Friday, December 4, 2015

Everything Changes

Everything Changes

We are going through a tough patch at the university where I teach.  We have a new president, and he has instituted some changes for the purpose of saving the place financially.  When changes involve money, especially when they involve sacred cows like retirement benefits, emotions take over.

I can’t go into the details here, but several very beloved and vocal retired folks are very hurt, and it’s stirring up some dark comments on social media.  Everyone’s shadows are up and growling.

All of these wise sayings are easy to say and hard to embody.

I’ve lived through some other drastic changes and have seen some of this dynamic at work in other areas.  

I can’t say I am above it all, either. When it’s MY sacred cow, it’s another story.

When my college closed, for example – forty years ago, but it still hurts.

When the high school where I taught didn’t exactly close, but moved and merged with another school, I knew the need for it, and because it wasn’t MY school, I wasn’t as upset as my students and former students.  That was 25 years ago.

In my religious community, things have always been in flux, at least in the 35 plus years I’ve been a member.  Places, clothing, ways of praying or not praying together, how much the community was open to having “externs” ( the old fashioned word) no longer be treated as outsiders but welcomed in to our living spaces….   I have welcomed all these changes, but I have lived with sisters who hated the changes. In their first fifty years in the community, nothing changed, so after Vatican II when the changes began, they never got used to it.

Then, there are the physical changes, the big ones.  Cancer changed my life.

And that song:  Love changes everything. That is true, too, in  both good and not so good ways.

Everyone experiences change, welcome or not.  How flexible am I? 


I’ve always loved the song  “Changes” by Phil Ochs. Here are the lyrics:

Sit by my side, come as close as the air
And share in a memory of gray
And wander in my words
Dream about the pictures that I play of changes

Green leaves of summer turn red in the fall
To brown and to yellow, they fade
And then they have to die
Trapped within the circle time parade of changes

Scenes of my young years were warm in my mind
Visions of shadows that shine
'Til one day I returned and found they were
The victims of the vines of changes

The world's spinning madly, it drifts in the dark
It Swings through a hollow of haze
A race around the stars
Journey through the universe ablaze with changes

Moments of magic will glow in the night
All fears of the forest are gone
But when the morning breaks
They're swept away by golden drops of dawn of changes

Passions will part to a strange melody
As fires will sometimes burn cold
Like petals in the wind
We're puppets to the silver strings of souls of changes

Your tears will be trembling, now we're somewhere else
One last cup of wine we will pour
And I'll kiss you one more time
And leave you on the rolling river shore of changes

So sit by my side, come as close as the air
And share in a memory of gray
And wander in my words
Dream about the pictures that I play of changes.

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