Fall into Change - October 2018

Fall brings gradual change to our area. As the smoldering heat and humidity give way to cooler, dryer air, locals are enticed outdoors again. Soon festivals and fall colors are livening up our streets and parks, and then there’s the grand finale of the transformation: Halloween, when big and little children transform themselves into something else (sometimes closer to reality than not, given the current fascination with superheroes).

Fortunately, the change does not stop there. Our young people are bravely meeting the need for change, as if their bold actions were no different than putting on a cape. They are working “collectively and across partisan aisles on everything from climate change and the environment to gun control, gender equality, social justice, education and politics,” writes Linda Sechrist in Youths Step Up to the Global Challenges. Then there’s a local “game changer,” From the Ground Up Community Garden, which gives children and adults in Pensacola the opportunity to understand and explore the concept of sustainability. By working in the garden with community volunteers, they learn the importance of growing healthy food in order to lower their grocery bills, get more exercise, beautify their neighborhoods and live healthier lives. The garden has become a hub for education, community building and cultural events. 

To children, it’s second nature to believe that everything we do should be for the benefit of all. We still remember the Halloween when we took one of our sons to see a movie, only to find that it was sold out. He began to cry and wanted to know if we could ask someone else to give up their seat. “We can’t do that,” we explained gently. “Everyone else here wants to see the movie too.” A kind stranger standing nearby, who had overheard our conversation, turned and offered us his tickets. Wiping his eyes, my son looked up at him. “Oh no,” he said. “I would cry if you missed the movie too.”

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one, affects all indirectly.” Younger minds have the innate ability to grasp this concept, and so do older minds—although some folks nowadays would say that this is blind thinking (or, as I was recently called in a comment on one of my Facebook posts, “delusional”). MLK, in his spiritual leadership, was telling us that our minds won’t change until our hearts do. And once we’ve changed, we can’t undo it.

I’m also reminded of President John F. Kennedy’s words, “Those who make peaceful evolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” Once we understand this, it’s also impossible not to understand it ... in everything we do. When we awaken to this concept, we plant the seedling of a spiritual vine that will grow through every muscle, bone and nerve in our bodies, to every emotional, mental and spiritual level of our souls. It becomes unimaginable to perceive, think or respond any other way. This has been my experience.

As I take a look at our country’s young “game changers,” I think of the thousands of like-minded people in our community—our readers, our providers and our organizations—and my spirit is restored. We can change our reality. We’re doing it now. 

Here’s to peaceful change,


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