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The Times They Are a Changin'

By Chris Edkins, Board President

This week, my immediate supervisor at work retired. It has been on the cards for a while, and I hoped that he would change his mind and decide to stay on a few more years. He was a good, solid, responsible person and I was happy to work under his direction. But he did retire and at just over two years into this job I became the most senior member of my development team. It marks the transition from what has been an idyllic period in my life over the last couple of years, to something new. Of course, when things are going great, we never want them to change, but as Greek Philosopher Heraclitus said, “change is the only constant in life”. No doubt a few months from now I will have settled into the “new normal” and things won’t seem quite so intimidating.

In my 16 years at Westside I have seen a fair amount of change as well. Two hard working interim ministers helping us to find two good new settled ministers. Each brought their own style and set of priorities. But in some ways, us Westsiders are a conservative bunch. Some things have remained constant. Things like our style of worship and our welcoming non-combative way of being. It can be comforting to imagine that, while all things out there in the world are changing, some institutions and traditions can remain the same and be passed on to the next generation, to be enjoyed as we enjoyed them.

One of the things that I have learned on my spiritual path, however, is that being in denial about the changeable nature of all phenomena is also a great source of suffering. No matter how many times I do it, I always find myself surprised and disturbed when I realize I have been clinging to something, imagining it to be permanent, only to find it has shifted under me. Indignation is probably the best description of the feeling. How dare that thing change without my permission. Then I must consciously reach for acceptance or be permanently bent out of shape. It helps if you can laugh about it.

As Bob Dylan wrote, “The Times They Are a Changin’”. If I can be OK with that, I will be OK.

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