Keith Wishum: So much has changed
I’m staring at a faded black-and-white photo. You’ve got one like it, just different people in it. This one shows two clowning young men standing on a bare concrete floor in an old country store. Not shown are the homemade cowhide-bottom chairs and the chest cooler filled with glass-bottled Cokes selling for a nickel.
Both men have slicked hair – probably oiled with Vitalis. I know the brand because the one on the right is my dad. The other is his older brother. The world was already changing for them by 1960 when the picture was snapped.
Growing up plowing long rows on long days behind a long-eared mule, the two had rarely ventured far from the sandy fields around Doles, Georgia. Electricity was a revolutionary development during their childhood. Winter mornings were spent warming by a wood-burning cast-iron stove. The bathroom was outside. The bathtub was on the back porch. (It was round and had a number 2 stamped on the bottom.) Water, you hand pumped from a well. Television, when described to my dad in school, sounded like science fiction.
Yet, by the time of this photo, both boys had left the farm, spent some time in college, gotten married, and moved to other places. They drove cars and had TV’s in their air-conditioned homes.
In the years to come, more changes came fast and furiously. TV added color, and showed a man walking on the moon. Wood stoves gave way to microwaves and McDonald’s. People started keeping books with Macbooks instead of paper books. Mail came to be spelled with an “e” in front. And nobody plows a mule anymore, except to show how it was done long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. (Stars Wars came along, too.)
But the greatest changes came closer home. The younger brother in the photo died 17 years ago. One of his sisters is gone, too. And the older brother is getting pushed around by age. Some changes are hard.
What do you hold to when the winds of change tear at you? For the two in the picture, the anchor has been their unyielding faith in an unchanging God. They believed Jesus’ promise that “everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:41).
So much changes. Thank God that He doesn’t.
A Word from Williams Road is provided by the Williams Road Church.