A city where I used to live is dotted with deserted public telephone booths. Obsolete and derelict, they stand silent and empty, eerie reminders of their former usefulness, now simply taking up sidewalk space, useless to all but a few spiders that are ever quick to spin their webs in out-of-the-way corners. Twenty or thirty years ago, these booths were a vital means of communication. Long replaced by cell phones, these relics are no longer worth the trouble, either to keep up or to tear down.

Those old phone booths strike a sad chord in me. They remind me of people who are stuck in the past because they couldn’t or wouldn’t adapt to the new. Any of us can become like that. If we focus on the past instead of the present and future, we will get out of touch with the world around us and be left behind. The world is ever changing, and we need to be ready to change with it, to learn new skills and continually strive to make progress. That is true of both our physical and our spiritual lives.

The past year was full of learning experiences for me. Change is often downright difficult, but I’ve found that it usually works out for my good. I’ve needed to adapt to my new location and situation, and I’ve acquired some new skills in the process.

Human nature seems to want things to remain static, but the ways we did things yesterday are often no longer the best approach to the needs of today. Regardless of whether or not we change with the times, what was cutting edge yesterday often doesn’t cut it today. Take a look at the rapidly changing world of computerized gadgetry to see what I mean. I recently looked through back issues of a popular electronics magazine and couldn’t help but chuckle at the products that were being hailed as “innovative” in their day, but are outdated now.

As the saying goes, “Time and tide wait for no man.” We do well to move with the times.