A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in the Portland, Oregon airport, on the way home from my most recent excursion down the Rabbit Hole. The woman next to me in the gate lounge was in a chatty mood.
She wanted to know where I was going and where I had been and why.
I skimmed over the geographic details quickly, longing to return to my book. She, apparently having no book to read, asked a lot more questions involving the why-word.
I explained that I had been in Portland attending a workshop on Transformational Coaching.
Suddenly, it became time for what-questions to which I responded that I help people make the changes they long for in their lives.
I was burrowing into my jacket pocket for a business card when she burst out laughing which, frankly, caught me a bit off guard.
“I don’t believe in change!” she announced emphatically.
About 30 years worth of practice kicked in and I replied, “Oh?”
Just as she launched into what I’m sure would have been 87 examples of why she didn’t believe in change, they announced early boarding for my flight. Praying that she would not wind up my seatmate, I wished her safe travels and headed for home, shaking my head.
I grew up not necessarily “believing” in change but being very, very sure that it happens. We moved around a lot. Family legend holds that, when my folks explained to my 3-year-old self that we were moving from Cleveland to Pittsburg, I had two questions.
Do they have corn on the cob?
Do they have Romper Room?
Assured that they did, I was ready to go.
The mountains were a surprise!
Of course, my disbelieving new aquaintance in Portland is not the first person I’ve met who claims not to believe in change. Believe me. I’ve spent more than a little time in the land of, We’ve always done it that way! and the neighboring land of, We’ve never done it that way before!
And, frankly, while I totally get the familiar-is-safe dynamic, I just don’t get not believing in change. Where is the hope in that?
It’s even harder for me to understand not believing on this particular weekend. As my neighbors paint red, white, and blue stars in the street, ready for the 4th of July parade, and my favorite artisanal butcher is wearing his Big Green Egg out with ribs and pulled pork, I find myself wondering what this is all about, if not change.
Much of what I know about change and American history, I learned from my eighth grade English teacher. Together, we read the play 1776, new then on Broadway. (Should you want a review of the origins of the left and the right and what’s changed and what hasn’t, complete with music, it’s a fabulous place to start!)
The bottom line, of course, is the story of an admitedly imperfect batch of farmers and lawyers and silversmiths and wives and mothers and statesmen who came together around things that desperately needed to be changed, despite their fear, and made a new world. Grandmothers, too, I’m sure.
It seems to me, as I go about inventing a gluten-free recipe for fried chicken and stocking up on CBD treats for the dogs, who don’t enjoy fireworks, that we need lots more people who believe in change. Who believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in an even bigger way than our founding mothers and fathers did.
Do you believe in change?
Surely now is the time.
Together, we have amazing power.