“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but building the new.” Today, as the United States of America prepares to swear in its 45th President, change is in the air. After eighteen months of a heated and often contentious debate, a man most felt least likely to win will swear an oath that will change the rest of his life and his family’s.
Today, as in no other, the Constitution of the United States will take center stage. It is perhaps one of only a handful of legal and governing documents to encourage change. While most eyes will be on President-Elect Donald Trump and his entourage, no living person is really in the spotlight as the Constitution is. The whole purpose of change, who can participate, how such change happens, and how such change is tallied and then made to happen is all dependent upon this one document, two hundred and thirty-nine years old with only twenty-seven amendments.
Tony Robbins once said “Change is inevitable; progress is optional.” That single quote describes the feeling of many today. Politics aside, what comes next will be dependent upon many people, people who in spite of all the pomp and circumstance will have the same power as the man being sworn in today, his cronies, and followers as those who opposed his campaign.
One of the hallmarks of the US Constitution is the recognition it affords change. Winston Churchill believed “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. “ It is something we all tend to resist, however. Nothing in creation remains the same. Nature is one large and unending cycle of change. Anatole France recognized this. “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
It seems contradictory to say we must die in order to live but there is a great deal of truth in that. No one ever moved forward by constantly looking backwards. We cannot embrace the future is we are stuck living in the past. You will never see where the ocean might take you if you remain firmly planted on the shore.
It is not just those within the boundaries of the United States that will be watching this great change today. Leaders all around the world will be watching, waiting, and wondering what will come next. Often attributed to “anonymous”, our closing paragraph today actually comes from Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Reinhold Niebuhr. It not only sums up the inauguration today o f a new world leader but offers a great roadmap as we encounter the inevitable changes of our own lives.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. ”