When Is It Enough?

About two years ago the Walmart in town underwent a total renovation, from Garden Center to Food Section to Electronics. All of the sections migrated throughout the store on a weekly basis, the only thing ever remaining in the same place being the registers at the front. For four months shopping there was an exercise in increasing frustration. One day, about a month into the renovation and thinking that I now knew where the picture frames were situated, I went to that part of the store, only to find that the section, like gypsies, had packed up overnight and migrated elsewhere into the store. After a while I found that every trip to Walmart primed me to be irritated and annoyed. I yearned for the day when Walmart would stop changing things around!!!

Change can be disconcerting, to say the least. Some see no reason for change, as in the movie “The 100 Foot Journey”, in which a French chef scolds a young Indian chef for putting spices into a classic French White Sauce, saying, “Why change a sauce that is 200 years old?” The young Indian chef’s response gives us something to consider in regard to change vs. no change: “Because, Madam, maybe 200 years is enough”.

de7482c432ec876ae7912f6b9410c860Quite often it is the young who are all in favor of change, as was true of my generation in the 60’s when we sought to topple all that had been and to bring about a new order in society. I watched a show about young people leaving the Amish way of life and the young woman being interviewed stated, “Even though I now wear regular street clothes like other people, I still have an Amish head-covering under my pillow which I wear when I pray at night, afraid in my heart that God won’t hear me unless I have my head covered.”

The heart whispers things to us that we ignore at our own peril. Even when we have gotten used to the new clothes, the new address, the new car… even when the “new” has become the “norm”… the heart whispers, and sometimes we find it hard to make sense of what it is trying to tell us. Life seems to demand that our understanding about ourselves change and evolve, and that understanding requires reflection about the interaction between our heart and how we live. I watched a show about a woman who had a decade-long career of running cocaine from one city to another by taking airplane flights with 10 kilos of the drug strapped to her body; by wearing bigger clothes she looked like, in her words, “Just another fat woman.” Strangely, on each flight she carried her Bible in her hands. When the interviewer asked her why she did this she replied, “Because I knew that what I was doing was not good”. She seemed to think that by carrying the Bible God knew that although what she was doing was bad, in her heart she really wanted to be good.

When the way in which we live is in conflict with the deepest yearnings of our heart… maybe it is time for change. To quote the young Indian chef: “Maybe, Madam, 200 years is enough”.

Kahu Kimo

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