Jan 1 2014

Consistency and Change

_CES8101Happy New Year!  2014 arrived just after midnight last night.  From what I have seen and heard many are excited about the arrival of a new year.  Others, it would seem, face the coming twelve months with a bit of fear and trepidation.  Some expect great things to come in 2014 while others expect the worse.  A million people gathered on the streets of New York City last night to party and bring in the new year, while untold millions did the same elsewhere.  Not an insignificant number, myself included, were already nestled in bed and sound asleep before the ball dropped, the horns sounded and everyone kissed.

_CES2906I will confess that the coming of a new year is not a big deal for me.  I think one reason a lot of people do get excited about the dawn of another year is that it represents a new beginning or a second chance.  For me, these are gifts of grace that God offers us each and every day.  This makes a new year less significant for me.  I guess I also lean heavily on the realist side, I know that a new year will no doubt bring some new changes but for the most part it will be more of the same.  Am I wrong about that?

e_CES0395Not just every year but every day we find a mixture of consistency and change.  Nature itself teaches us that.  Every morning the sun rises and each evening the sun sets.  Here we find a perfect example of consistency.  Not all sunrises and sunsets, however, are the same.  Some you do not actually witness due to clouds; others are pretty but not dramatic; while still others are incredibly dramatic.   Another good example from nature is the seasons.  Every year we have winter, spring, summer and autumn.  The sun will mark these by the solstices and equinoxes.  Here we find consistency.  How we experience those seasons each year, however, is not the same.  There will be some degree of variability in rain, snow, wind and/or temperature. This is the change that comes with the seasons.

Just by observing nature I can go out on a limb and make this bold prediction—2014 will be a year filled with consistency and change.  (Just kidding, there’s definitely nothing bold about that prediction but I am still sticking with it.)  What is far more difficult for me to predict is how we will respond to the sameness of life and the changes that will also come along.  It’s hard to predict because these are things each of us have a certain degree of control over.  We will not all respond the same way.

Change of any kind is frightening to a lot of people.  They are quite content with the way things are and change might threaten that contentment.  Such people do everything they can do avoid change.  Others love and are quick to embrace change.  Change brings excitement to their life and some will for this reason deliberately seek out change.  I tend to be more like the former group.  I like living in my comfort zone and am not prone to go seeking change.  Even though this is my tendency, I realize that it may not be the best way to live my life.  I also realize that I do not have to continue to fear or avoid change.  I can choose to live differently.  So can you.

_CES0722We also all have a choice when it comes to dealing with the consistent things in our lives.  Dealing with the consistent elements of life is not something that is often addressed but I feel it should be.  Too many people find that which is consistent boring and monotonous, not worthy of their attention.   We need to be careful that we do not lose our sense of awe and appreciation for those things that are basically the same every day.  If we do, we may find ourselves taking for granted the beautiful earth God has given us and also the people God has placed in our lives.  Thankfully, here too, we get to choose.

I’m not big on making New Year resolutions but if I were to make one today it might be to strive hard in the coming year to celebrate the wonder of it all—both the changing and the unchanging.

–Chuck

(I took all of the pictures in today’s post near my home in Henderson, KY.)