I love the idea of a New Year. It’s like someone took the Etch-a-Sketch from your hands, gave it a huge shake, wiping the screen clear, and then handed it back to you. There’s something promising about the ability to say, “well this year is going to be better.” We’ve all pondered resolutions (and maybe even broken a few already); I can’t help but contemplate the age old question- can people truly change?
There are many layers to this discussion. First, I think we are constantly being changed, even in tiny ways, by our everyday experiences but it’s not those micro changes I’m referring to. Can a racist become tolerant? Can someone who’s always believed homosexuality is a sinful choice become an advocate for gay marriage? Call me an optimist but I believe this is possible because if people don’t change then the concepts of forgiveness and redemption are absolute rubbish.
Whether it’s a great novel, television show or movie, audiences always root for the change in the protagonist. Maybe it’s because we truly want the character to experience the epiphany or maybe it’s because we long for something that seems so distant in ourselves. I think that change- any change- big or small, is possible but it’s often those closest in our lives that prevent the full transformation.
After spending part of the holidays with my mother, I saw the decade-old images I’ve clung so tightly to as reasons to why I don’t visit more start to crumble. Sure there were times in the past that I wish she hadn’t acted a certain way, but those perceptions no longer matched the woman I was spending time with. She had in fact changed but my refusal to see it because I was so accustomed to the person I still believed her to be prevented me from fully experiencing it. My mother’s changed; it’s time for me to.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. Look around you and see who’s truly trying to change and how you might be impeding that change; sometimes a little empathy and a little faith goes a long way.