As far back as I can remember, I always embraced change. I read someplace that without change, creativity is snuffed. That might explain the surge of creativity or personal boost that people experience during a retreat or while surfing or mountain climbing.
Makes sense. Debbie and I wrote most of our best material at any location away from the office. When we were at our desks, the expected things happened. Creativity dried up. One of our most popular classes Bullies, Backstabbers, Braggarts and Banshees was outlined at a buffet! (We called it the Royal Gorge) That spark of ideas ignited a 6 hour class that was fun to teach and easy to write. In fact, most of our communication classes were written on retreat at Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey. We would go there twice a year: in the Spring for ministry to clean the Stone House and in the Fall to have a spiritual retreat and start the outlines for our next class. Even during the Spring over fumes of vinegar and dish soap, we would be bouncing new ideas around.
So geographical change can invigorate and inspire creativity. But, I’m convinced, can do so only if we embrace it. My mom said, “Every time I move I look for something that I just love about the new place, even if I didn’t want to leave the old one. Before long, I’m really happy in the new place.” I’ve tried to apply that to more than geographical changes.
I want to be sure you know that I don’t believe all change is good. We can agree on that. Also, too many changes leads to instability and lack of progress. I once worked at a job where the staff stayed the same but the job description was in constant flux. It not possible to grow strong or perform well with incessant change.
Starting back into the maze from Part 1, I didn’t identify with Hem and we aren’t supposed to really like his whiny self. I could better understand Haw. His reaction was slow, but gradually he realized that he didn’t want to keep repeating the same behaviors and getting the same results, so he had to look at other options in the same maze. I’ve had to ask myself, where can I find cheese, aside from the same old corner?
I’m convinced it’s one reason I love living in my RV. I get to experience change more often than when I lived in my little house in the city. I meet new friends, eat new foods, see new places and hear new thoughts and ways of speaking. Right now I’m in the deep south and being a Yankee English teacher, I have no idea how they understand each other. With the drawl, the consonants are softened and drawn out till I have to have them spell things!
So change has it’s challenges. But I respect Haw for searching elsewhere for his daily cheese intake.
So far we have Hem, who complains about the missing cheese, keeps repeating his same daily trek down the maze to the same empty corner day after day. And we have Haw, who eventually starts to explore the maze and look for new cheese in another corner. He, by the way, is an incessant scribbler and vandalizes the walls of the maze with bits of wisdom. I want to buy him a notepad or get him a smart phone so he can keep his notes handy. So Haw learns gradually to try new things and finds new cheese.
In this parable of the moving cheese, I would like to make a case for the missing character, Hee. Instead of refusing to look elsewhere for cheese, like Hem or look for new cheese, like Haw, this new character (a girl!) could take a leadership role and develop her own line of cheese or even find a new diet instead of cheese!
Of course Hee will be criticized by Hem for not ‘sticking it out’ and might be called any number of things: rebel, starry-eyed dreamer, or a quitter. Hee will be told that if she wants real change, she should stay and fight for it. (Change within is understood to be better than change from without.) Doesn’t that sound like Hem? He would be angry and hurt and disillusioned with her. She will no doubt be unfriended by Hem.
Haw, on the other hand may be open-minded enough to want to stay in touch and will continue to be friends on Facebook. Eventually Haw may even want to sample the new cheese from Hee’s company. I could even imagine Haw might submit a resume to Hee at some point after he’s worked through his resentments from the past.
So we have Hem and Haw, in many ways typical Flighters: those who run from change or those who go along with it and adapt well but don’t strike out on their own. The remarkable difference in Hee comes from being an independent thinker, not a follower. She’s most likely a Fighter. That’s the character I could identify with. Sadly, she’s not in the original parable, but she’s in this story and she’s still a character. She’s me.