Monday, April 01, 2013


Tempus fugit a nos... (Time escapes us.)

Okay, so then we stop grasping and we move into the future (ambulare in futurum).

Change has been on my mind of late (as have Latin phrases, apparently).  At my place of employment, a storm of change has settled in and raged among us like a giant hurricane- churning the air with reckless disregard for anything and anyone emplaced.  Many people have lost their jobs-- most involuntarily and some, like me, voluntarily.  The structure and mission of the place has changed and people are struggling to settle the whole thing onto the new tracks. 

You would think that, given my preoccupation with all things time-related, I would take this as no big deal.  Well, in some respects, I am.  I understand the volatile nature of the time stream and what entropy is doing to everything.  Still, when it comes in large, concentrated doses, change can really knock you for a loop.  Some people (e.g., me) try to get in front of change and thereby become the author of it, instead of its victim.

 ~~  Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly.  --Francis Bacon  ~~

Too often, though, there is little we can do to avoid or alter change.  That's when the magical concept of "acceptance" comes in.  Ah, but... God help me... sometimes it is difficult to actually apply concepts that I've believed (and even taught) for years.  For example: letting go of the notion of "control" when it comes to things that you cannot... well, control.  Change is often one of those things.  We can do what our abilities allow to attempt to influence the nature of change, but there are no guarantees.  

The ancient Roman poet Virgil called the fleeing time "irreplaceable."  So, when change is imminent and we have done all we possibly can... what then?  Do we just crawl into the fetal position and ignore it as we suck our thumb and mumble incoherently to our self?  Do we shake our fists impotently,  screaming curses at the darkness?  Or should we, as the saying goes, light a candle instead?  Well, our real power lies only in controlling our self and how we respond to change.  Time may, indeed, be "irreplaceable," but so are we!  So... we, too, must move on- just as time does- and become a virtual new and better creation with each change that we face!

 ~~  When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.  --Victor Frankl  ~~
The honest person will admit that they have changed over the course of their life.  In fact, most of us over the age of... 35 or so... would say that we only remotely resemble the teenager that we once were (definitely on the inside).  That is something that is often lamented, which I think is somewhat natural, but still wrong.  We become who we are in response to what we go through; or, to put it another way, what we go through will play a big role in dictating who we become because we have to adapt to the new... or else (see above thumb-sucking).  (HERE is an in-depth discussion on identity from a few years back- just in case you're bored.)  Who I am now is exactly who I need to be in order to deal properly with what life is giving to me now.  I have to stay agile and fresh, even as changes come at me-- sometimes as fast and unwelcome as arrows. 

  ~~  People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.  --Matthew, 9:17  ~~

My youngest daughter says that she thinks fear of change is innate in us.  I'm not so sure she is wrong-- I've seen enough evidence to support the theory-- but I can say that I have always had a pretty healthy relationship with change.  I decided a long time ago that our moments are all fleeting things, like Nero's Domus Transitoria (transitory house); we will not be staying in the same present we experience, so we should not get too attached to it.  Even (especially) the very good moments will leave their mark and move on, and so I really have made an effort to remind myself accordingly and enjoy life as it comes to me. 

~~  To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.  --George Santayana  ~~

All the more reason why I'm so vexed at my reaction to the swirling winds of change that are blowing around me now.  I suppose the main culprit is that this is big-time change-- for others around me as well as for me.  I'm about to leave a professional place that I've been at longer than I've been anywhere in my life.  I feel for those around me and I feel for myself.  What exactly I feel is not precisely defined... but it seems to be an interesting cross between concern, sympathy, and exhilaration.  

In any case, I will continue to work it all through my processes... reminding myself at every turn that God works His own way, and our job is to persevere and seek always to do the right thing- while attempting to glorify Him in the process.  The virtues really help with this! 

I've spent years learning that the only things outside time's tyrannical grip are God Himself and the things He makes to be timeless.  I strongly believe that our souls are made timeless, by and for Him, and will one day return to Him outside time (if all goes well).  All that we have and all that we are and all that we ever will be... this is our gift from God.  How we unwrap and use that gift is entirely up to us. 

~~  Do not be deceived, my beloved:  all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.  --James, 1:17  ~~ 

(Bonus reading assignment!  Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, verses 1 - 8.)


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