REGARDING HENRY: Winds of change

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu

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Change.

One word but it has several meanings. It can be a verb or it can be a noun. As a verb, it is used to make the form, nature, content, future course of something different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone. It also means to transform or convert, to substitute another for others or exchange for something else, to give and take reciprocally, and to give or get an equivalent amount of money in lower denominations in exchange for.

As a noun, change is the act of fact of changing, a transformation or modification, a variation or deviation, the substitution of one thing for another, variety or novelty, or the passing from one place, state, form or phase to another.

The word came to mind when Miss Universe host Steve Harvey asked Maxine Medina last January during the international beauty tilt this question: “What is the most significant change you’ve seen in the world in the last 10 years?”

The country’s representative replied, “In the last 10 years of being here in the world, is that I saw all the people bringing in one event like this, Miss Universe. And it’s something big to us that we are one, as one nation we are all together.”

That answer failed to impress the judges (even Filipinos who watched it in their television sets). Medina, along with Miss Kenya and Miss Thailand, were dropped from the top three, with Miss France winning the coveted crown and Miss Haiti and Miss Colombia as first and second runner-ups, respectively.

Some think that she was under a lot of stress that she wasn’t able to take a grasp of the question being thrown at her. Others believe she could have been in winning three had she used the interpreter at her disposal.

But whatever is the reason, it never changed the fact that she made it to the top six.

Perhaps she has forgotten that during the time when President Rodrigo R. Duterte was campaigning, the mantra being used was: Change is coming!

Change is the law of life, so goes a saying. After all, the only permanent thing in this world is change. “Those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future,” someone pointed out. “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

Former American President Barack Obama believed change will not come to us “if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

That’s what four-time Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn thinks so, too. In her autobiography, Me: Stories of My Life, she wrote: “We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.”

A few years ago, singing sensation Madonna said these words: “No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.”

The reason why I am quoting her statement is because of the story shared by H.K. Gee in the book, 1,000 Stories You Can Use.

In the church where he worshipped, there was this lonely old man named Thomas. He had outlived all his friends and hardly anyone knew him. When Thomas died, Gee had a feeling that there would be no one to go to the funeral so he decided to go so that there was at least someone to follow the old man to his last resting place.

There was no one else and it was a wild, wet day. The funeral reached the cemetery; and at the gate thee was a soldier waiting. He was an officer, but on his raincoat, there were rank badges. The soldier came to the graveside for the ceremony; when it was over, he stepped forward and before the open grave swept his hand to a salute that might have been given to a king.

Gee walked away with this soldier, and as they walked, the wind blew the soldier’s raincoat open to reveal the shoulder badges of a brigadier.

“You will perhaps be wondering what I am doing here,” the brigadier told Gee. “Years ago, Thomas was my Sunday School teacher; I was a wild lad and a sore trial to him. He never knew what he did for me, but I owe everything I am or will be to old Thomas, and today I had to come to salute him at the end.”

Thomas completely changed the brigadier without the old man knowing it.

To end this piece, allow me to quote the worlds of Andy Warhol: “When people are ready to, they change. They never do it before then, and sometimes they die before they get around to it. You can’t make them change if they don’t want to, just like when they do want to, you can’t stop them” (Andy Warhol in His Own Words).

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