This morning at work, I was given a stark reminder of how quickly things can change and how incredibly unsettling change can feel.
We talk a lot about change, don’t we? The current president promised hope and change. Folks like me fail to see the hope, but we sure recognize the change.
We talk about how people resist change.
We get set in our ways. We find a comfort zone. We get things ordered the way we want them.
We talk about how the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Take evil, for instance. When evil-doers perpetrate their evil acts on days like September 11, 2001, we tend to say things are worse now than they have ever been. Of course, we forget they were pretty bad in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, the day that President Roosevelt promised would live in infamy. They weren’t too great in Auschwitz during World War II, either. Wickedness was certainly afoot in the dusty towns of Sodom and Gomorrah way back in the days of Father Abraham and his nephew, Lot.
We talk about how the world has changed.
Folks my age remember the wonder of the Polaroid instant camera and the miracle of the eight-track tape. We remember the excitement of the electric football set.
Now, we have smart phones, MP3s and xBox 360. We have clouds in which to store the data of our lives, instant worldwide sharing of our every move and phones that can do everything from starting our cars to planning our lives.
It is coming. It has come. It will come again.
I currently work as an adjuster, which is slightly less important than the work I once did—and less glorious—but still instructive.
I remember the first storm I worked as an adjuster. (I had worked my share of storms as a pastor, but those were another kind of storm.) It was the storm that brought instant change to the insurance industry.
The storm that brutalized the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coastlines and nearly drowned the Big Easy.
In the early days of training, when we were faced with going into areas still under the watchful eye of National Guardsmen armed with M-16s, areas where street signs were blown or washed away, along with the neighborhoods they represented, someone asked how we were supposed to find lodging and our way around.
I don’t remember which instructor said it, but I remember what he said: “You are adjusters. Adjust.”
That’s pretty good advice for all of us. A big part of life is about adjusting to change. As we age, progress, grow up, get married, have kids, grow older, face our mortality…we adjust.
We adjust. Because we must.
Back in Paris, Texas, where I spent six years of my pastoral ministry, I was visiting with an older gentleman and dear friend as he was approaching the end of his earthly journey. By the time our paths crossed, David Haefele was a brilliant mind trapped in a feeble body. My weekly visits were meant to lift his spirits, and I hope they did. But I know they did more for me than they did for him.
One of the last times I sat by his bedside, my friend took my hand and said, “I’m ready, Preacher. I am like Job, just waiting ’til my change comes.”
It came three days later.
And his wife, his family, his church and his preacher adjusted to the change.
That’s what we humans do.
That’s what I will keep on doing…
‘Till MY change comes.