There's a reason I chose a picture of a carnation to go with this post. It reminds me how important it is, especially as we age, to be able to change our mind when appropriate...
Obviously, there are times when changing our mind isn’t appropriate. I’m glad, for instance, that the British people refused to change their mind when faced with the preening might of Nazi Germany.
But being flexible, willing to change our mind when appropriate, is crucial to our happiness, success, fulfillment, and of course, relationships. Sometimes our first impression of someone or something isn’t always accurate...
Here’s a case in point. A year or so after JoAnn and I had moved to Denver to downsize, I decided to check out a church located near our home. I’m not religious, particularly, but I am spiritual, and I was also interested in the possibility of finding some kindred spirits and making new friends.
So I drove over to investigate this church one Sunday morning, and was immediately put off by the fact that it was apparently housed in the corner of a commercial building.
It didn't look like a proper church
It doesn’t look like a proper church, I thought, with mild annoyance, as I went inside. The proceedings had already begun, so with no-one to say hello to me, I took a seat at the back to do some more investigating. A man was playing on a small piano, and a woman was singing some songs, but again, it seemed kind of hokey to me. I wasn’t very impressed.
Perhaps you can see a pattern unfolding here. In any case, finally the minister, who was a woman, stepped to the podium and began to speak. Now I’ll be able to get a feel of things, I thought. But the woman started out by telling a story, and although I usually enjoy stories, for some reason I didn’t find this one very interesting.
After a few minutes I decided this wasn’t the right place for me, and without further ado, I got up and quietly left the hall.
Now let me bring you up-to-date
Bear with me, please, as I bring you up-to-date.
Last weekend, for some reason, I remembered the little church I had visited a year or two ago with such disappointing results. “You should go and visit there again,” a little voice said in my heart. “You might really like it. You may have been a bit hasty and jumped to a conclusion when you went there before.”
I try to listen to my inner nudges. It’s true, I thought to myself. I may have written off the church, and more important, the people who meet there, prematurely.
I didn’t put on a tie, but I put on my nice sports jacket and drove to the church.
It was a wonderful visit. I was so glad I had changed my mind. At the door, as I entered, three women were waiting to greet arrivals. I caught the eye of the nearest greeter, an older woman, and I thought, as I shook her hand and smiled at her, “What a delightful person. I feel at home already.”
Exactly the same man was playing the piano. Exactly the same woman was singing. But it all sounded quite different this time.
The speaker was different – it was the woman whom I had met at the door, and I knew, even before she began to speak, that she had a lot of wisdom to share, and that I would enjoy listening to her.
Things just kept on getting better and better. I like people, so I hung around after the service for a coffee and chat. I love sailing, and the first person I started chatting with had just been sailing in San Francisco bay. I met a friendly member of the church board who told me all about her daughter, an adventurous 49-year-old currently teaching in Tunisia.
My Sunday morning visit at a local Unity Church was all I could have hoped for and then some. One of my new friends even gave me a carnation to give to my wife, which I presented proudly to JoAnn when I got home. Good move. I got some extra brownie points without even really trying.
It's one of life's most precious gifts -- the ability to change our mind now and again if we want.
I send you blessings and love and would love to hear any comments you may have on the above.
Picture credit: All rights reserved by Martin P Davies