I came across these words by Malcolm Muggeridge: “When I look back on my life nowadays, which I sometimes do, what strikes me most forcibly about it is what seemed at the time most significant and seductive, seems now most futile and absurd.” I can relate to that because I see the same thing in my own life.
I suspect that what lies at the heart of Muggeridge’s words is the mystery of change in human character. We can teach, instruct, preach and even coherce people in to changing, but in the end real change lies beyond our manipulations and seductions. It’s a bit like the seasons. We don’t cause them to happen. They simply happen at a rythym and pace we don’t control or fully understand.
There’s a mystery about our entering a stage of readiness for a particular change in life. It kind of happens in spite of us. Does that then mean that all attempts at nurturing change in our own lives and in the lives of others are futile? Of course not! But it does mean that we always need to remember, that in spite of what we do, change happens on a level beyond our grasp. It remains a mystery and is ultimately out of our hands.
I think that seeking to understand this makes life a lot easier. It certainly nurtures greater patience and understanding, not only with others, but also with ourselves.