The leaf in this image caught my eye because the changes it was undergoing were incredibly dramatic. The colors were striking. But at the same time there were spots of imperfection; brown spots on the edges where the changes were less aesthetically pleasant. It reminded me that people are not much different. In my life I have watched really good people wither and die miserable deaths because they refused to change. And I have seen completely broken minded stubborn people allow themselves to make one single change, and then watched them blossom into amazingly new individuals, full of goodness and life. We all have our ugly bits. And we can focus on them, allow them to control us and keep us fearful of change both in ourselves and in others. Or we can see the beauty and necessity of change. We can appreciate the colors, and recognize that without that beautiful change the tree, now barren and ugly, could not change once again in the spring, with new growth, new life, and new beauty.
Most people shy away from change, if not actively avoid it, because change is difficult. It is challenging. It opens up the possibility that we may have to look critically at ourselves and see that we have been wrong about things. It can make us feel insecure, weak, and even ashamed. Our culture today is so hyperfocused on being "right" about everything that the very concept of change is seen as negative. Both politics and the business world value individual conformity while preaching collective growth, even though the two are mutually exclusive. You can not have both, which is why we see the struggles in both spheres coming to a most unpleasant head lately.
Yet all around us, every day we see change and take no such umbrage. We see the dog shed its winter coat, and we do not think less of the dog for it. We see rust on a shovel, but we do not think less of the shovel for it. And we see leaves changing color and falling from the tree, but we do not think less of the tree for it either.
Change will always be challenging and difficult. And we will make mistakes as we change. But that does not mean we shouldn't embrace it. Growth depends on making mistakes, and growth is the goal of change. I know that I am a most unrecognizable person from who I was 30 years ago. And I hope that in another 30 years I am just as unrecognizable from who I am now. I hope to keep improving...growing. That will require change. It will not always be easy, but I will embrace it nonetheless. I encourage you to seek change and growth out in yourself, to encourage it in others, and to listen gracefully when others try to encourage you to change as well.
Or crawl into your casket and wait.