This post continues on from the last blog – “It’s Never Too Late in the Afternoon to Make Changes – 1.” We continue on the conversation between Mitch Jasper and Dave Logan about Grandfather Alex. Let’s listen in.
I had no argument for Grandfather Alex. I remembered him as Dave described him. He was friendly to me, but he wasn’t a very interesting person. I knew Grandfather Alex was wealthy from what Dave told me. I wouldn’t have ascertained that myself from the car he drove, the clothes he wore, or what he talked about.
I had to concede to Dave. “If your Grandfather Alex could make such a massive change at 77, I suppose anything is possible.”
Dave leaped at my concession. “So you believe change is possible in the afternoon of your life. I don’t mean to claim it’s a smooth transition. It rarely happens that you can change your life through reasoning alone. The old self you want to change does not want to be changed. Your mind is not where the battle is won. No matter how fully you agree to what is revealed by reason, you will continue to struggle along the old habitual paths of your life. Until, finally, one day you realize that your life is so empty, frustrating, and without meaning that the old life you have lived for 40 years is no longer viable.”
“How do I make the change then?” I sighed. I was confused. I always thought change was a result of your thinking—mind over matter.
“You’ll make it in your heart,” said Dave. “There is a prophet in the Bible named Ezekiel. In the 36th chapter of his prophecy, he says the Lord will give you a new heart. You said a while ago that the traces in your soul have become so dark they can’t be removed. What is in your soul is influenced directly by your heart. Your heart is the core of your being, the place where your true values and beliefs lie. Your soul is your mind, will, and emotions. The heart may become so hard that it is without life, and the soul has no foundation for change. But God promises He will give you a new heart and a new spirit. You can hold Him to that promise.”
I had been only on the fringes of religion for some time. Dave was a continent ahead of me. But I could fathom the truth of what he just told me.
“I do see the possibilities, Dave, but change won’t be easy, living by myself in Edina, with only you as a friend, without outside encounters. Will you help me?”
“I will,” answered Dave. “Here’s an important point to keep in mind: don’t be frustrated with your inability to be consistent. If you work on change and then backslide, don’t beat yourself up. Recognize you went backwards and start over again. For example, when I’m playing golf poorly, I convince myself that any moment in the round is a time to start over again. I forget all the bad shots and concentrate on how to correct my swing. It works for me. It can work for you.
“I suggest you read The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. He worked on 13 virtues he felt would bring him to moral perfection. It was more difficult than he thought when he started. He never reached perfection, but he was very persistent and became a much better person as a result of this experiment. You’ll realize by reading Franklin not to attempt all changes at once. Pick one and work on it until you have made significant progress. Then start on another. Eventually you’ll be a new person. It’s definitely not too late in the afternoon.”