Change Can Be Trying But Also Worthwhile
By Patrick Winn

Ironic isn’t it? We squash caterpillars, but build gardens for butterflies and follow their migrations.

Change can be an ugly process. But going from a caterpillar to a butterfly is great. Rising from bottom dwelling Cubs, Bears or Bulls to World Series Champions, Super Bowl winners or NBA finalists is great too, except for the players who get cut from the team, hurt in pre-season games, or just didn’t quite have the talent. Star performers in high school or college activities, whether in the arts or athletics, have to face reality and get an education and a job. They need to change, sometimes transform, just to survive.

It’s not that we don’t want to change; we just don’t want to be changed. But how many adults live in the same house, work for the same employer, make the same amount of money, or drive the same car as they did as a child or teenager? We’re fine with these changes since we’re the ones who are making them. Let someone else make us change, or even suggest we change an environment that affects us, watch out.

Corporate executives can force change on entire organizations, rationalizing to those who lose employment that they are doing the most good for the most people. If the business effort fails, however, those same executives may not find change so rational, easy or beneficial when they lose pay, power, status or lifestyle. Then they have to survive, transform, change.

Spring is a time of change. Melting snow, growing grass, budding trees, flowering plants, and first Communions are all significant changes. We can change our minds, change the channel, change a tire, make change at the discount store, change our clothes, or change the subject, and no one gets upset. But it’s harder to be swayed to change our opinion of someone else’s motives; change our stereotypes of race, religion and ethnicity; or change our attitude toward new school curricula.

As this country goes through its regular changes in political party dominance — or exchanges one set of suspicions for another when viewing minority participation in religion, culture or politics — we, as a Church, can help lead the change with civility and respect. Respect Life is more than a slogan; Choose Civility more than a tag line; even the agony of aging can come with a positive view. As John Denver sang, “To grow old is to change, to change is to be new, to be new is to be young again.”

Easter and spring are ideal for appreciating the beauty of change. Ironically, both spotlight the value of dramatic changes, real transformation, based on the unchanging truth of life and resurrection. We can do both: embrace the benefits of change while accepting eternal truths that are done for us, not by or to us.

And this Memorial Day, let us honor those who died to help preserve freedom and guard the privilege of peaceful change for an entire country.