May 8, 2014
by Noel Lucero
May is a time of change - the weather is warmer, the trees are green, people start spending more time outside - and I think most people would agree that this type of change is good. But what about that other change (that I'm sure we are all trying hard to forget) that occurs from fall to winter? The weather is cold, the leaves fall to the ground, and people retreat indoors. Most of us complain. Many of us have fantasies of taking a permanent vacation to the Bahamas. Is change good in this situation?
My old self would have argued that no, this kind of change is inconvenient and mean. This kind of change discourages social interaction because we are forced inside, the world looks dead, and it takes 15 extra minutes to start our cars every morning. But lately I have been contemplating the concept of change and have come to a different conclusion. Sometimes change is extremely uncomfortable. It forces you to take pause and assess your current situation. It scares you because change often means confronting the unknown. But these periods of transition are necessary because without them, we cannot grow. Winter is necessary - at least in Illinois - because without it we would be deprived of the spring blooms that drip from every tree; we might not relish that first warm day as much if we had them all year round; and sunny days would not inspire the same gratefulness.
There is a quote from Cynthia Occelli that seems to encapsulate this perception of change perfectly:
"For a seed to acheive its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn't understand the process, it would look like complete destruction. Little do they know, that this is true growth."
Though I've gotten a bit philosophical on you, I would invite you to think about how change is beneficial for our own community. United Way will soon be completing the 2014 Community Assessment, which will reveal data about McLean County that will point out issues that are most relevant to citizens. What to do with powerful information like that? Change!
And how do I make this change, you ask? Volunteer! Volunteering is an excellent way to incite change. By investing your time in the community, you become advocates for the issues at hand, and advocacy + action = change. So take a look around you and start cracking that shell. Who knows? You might even start appreciating polar vortexes.