Everything needs to change. Or so I hear myself say to myself. When I walk the halls for my school, drive down 24th Street, or even when I look at how my shirt and tie don’t quite click, I am making changes – at least in my mind.
The ambitious scope of these change-wishes extends to just about everything that exists. That bulletin board has the same displays as a month ago. Check. Maybe I could raise funds to get these fluorescent lights ripped out of here. Check. Who ever thought that pink tile was a good idea for a hallway? Check. That house across the open space there. . .Why can’t they just flatten it. Check.
Then, I read and hear from sundry sages that nothing is permanent. If you don’t like your internal weather, wait an hour. It will change. Everything changes, I’m told. Change is the only constant, they say. Hmmm. Then how is it that the stuff that wasn’t quite right yesterday – and last week or last month – remains unchanged today and will likely stand as is tomorrow?
Might this statement be more accurate? Everything changes though not as one might hope. Or, I change, but everything else stays the same. Or maybe, we can relegate change to the realm of mystery. Here is my take away: Each day’s mindless antics (even where the actors change) look much as they did the day before. Systems that didn’t work continue not to work. Cycles big and small proceed as they did centuries ago.
Take fourth grader, Leo, for example. My school has the perfect banister for fourth grade boys to slide down. Leo discovered this fact. Baggy jeans wrapped his thin frame creating the right physics for a fast slide. Of course, I had already put in the change order; a perpetual restriction from using this stairway. That order went in when Leo was in second grade, and in third. Even after one incident where he lost it and flew headlong into those pink tile walls, he continued his pranks.
If I managed to redirect Leo, but then, the following week, another boy, Eduardo maybe, picked up the same behavior, would that amount to a change? When antics just shift from one protagonist to another what might that imply? Oh great sages, where are you when we need you?
Change may be often topical. Erosion, peeling paint, a fading flag that flaps each day atop the pole. But adjustments within people. .deep stuff. . where might that level of change reside? Reactive behavior, blaming, and refusal to take responsibility – that which gets us caught – I can report first hand that these tendencies remain till the last.
Here’s one more prospect: Every challenge we face in our homes, schools, cities and beyond, points to how deep we would have to reach if we were to hope to shift course for anything other than an evolutionary collision. Is this built-in obtuseness a sort of pre-loaded cosmic “STOP” button – that forces us to do, think, or say things other than we might normally?
If kids are any indication, then people must be among the most stubborn of all creatures inhabiting this planet. Liberation from ourselves may have to come right between our eyes. We’ll either figure out how to wake up, bruised but grateful for another go, or we will balk and slide off that big banister in the sky. Of course, I’m hoping that after the fall comes the rise.
Is that the way it has always been?