People change. We think that we know someone. We study him or her. We make an assessment. We come to our own conclusions. We apply our stamp of approval or disapproval. We move on. I think people, in general, make one mistake…and that mistake is thinking the sum of one person is set and never changing.
We are always changing.
And with the freeing realization that we are able to reinvent ourselves comes a responsibility to give others equal room to reinvent themselves. We see it in small things. What, my friend doesn’t like mayonnaise? How can my friend all of a sudden not like mayonnaise? She has always liked mayonnaise. My husband drives a new way to get to the movie theater. How odd…he’s never driven this way before. My sister wears a purple dress? That’s strange, she’s always hated purple.
We are surprised (perhaps a little unsettled) when things are not as they once were.
Marriages and friendships fall apart because “I know how she is and she’ll never change” or “I came to really know him and he wasn’t what I expected.” I wonder if we would fare better in our interactions with other people if we believed in change…expected change…invited changed (even invisible change that has its beginnings below the surface on the level of the heart and mind.)
I wonder how much we treat a person based on our estimation of how they were in that one bad moment of yesterday (we all have bad moments) and we fail to see their new moment of today…a redeemed one. I wonder if the excitement and mystery necessary in sustaining a relationship could be rescued by the belief that there is no stagnant energy. Things are always in motion…and tomorrow things may line up in a totally new way and I might see someone, if only for an instant, for who he or she truly is.