose defining characteristic is constant change.
I’m so thankful I have chosen the One who never changes. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
“I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” (Malachi 3:6)
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
” ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.'” (Revelation 1:8)
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
This is what my heart craves, the comfort of consistency that I can count on in a world where change is the constant, even when I don’t seek it or choose it. My Heavenly Father tells me He will never leave me nor forsake me and He never slumbers nor sleeps. I can count on Him, He is faithful. “if we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.” (2Timothy 2:13) My life will continue to be filled with unchosen changes every day, but I have chosen the One who never changes, giving me the comfort and peace of His constant Presence in this ever changing world.
sincerely, Grace Day