Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Changing Landscapes

They say we humans don't like change. I don't know about that. I think it all depends on what we call it. If we call it "graduation," "birth of a baby," "marriage," "promotion," "finding the Lord," and similar life-altering events, we don't call it "change." We label it what it is and rejoice! We accept what comes with it. We may dread the new and growing bills that come with the birth of a baby, but we accept those new responsibilities that are part of the baby-package. Whatever we call it, we seldom call it "change," though that's what it is.

But just let that "change" be something like new hymnals at church, the closing of favorite businesses, empty buildings on Main Street, shifting populations, disease, divorce, death, or anything else that makes us long for "the good old days," or pine wistfully for "the way things used to be"... those things we don't like, can't accept, wish would go away...those are "changes" and we buck against them.

Everyday brings each of us a mixture of blessings and not-blessings, positives and negatives. Changes. Our life's landscape will look one way when we wake up and look somewhat differently when we go to bed. For good or bad, there will be changes. Sometimes I think God's a little too busy planting weeds in places I want roses. OK, I know God doesn't "plant" weeds, but He does allow them to grow in our gardens.

And my landscape changes.

Thursday of last week a great cyber-buddy and melanoma warrior died. I found out Saturday morning. Saturday evening I learned another cyber-buddy and melanoma warrior was in a coma. Sunday morning before leaving for church, I learned she, too, died. Sunday afternoon my husband and I found ourselves taking a very long, scenic route from church to a district meeting and drove past where my grandparents' house used to stand. I knew that landscape had changed. I had not seen the change. Until now. Sunday afternoon. Two deaths right on top of each other and now this visual.

It had been a two-story house. Nothing to write home about. Nothing that made passers-by ooo and ahhh. But my Granddaddy, a logger and sawmill man, had cut the floorboards himself from heart pine. My Grandma was so proud of her floors! It was a good, solid, sturdy home they raised their four children in. As their family grew to include children-in-law and grandchildren, that was the gathering place Sunday afternoons for Grandma's pot roast. Too many memories to share here but we all have those treasured places. Every time anyone left from a visit, Grandma and Granddaddy would stand at their porch door and wave until the car got on the road.

When you pulled into their driveway from the highway, you drove straight a short ways and then looped around a tree. Grandma's crepe myrtles lined the far side. The crepe myrtles are still there. You can still see the loopy driveway and that single tree in the center, there's the small shed out back, the grapevine in the side yard, a great big tree where the front corner of the house was...no house. No floors. Tears though. Plenty of tears. I knew it was going to be torn down. But seeing the changed landscape wasn't the same as "knowing" the landscape would change.

Time marches on. Things change. Life changes. Landscapes do too. I cannot change "change." Rats!

But as I ponder, I give thanks because for a landscape to "change" it had to be there in the first place and be something precious. We don't cry over changes that suit us. Something had to have existed worth crying over. And something did. People did. Had it not been for the people who occupied that house, I wouldn't be here and neither would chunks of our family tree. Grandma's trees still stand.

And we are its limbs.

And I am grateful.