Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Old Dogs and New Tricks

“Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember growing older
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn't it yesterday
When they were small?

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days…”

These lyrics from Fiddler on the Roof explain the whole phenomena of old dogs and new tricks.

This is really a kudo to David who taught me a thing or two this week. He, who is computer phobic, got excited about our cable company’s latest gizmo. He dutifully ordered the boxes for the new Xfinity and, when they arrived, he was anxious to get them installed. I wanted to wait until the beginning of the next week, thinking it might take some time to get the cable company to do their part. Ok! So, maybe I was just engaging in avoidance behavior but I had my excuse ready!

He sat down with the instructions (something most of us do not do) and began methodically to study them. He went into the guest room to apply what he had learned. A surprisingly short while later he returned to announce that he had “installed” the box and now I need only to program the remote. While I’m hardly computer phobic, programming a new remote is the quickest way to strike fear in my heart. We came to an agreement which filled me with dread for the entire weekend.

Monday morning, we proceeded through installing the boxes on the other two tvs and the dread deadline arrived: programming the remotes. We called the cable company and wallowed through the process with the help of an incredibly gracious young woman. And, voila, it was accomplished without either of us pulling any hair from ourselves or others. So, what was all the fuss about?

Old dogs and new tricks. That’s what.

We are created to derive comfort from routines and established habits. As long as those are not interrupted, we don’t notice small changes. The hair turns white one gray hair at a time. The wrinkles evolve from "laugh lines." We don't notice the small changes until one day, we look in the mirror and our facade has changed. We're still the same inside. Only the outward appearance has changed. Or, so we think.

Major changes we resist without recognizing that they are really just an accumulation of minor changes. David is a lover of major change. I resist. I am a lover of minor changes. He seldom notices. We’re a ying and yang of change. Together, as our friends in Mississippi loved to say, we “get ‘er done.” One longterm friend used to tease me and say that between us, David and I could make a complete sentence. As we grow older, I find we don’t always need to complete the sentence with each other. It’s almost like a code

I’ve noticed among our older friends that the ones who are still young at heart are the ones who embrace change. They do not fear it. As John Grayson likes to say, “The majority of what we fear never even happens.” I pray he is right! As we approach another “ought” year (60 and 70 respectively), I find myself wondering how we will handle this problem or that crisis if it should occur. As I pray about these imagined difficulties, I return to the same place: God is still in control and He is still God.

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