Saturday, November 29, 2008

Unseen Process of Change - Black

"Amazing!" "Marvellous!" "Wonderful weather ... We’ll take as much of it as we can get." Such greetings were exchanged down at the mail pick-up vestibule. The unseasonably balmy weather persisted well into fall this year, with frequent sunny days, blue skies, and gorgeous autumn hues. Fairways were well-served with shorts-and-tee-shirted golfers, and despite the chill of economic downturn, a general sense of cheerfulness floated in the air. But how soon we were walloped with a wintry onslaught, in falling temperatures and rapid accumulations of snow! Change can come so quickly, even when we're expecting it.
One expects a good level of maturity to develop in a youth, especially one from a stable home environment, but it can still be a lengthy process. Imagine: A teenage son goes to bed one night thinking that his dad’s stupid, and knows nothing. Each father-son conflict convinces the boy all the more that his dad lacks smarts. His father can’t say anything right.

They butt heads for about five years. Then the boy’s motor cycle breaks down, and he just can’t solve it. His buddies come round, yet between the whole bunch, they fail to find the solution. Eventually, he storms off with them, thoroughly ticked off with the bike. His dad arrives home and his wife tells him about the bike trouble. She hands him the ignition key. He cranks the engine, applies his ear, eyes, brain, and considerable experience to the matter, quickly zeroing in on the problem, then fixing it.

Their son arrives home to find a note taped to his bike, suggesting he try starting it again and taking it for a test ride. It is signed, "Love, Dad." The lad is incredulous when his machine roars into life at the first try, and in seconds it smoothly cruises along. Puzzled, he muses, I don’t get it. How can someone go to bed so stupid–not having a single clue–one night, then get up the next morning, and be so smart!

The relationship between father and son begins to improve. The boy’s attitude has changed so quickly, but it wasn’t just because of the fixing of the bike. Change was already in the works, as little by little, the father’s wisdom, and his consistent and generally firm, but caring ways, built up–layer upon layer–in his son’s subconscious mind, removing any sense of threat and conflict. Somehow, the process of the fellow’s maturation came to the point where he awoke to the realization that his father was much smarter than he’d given him credit for–and that he cared.

Leaves turning to the glorious shades of autumn then falling from the branch to the ground, were only the visible manifestation of a process that began when days shortened and nights turned cooler. Sap and nutrients were being drawn down from the branches through the trunk and into the root system in preparation for winter sleep and a fresh awakening in spring. Often change is in process of happening before we can visibly see its effects.

Do you hope some wholesome and good change will occur in your life or in someone you love, yet there’s little or no sign that it’s happening? Watch for little signs, keep praying, and show kindness and gratitude. You may be surprised at how quick the desired change becomes apparent.

Perhaps you’ll wake up, wonder how it all happened, and say, "Thank You, Lord!"

(First published in The Watford Guide-Advocate Nov. 27, 2008)

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