With the passage of but a few years the old familiar faces and places are gone. Where are all the people I knew? To be sure these people are wondering the same about me.
As I walk around my hometown today, I ask myself, what happened to the landmark buildings of my childhood? What happened to my favorite hangouts? Where did all these strange faces come from that I meet on the sidewalk? How does it happen that I can’t find one old friend or neighbor? What has happened to my hometown that I came back to visit? There is no one to visit! How can it be possible that I am now a stranger where I was born and raised? I now feel like an outsider, with my hometown no longer mine.
The good old days of my youth have vanished, never to return; such fond memories left to the isolated recesses of my mind; forever erased from the reality of the here and now.
So is the flow of life – our coming and going. So we experience this day, time and place but never to experience them again. A restless and mutatious environment manipulates everything, everybody, and everywhere. Nothing is exempt from the erosion of time. All people and all things are on the move, continually changing.
Why can’t we step off this spinning globe? Why can’t we settle down and enjoy some stability? Can continuity and security ever be found? NO WHERE ON EARTH! Nothing is as constant as change. This world cannot stop its impetuous pursuit of the new and different – the tearing down and building anew. Death replacing life and life replacing death. We live in an uncertain, uneasy, unpredictable and disturbing environment. The comfort of taking root, anchoring a time and place to experience contentment, security and peace, are totally out of reach for the entire duration of everybody’s earthly stay.
All people of all times and places suffer this ongoing stormy sea. The craving for tranquility escapes us all by disquieting waves and ceaseless motion. Our earthly stay is here today, gone tomorrow.
Would it not be wonderful to be able to settle down to a changeless, pleasant and pleasing environment where all people and things are undisturbed and permanent? No! The fact is, all of us have a yen for change and to improve this old earth. This desire for change comes from the disappointment and dissatisfaction we all experience throughout all our lives. The “same-old - same old” becomes wearisome – stuck in a rut. The imperfections of everything and everybody get to all of us.
There is something in our human nature that is ever on a quest to make life better. Daily potholes and obstacles are scrutinized for elimination. Recalling my grandfather cranking his Model T and also recalling my father breaking his arm cranking that Model T, makes the change to a push-button starter a celebrated progress.
In a perfect world such progress would not be needed. May all of us give credence to this world’s MIRACLE WORKER who offers to us his world – seeking first his Kingdom. Then in full faith and confidence may we anticipate GOING HOME - with everything and everybody forever in changeless perfection.
The Rev. John Burkhart, Ph.D., is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of psychology; he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his blog at inspirationsandideas.