Tuesday, May 15, 2012

People change. I'm counting on it.

When did it become a sign of weakness to change your mind? Have you noticed the way politicians are ridiculed for this in the media? Immediately, the negative spin accuses mind-changers of waffling, or being inconsistent. But maybe they really are “evolving.” Personally, I’m wary of anyone who still believes the same things when they’re 50 that they believed when they were 20. And I greatly admire anyone who has the courage to admit, “I was wrong.”

Last week, the oldest member of our congregation died. I can tell you beyond a doubt that Louise changed her views on a number of issues over the course of her 102 years on this planet. Once she told me the story of how she had gone to the beauty shop as a young woman and after she learned that the man who did her hair was a “homosexual”, she went right to the sink and washed her hair. As she told me this story, tears streamed down her cheeks. “Oh, pastor,” she said, “I’m so ashamed of myself for doing that.” It had happened eighty years prior to her confession. She was no longer that same woman. She had grown into someone who, after befriending a gay couple at Holy Trinity, was so thrilled to hear of their upcoming wedding that she passed along her vintage china to them as a gift.

Her daughter Laura tells the story of a couple of guys who lived next door to her while her mother was living with her. They decided to have a baby and had enlisted the help of a surrogate mother to have their child. Laura wasn’t sure about how she could tell Louise, who was into her nineties by then. How would her mother receive this information? How could she ever begin to understand it? After the first trimester, Laura decided it was time to break the news to Louise, so she said, “Mom, you know Sam and Andre, who live next door? Well, they’re going to have a baby.” The first words out of Louise’s mouth were: “Oh, I’m going to have to find my knitting needles.”

Have you ever met someone whose brain became fossilized somewhere in childhood? It’s a life wasted, and truly tragic. The whole point of the spiritual journey is transformation, which comes for us in big and small ways, even if we should live up into our 100s. We change. We grow. I’m counting on that for myself. And for the world around me.

1 comment:

Heather said...

(Before you ask "who is this crazy woman following my blog?", I'm the one who messaged you on Facebook earlier today...) Oh honey, I'm crying. I can only hope this happens to my mother, who is very set in her ways but only 48 years old. (I'm 27.) I know that I've been through many transformations in my short life but that must be nothing compared to dear Louise. Wow...what a story. Thank you. :)