The first time I went to Europe I was a teenager. Arriving in Madrid, smelling garlic simmering in olive oil, I knew I wasn’t in Kansas (or in Jackson, Tennessee in my case) anymore. The fragrance was exotic and attractive and I was thrilled to be someplace different.
Decades and many trips later, I was back in Madrid for the second time in my life. The narrow winding streets lined with trees and filled with small shops and cafes were still there to charm me. The extravagant architecture of 18th and 19th century palaces, houses and public buildings still delighted me with their elaborate facades, monumental sculpture and wrought iron balconies. The constant breeze and golden light of a Madrid afternoon were still hypnotic. The world-renowned Prado museum is still filled with masterworks from the late Renaissance.
Yet much in Madrid has changed.
The Prado has a whole new wing and a new neighbor that is contemporary and houses modern art. Among the old buildings are shining towers of glass and steel. And the taxis are no longer small black Seats(Spanish Fiats), but white hybrids! There are health food stores, electronic stores and sports gear stores full of the same multi-colored high tech stuff we have in any U.S. mall. On one side of a main plaza a large palace has been converted into an Apple store!
It would have been easy to lament the changes in Madrid. Some of the exotica of my youth was gone. Yet to bemoan that would be a waste of energy. Because Madrid, like great cities, successful companies and successful people, has held onto its essence and invented and reinvented itself in other ways.
You and I both know it is easy to become attached to one way of living or being. One way of thinking or reacting. Easy to fear that in change we may lose our essence. But greatness and vitality calls us, indeed, insists that we invent and reinvent ourselves and our attitudes.
So this week, celebrate those enduring parts of your life and invite in the new, the fresh, yes even the daring.
You already know this is true. This is just a reminder.
Until next Tuesday.