Thursday Quote Day: Charles Dickens

This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features a quote from author Charles Dickens:

“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.”  (Charles Dickens)

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Sunday Devotional: Hebrews 13:8

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  (Hebrews 13:8)

It has been said that one constant in life is that everything changes.  Circumstances change.  We change.  As time goes by, things change.  However, one thing that doesn’t change is Jesus.  He never changes.  We can trust that He will always be there.  That He will always be faithful.  That He will always be true to His word.  In this season of Thanksgiving, that is something to truly be thankful for.

The Doctor and Me

doctorwho

The new season of Doctor Who is set to premiere this weekend.  With the premiere, there will be a new Doctor.  There have been 12 previous Doctors (if you count the War Doctor) and Peter Capaldi will now play the Doctor.  I’ve talked about on this blog before about regeneration and the Doctor so if you want to check out that post, feel free to check the archives.

Now you may (or may not know), starting around January 2013, I started watching the show.  I didn’t just start with the 2005 revival.  I started all the way back to 1963 with the first Doctor, William Hartnell.  I watched on DVD and Netflix Instant Streaming from the first Doctor onward.  Granted, there have been some serials and episodes that have been lost in time, but the majority that are out there I’ve seen.  Aside from 8 classic serials and 1 modern Christmas special, I have seen all the Doctor Who episodes that are out there.  Last month I finished up with season 7, the 50th Anniversary episode and the Christmas episode.

At the end of the Christmas episode, there was a line that really stuck out to me that the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) said just before his regeneration.  He said this:  “We all change.  When you think about it, we’re all different people all through our lives.  And that’s okay, that’s good.  You got to keep moving so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.”

That quote really stuck out to me because it’s true.  I’m not the same person I was a year ago.  I’m not the same as I was two years ago.  I’m not the same person I was when I was in seminary, nor am I the same person that I was in Seattle.  I’m not who I was in graduate school just I’m not the same person I was in college or high school.  Those are different people than who I am now but they are also still me.  Just like the Doctor was still the Doctor throughout the years even though his appearance and personality would change, he was still the Doctor.

There are some people out there that just know me as “High School Michael” because that was when they interacted with me the most.  There’s some that know me as “College Michael”, some as “Grad School Michael”, and so on and so forth.  I think in some ways we all tend to do that.  We have some friends in the past that we just know them in that context and if we saw them now they would still fit that context even though they’ve changed and we’ve changed.  And like some of the Doctor’s companions, there are those friends in our lives that have seen more than one version of us, have seen the difference but still know it’s us.

I hope that I’ve gotten better.  That this version of me right now is better than what I used to be.  I also know that I’m not done changing.  I will be a different Michael in a year, five years, ten years down the line.  But I will remember all the different versions of me.  I will remember all the people that I used to be.  Because they are a part of who I am and they always will be.  But they will not always be all that I am.

Time will tell how the new Doctor will be.  In some ways, the same could be said for us as well.

Agent Coulson and Change

I’m a huge comic book/super hero fan.  I readily admit that.  I grew up reading comic books and have seen a lot of comic book movies in the theaters, especially the Marvel ones that have come out recently.  I have also gotten into the new TV show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that debuted this season.  For those that don’t know, S.H.I.E.L.D. is a unit that exists to explore and ascertain info about things that are unexplainable, handle bad guys & keep such things classified.  On this show, there is a team of agents led by Agent Phil Coulson.  Coulson is a character that appeared in some of the Marvel movies.  Initially, the character was just a bit player.  However, fans grew to love the character and got featured more and more.  In The Avengers movie that came out last year, Coulson died at the hands of Loki (Thor’s half brother).

There was a huge uproar and people wanted the character brought back to life (which happens in comic books regularly).  So he was and is made the leader of this new team of agents.  Of course, the story of how he’s back from death and such is still playing out (and probably will throughout the season).  In tonight’s episode, there was a poignant moment.  Agent Coulson was talking with Agent May (one of the agents a part of this team and someone who has known Coulson for a while).  Coulson mentioned to May how he doesn’t feel the same and says to her that he feels like he’s changed.  She tells him that he has changed and that you can’t go through what he went through without changing.  She reassures him that it is okay that he has changed.

We all go through things in our life that change us.  We don’t necessarily have happen what happened to Agent Coulson but we have experiences that change us.  We change as people.  I am not the same person today that I was six months ago or a year ago.  There are parts of me that are constant but there are things that have changed.  Hopefully, those things are for the better.  I hope that I’m more compassionate, more loving, more caring.  I hope that I’m becoming more like Jesus.  But I know it is a process.  It is not an overnight thing.  And like Agent Coulson has a scar from his encounter with Loki, I have scars from encounters I’ve had on my journey as I’m sure that you have scars from those things that you have faced.

Change is not always a bad thing.  It can be a good thing.  It is not an easy thing to be sure and a lot of times it does hurt.  But there is good that can come out of it.