Things change. That is inevitable.
Recently, a man stood on the sidewalk at his old junior high school, but it wasn't the same as it was when he was going to school there so many years ago. The years had not been kind to the once-stately building, then the pride of the school district. Once filled with student vibrancy and activity, it was now boarded up. Once filled with early-teen chatter and laughter, it now stood silent, neglected. The widows and doors were boarded up, broken glass strewn on ground that was once green with grass but now brown and barren.
All about town, changes were evident. The elementary school that the man attended for six years gone! Gutted by a fire, the building had been torn down to make way for a senior citizens housing project, an indication of the aging of the neighborhood. The high school where he went for the first two years gone! It, too, had fallen victim to a devastating fire. The finest theater in town, where only the latest and best movies were shown, was no more. The old corner drug store where the young people used to congregate, not to have prescriptions filled but to enjoy a thick chocolate or vanilla malt savored through a straw had given way to another business.
The old building, housing a bakery where he had met his wife when both worked there, no longer emitted the tantalizing smells of freshly baked bread and pastries. The bakery, too, had gone the way of so many of the once-thriving businesses in town that were no more, caught up in the changing times.
The old canal swimming hole, where the man had learned to swim, was no longer isolated at the edge of town, but was now, seemingly, in the middle of everything with houses, offices, banks and shopping malls all about it on what became the town's busiest and most prestigious street.
Even the Church meetinghouse where the man first gained a testimony of the gospel; where he served as a deacon, teacher and priest; where he gave his talk before leaving on his mission and a talk upon his homecoming; where his wedding reception was held was no longer an LDS meetinghouse. The half-century old building, which held so many memories for him, had been sold to another faith.
The visit to the old home town was, yes, a nostalgic trip down memory lane but, in reality, it was also a strong and visual reminder that things rarely remain the same.
We, too, change. That is also inevitable. None of us as we journey through mortality will escape change. It comes to all of us.
Change comes in many different forms, has many different faces. It could come on the wings of getting a new job or retiring from an old one. It could result from the birth of a new child or the death of a family member or close friend. It could come from ill health, injury or aging. It could stem from a move to a bigger or smaller house or to a bigger or smaller community.
Or a myriadother things.
We live in a changing society, with changes all about us.
But change can also come to us from that which changes not.
The gospel of Jesus Christ remains constant and neither it nor the values that it espouses change with time. The gospel provides the steady, undeviating course leading to eternal life. "There can be no change in the gospel," Elder Wilford Woodruff said in the Bowery on Temple Square in 1863. "All men that are saved from Adam to infinitum are saved by the one system of salvation. The Lord may give many laws and commandments to suit the varied circumstances and conditions of His children throughout the world, such as giving a law of carnal commandments to Israel, but the laws and principles of the gospel do not change." (Journal of Discourses 10:217.)
And, thankfully, this unchanging and undeviating gospel can provide the way for us to bring about changes in our lives where needed.
Alma put it this way: "And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances,? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?" (Alma 5:14.)
A "mighty change of heart" brings about a change of thought, a change of feelings, a change of action, resulting in "a new birth," and as President David O. McKay once said, "Burying the old man with all that hatred and jealousy and sin." (Gospel Ideals, p. 328.)
In a world of anxiety, concern and turmoil, being spiritually born of God and undergoing a mighty change of heart brings peace to our lives. It provides a solid foundation in a changing world of shifting values.