Friday, October 02, 2009

Change or Stability?

In the last chapter of More All -of-a-Kind Family, the family is preparing to leave their home, their extended family, their synagogue, their neighborhood, to move to a new neighborhood. On their last night at home, three of the girls are lying in bed quietly trying to hide their tears and distress, while another sister is hyped about the excitement of the move.

Charlotte's voice broke the stillness. "It'll seem funny living someplace else."

"Yes," agreed Gertie. "We've lived here our whole lives!"

"Well, it's about time we made a change," Henny said cheerfully. "Mama and Papa kept talking about it, but I honestly never thought we'd do it. I'm sure glad. I'm sort of tired of this old place. Doing the same old things and seeing the same old faces all the time."

Oh, thought Sarah, how could anybody ever grow tired of the things that were part of her? Knowing things and people so well made them dear to you. Taking on new ways and new friends, that was hard -- almost terrifying.

I know people who thrive on change and excitement. I don't understand, but I know and can accept that that's how they are. I expect those kind of folks can't understand the ones who find dearness in the "boring things" they know well and are used to. I wonder sometimes how many errors and ill motives are wrongly assumed to be in others when they differ from us greatly with regard to this personality trait.


  1. I think you're on to something, Susan. It makes sense that the differences among people in their tolerance/need for change would lead to misunderstandings. Your post also got me thinking that maybe individuals have different levels of tolerance for change depending on what the change has to do with. For example, I'm pretty sure I have a higher tolerance than some people for change when it comes to liturgical music. I feel intrigued/energized/curious when a new hymn or liturgical setting is put before me. Yet unlike my husband, I have no desire to travel. There is no wanderlust in me. Frankly, it scares me. I would be perfectly happy to stay in the same house in the same town for the rest of my life and never go anywhere else. My husband loves investigating different cultures, languages, etc. I am overwhelmed by them. When my friends get to talking about new recipes or various different household tricks or home remedies or whatever, or when my husband reads the newest health discovery from Dr. Mercola about how we need to eat this or avoid that, I just shut down. I can't process it all. Give me the same old routines and recipes and ways of doing things that my mom taught me. They worked for her. She's still ticking at almost 80. That's good enough for me!

  2. Nathan Fischer10/03/2009 10:57 AM

    I used to like no change at all. As time has gone on, though, I've begun to like change and new things and new places and new people a lot more. So I'm sure you're right, that personality differences cause a lot of misunderstandings and problems. I hope I can appreciate both sides of thing...

    Then again, in our culture, I think this whole desire for new and exciting things is beginning to cause a huge problem. How many spouses have cheated because they 'got tired' of their significant other? How many families split apart, not for any 'bad' reasons, but because they all just want to go in their own direction? How many people jump churches (or even religions) because they get 'tired' of the old one?

    Our desire for the new has, I think, transgressed into a desire to *never* stop moving, never settle down, never even let things around us get 'old' in the first place. I thought about this as I listened to people at work talk about how they NEVER read. They even explained that the story just become old for them about half way through so they put the book down and never pick it up again.

    Heh... they saw me with a near 1,000 page book and were astounded that I could read something so large. That's when I explained it was part of a 15 volume series, each book just as large as the previous (and sometimes larger). Then they were astounded that someone could read that much in their LIFETIME. I just didn't know how to respond to that. I couldn't bring myself to tell them that I've read the series almost 3 times, and that I've far more than that on the side...

    I think that it is important not to want change too much. Otherwise, we'll just start wanting new things for change's sake. But those new things really ought to be grounded in the 'old' things. And I think it's very important for everyone to have something that never changes. The most important, of course, being their faith in Christ and their life in the Church...

  3. I'm tickled to know someone else is reading All-of-a-Kind Family! :)
    Anyhow, I do think you are on to something and Larry and I have noticed that this is one area where we are opposites. Sometimes it causes friction, but usually we manage to make it an advantage: he helps pull me out of my shell and I keep him from acting on too-wild plans.

  4. Hey, Angie, I hope I didn't spoil the end of a story for you! And yes, I think what you mentioned is the benefit of "opposites attract."

    I appreciate Cheryl's and Nathan's comments too; I don't mean to ignore them; it's just that I have nothing to add ... or any apologies for telling the End-of-the-Story. ;-)