Saturday, August 9, 2008

Tell Me Why

Having a reason:
Does it change circumstances?
It is what it is.

Change itself happens in an instant, the simultaneous creation of a flash of lightning and the roar of thunder as in one place the atmosphere is locally rebalanced. The effects are seldom so local, though, and, like the storm, change can be destructive.

We make choices and do what is best for ourselves, our loved ones, our friends, groups, communities, employers, nations, and so forth, right up through each person's God. But from one moment to the next circumstances change; the balances shift and what is best is different. When finally the shift is so strong that the inertia of habit and fear of consequence are overcome, we change. Lightning strikes.

Nearby though are the loved ones, friends, groups, communities, employers, and so forth, and among them are those who were also accustomed to your habit. That is their habit, the expectation that the you of today will be the same as the you of yesterday. Depending upon one's proximity to the decisive moment, he may hear the distant rumble and leisurely continue his day, he may count the seconds between the flash and the rumble and move to safety, or he may simply be struck down without notice.

Unless our house is struck, we never seem to ask the sky why lightning strikes here or there, but we do seek explanations when people change. We know that, beneath the outward change, an inward change occurred, and we seek to understand it and perhaps to correct it if only to restore our own sense of order. In some cases, we wonder if there was some deficiency in ourselves that caused our circumstances to change. In those cases that cannot be restored, we may even seek to change ourselves to avoid similar external changes in the future.

But what is the point of all of this?

If you and I live in a manner true to ourselves, then the cards fall where they will effortlessly. You are not acting in a way to appease me, and likewise I am not acting in a way to appease you---we are not acting. Your change affects me, yes, but I do not require an explanation. You would have provided one if it was important to you, but what would I do with it once you have made up your mind? Would I argue that you misunderstood? You would already have asked for my view and considered it if it was an important to you. Would I argue that you were wrong? If you were, would you hear the argument? Should I argue there's another way after you've already decided your new path? Should I attempt to preserve your involvement in something that you did not wish to preserve?

Depending upon the magnitude of the change, these issues are not trivial, and rarely is there a right or wrong approach; after all, even acting itself can be a pure approach. Still, all we can hope for, but cannot expect or demand, is that we are true to ourselves.

Be yourself. And be well.

No comments: