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What Changes and What Doesn’t (Or, the Concept of Constancy in 10 Minutes or Less)

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Yesterday, I walked into Carroll Community College and took my last final exam. Last night, I went to the last Cru Bible Study of the semester. In two months, I will be transferring to Liberty University and moving to a campus in Virginia. Being the masterful social hermit and rector of routine that I am, this scares me out of my wits. I’m reminded of that line in “Harry Potter” where his companions rhetorically ask, “Everything’s going to change now, isn’t it?” I’m also reminded of Harry’s not-so-comforting response: “Yes.”

The fact of the matter is that things change, all the time. Nations rise and fall, people come and go, and sports teams get our hopes up and dash them repeatedly. Cars break down, people break up, and dishes just, well, break. However, instead of moping around and drowning my sorrows in another cup of coffee (hey, I’m still 20), I feel that this is a good time to take inventory. In a time of transition, I feel that there are two categories that are more important than any other: what changes and what doesn’t.

I’ve already kind of covered what changes, and I’m sure you are all aware of what changes in your lives as well. Counting the experiences of the student body at Carroll, I’m sure most bases have been covered, some of which probably make my upcoming transfer look like a birthday party. We’ve seen lies, we’ve seen wars, we’ve seen divorces, we’ve seen death. We’ve probably seen the best and worst this world has to offer, and, obviously, it changes us. From that perspective, it seems as if nothing truly remains constant and absolute.

That’s the typical conclusion of the post-modern society: “nothing is true, everything is permitted.” Maybe there’s only one category; maybe the other one is just the fever-dream of an old hermit who wants to keep watching “Parks and Recreation” on Thursday nights. Maybe Yeats is right; “mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,” and we see it every day in our ever-changing world.

I don’t buy it, though. Just because things feel like they’re always changing doesn’t mean they all are. And if things truly are always changing, then where the heck did I get this concept of constancy? As my good buddy C.S. Lewis says: “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning:  just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.” Where does variability get its definition if not from the idea of a constant? Absolute subjectivity simply doesn’t work. Yes, things do change; in fact, almost everything does. But that’s what makes finding what doesn’t change all the more crucial.

What doesn’t change? That’s a fantastic question, and it’s one I’m sure I’ll be asking for the rest of my days. I think I know where to start, though. If everything in this finite realm changes, then maybe I need to look beyond it. Maybe the beginning of constancy lies beyond my immediate vision: namely, in the One who created it. To borrow from Lewis again, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” If God is the sole constant in a world of perpetual transition, then He is my only chance to find the truths I so desperately seek.

I leave August 15th. I leave what I’ve known. But I know who will remain when what I’ve known will not.

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