Two mornings a week, just after 5, I’m usually at the Tuckahoe YMCA working out. Most people with an ounce of common sense are back at home still sleeping.
In a hallway connector at the Y are two vending machines. At the bottom of each machine printed in bold letters are the following words: Make Change.
On the morning of Tuesday, October 17, I walked into the exercise room that I have used for many years, and I immediately noticed the room had been changed, rearranged.
I felt out of place. In truth I was boiling on the inside. My exercise room worked perfectly for me. I had no complaints. Why make such a drastic rearrangement?
And to make this change even worst, I hadn’t been consulted. No one asked for my permission to make these changes. Of all the nerve rearranging my exercise room without my blessing.
My workout was awkward. This rearrangement had disrupted my normal routine.
A couple of staff members walked into the room, and I expressed my displeasure of this new layout. As I was leaving the building, I picked up the contact information for the director of this YMCA branch. Boy was she going to hear from me!
“The Horse Trader” episode of the Andy Griffith Show has a classic opening scene.
Sheriff Andy Taylor and his deputy, Barney Fife, are preparing to attend a town council meeting. On the agenda is a pending decision about Mayberry’s old cannon. The town council believes the worn out cannon has become an eyesore. They want to remove it.
In their pre-meeting conversation, Andy detects that Barney doesn’t like change. In fact, Barney admits, “that he likes for things to stay the same.”
Barney shares a story about the installation of a stamp selling machine at the Mayberry post office.
This new machine just “frosted” Barney. He was so agitated that he composed a letter to the post master general. But Barney admits, he never mailed the letter because he refused to purchase a stamp from the automated machine.
Perhaps, like Barney and me you struggle with that six letter word—“change.”
Someday, I might hear this little dab of humor from a grandchild:
My granddaughter was visiting one day when she asked, “Grandpa, do you know how you and God are alike?”
“No, how are we alike?” “You’re both old,” she replied.
That wisdom from a child holds true based upon my second visit to the YMCA after the rearrangement.
I learned from one of the employees what he had observed. He had been keeping tabs on how members who use this room felt about their disruption. His informal survey simply concluded: young members like the new layout and older members dislike it.
I’ll be 65 in June; I’m one of those older members. And yes, I was shocked by the rearrangement, and yes, I wrote an e-mail to the director, explaining why I disliked the layout.
To the director’s credit, she quickly responded and offered to meet with me. But, I don’t think I’ll take her up on a meeting. Here’s why, I was looking at this change strictly from the “me” perspective.
All I selfishly thought about was how this change was impacting “me.” Why had “my” exercise room been rearranged? Why did the leadership disrupt “my” routine? I wasn’t considering that the room belongs to the YMCA, and it is used by members from all age groups, not just rapidly aging whiny grumps like “me”.
In fact, I imagine the good Lord is about ready to whack me with a 2×4, by referring me to Galatians Chapter 4 Verse 20: “I wish I were present with you now and could change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.”
I can understand why the good Lord would be perplexed by me, and my tone.
If I think about all of the people in this world whose lives have been recently disrupted with hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and reckless political regimes, I should be ashamed of my pitiful workout room grumbling.
American author E.B. White once stated: “The only sense that is common in the long run is the sense of change and we all instinctively avoid it.”
I’ll see the words Make Change on those YMCA vending machines every morning after I complete my workout.
What am I going to do with that reminder?
Am I going to continue to perplex the good Lord by instinctively avoiding change?
Or, am I going to disrupt my life for the benefit of those truly in need?
I know what my answer should be.