Do you ever wonder if we look out from our front porch window and think we are only observers to the world around us? We think that what we see with our eyes and hear with our ears is for everyone else but ourselves. We are just looking through a smudgy mirror hoping that what we see is something worth crossing over into the participatory. We look out and see an existence, a world, that is not what we thought it would be or should be according to our point of view (at least from the window's standpoint). So many times I feel this way. Looking out, so hoping to see something that intrigues or interests me enough to step out the door and be a part of something. I have slowly been discovering that the window isn't the problem. We aren't afraid of participating necessarily, even though observing is much easier most of the time, but we are afraid of change. We may like what we see from the window, but until we see it and feel it and hear it up close, we realize that our perspective down here in the midst is much different than on the porch. And we aren't ready for that change, even though the perceived change is all in our heads a majority of the time. But it is change nonetheless and we as humans assume the worst. This is the place that my husband calls Assumptionville. Apparently I hop on that train a lot, but I think it's just because I am a very passionate and spirited young woman.
So here we are down in reality, being a contributor to society and suddenly things go askew. We think certain things shouldn't be the way they are, so instead of being proactive we start slowly backing away from reality hoping that no one will notice. Now, that's not always the case, on better days we acquire new perspective, learning and growing, becoming a better person, seeking to be more involved and active in the world. On these days we are open to change, adaptable, willing to adjust and work on our flexibility.
Where does this lead then? What path should be taken? Do we reverse back to the safety of our porch window or do we take a giant leap of faith and summon up the courage to change whether it hurts or not. We, the human race, is afraid of change. It's simple really. We are content to work our 9 to 5 job 7 days a week, 8 hours a day, clock in and clock out. But for what really? Does our existence swing on when we are getting paid or not. Even from a psychological standpoint, we clock in and out so we don't have to face the reality around, in, and through us. We are content to live behind the window, happy to exist in the bubble of what we see as normal and right. Complacency and apathy coexist in this tiny little bubble we call our home. It is safe and secure, no one can bother you, and you can be content to observe eternally. But this is not how we are meant to live. We are not just meant to change but to be changed. We can change how we take the route to work, or what color we paint our toenails, but it doesn't change us. We must be open to change in order to be changed. When we speak in front of a large crowd and feel accomplished for facing our fear or we change our eating habits so we are more healthy and confident in ourselves, we are changed. We are not the same as we were before the speech or before the lifestyle alteration. It is these intangible qualities and attributes that we are missing out on by not being willing to be changed. In the words of Ebeneezer Scrooge, "Bah Humbug." He was the king of stubbornness and just plain meanness. His disregard for others and their terrible fates was what characterized him as a person. He was an insufferable and lonely old man who did not want to be changed. As fate would have it, the external forces around him took matters into their own hands, and saw it fit for him the chance to want to be changed. Well, as we most all know the end of this story, Mr. Scrooge became a changed man. His selfishness was changed into generosity, his meanness into kindness, his self-righteousness into humility. He fought and balked the whole way, but his defining moment came when he realized the truth about himself. He was like us sitting behind the porch window (or his office desk in his case) watching the world go by us and perfectly content to see it do so. He was an observer of life. He became an active and life-changing piece in the greatest puzzle ever made. Humankind is resilient, we don't want to give up. But sometimes, giving up means changing who we are and becoming something better than we thought we could be. Life is change. Without change we are not living. Who wants to live a dead life instead a breathing corpse? I know I sure don't want a life like this one. So why do people live this way? Why do we continue this vicious cycle of death and stubbornness all because we are too afraid to smash the window and step out onto the porch of newness and a life worth living. Where do we go from there? We don't necessarily have to know, but we do know that we must courageously take that first step and hope and pray that the next one will lead us where we are meant to go. Can we take that step? Are we brave? Are we scared? It is a resounding YES to all three! Any step worth taking is worth the risk it takes to get to the desired destination. And whether we are fearful about the unknown, we must realized that we are not alone. We are never alone. The Divine is looking over us, we are caught in the grip of His mighty and gracious hands. He does not look at us through a window, He sees in and through us, creating a pure heart and a steadfast spirit that yearns and seeks to follow Him no matter where the steps take us. For you see, without that first step of faith, dependent on Him we would never get anywhere. Like I said, we are never alone, He is right there with us, all the way, to the very end, seeing the path before us and instructing us on which way to go next. He is the reason we participate instead of observe. For He doesn't just observe but He is alive and active in every aspect of our lives. From beginning to end. Because a life not well lived, is no life at all. Live the life you were called to live, change when you need to be changed, love when it is time to love, and never let death have the final say.