Two Things in Life Are Constant
|“The only constant is change.” – Heraclitus of Ephesus
“Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art…” from the poem “Bright Star” by John Keats
“Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw near, when you shall say, I have no pleasure in them… Or ever the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.” – Ecclesiastes 12:1 & 6
I read an editorial in the newspaper recently that started out talking about Kodak filing for bankruptcy. I then thought about how Art Linkletter asked for the film concessions at Disneyland as payment for a favor he did Disney, and he said it was the most profitable little enterprise he had ever undertaken. I remembered when I heard a patent attorney discuss how the tradename “Kodak” was actually meaningless, but it had been pumped full of meaning by the filmmaker. Besides “Coke,” at one time Kodak was probably the most recognized name in the mind of the general public.
George Eastman revolutionized picture taking by his invention of the Box Brownie – I used to have one, and I loved that camera. Eastman did away with glass plates, emulsions and that whole mess, reducing the complexity of taking photos, and Kodak became king of the photo game for one hundred years. Years before Kodak’s invention, my grandfather would bring out his big wooden box camera mounted on an ornate, impressive looking wooden tripod, and he would cover his head with a large fabric cloth to look at an image on a plate before taking a time-lapse picture of our family yelling, “Hold that pose!”
This newspaper editorial on Kodak was strangely timely for me because I had been doing some spring-cleaning and had come upon a camera I had not used in years. Thinking back, I realized I bought it about thirty years ago. It came with a book called “The ABC’s of Picture Taking Ease.” They should have dropped the word “ease” and changed the title to “The Elements of Picture Taking” or better yet to “An Introduction to the Complexities of Photography.” The camera came in a beautiful but bulky carrying bag complete with flash attachment, telescopic lens and a miscellany of additional attachments, devices and batteries. The whole thing was remarkably heavy. What hurt me now was the fact it was a magnificent dinosaur that I did not want to part with. It used a 36-shot roll of Kodak film with little plastic containers to eliminate light. Armed with this magnificent device, I considered how I could take pictures in the field and bring them back to be developed, but how I could not monitor what picture I was taking or manipulate those pictures; and I realized, heartbreak of heartbreaks, the photos wouldn’t have the quality needed to use in our WME publications. Woe, woe, woe!
My shiny, impressive looking camera was a mute sermon on display. First, it testified that nothing lasts very long, let alone forever. The world is changing around us, and our personal world is changing day by day. Second, it says that one day things that are personally important, precious, valuable and modern will be insignificant, nostalgic, antique and outdated. Time tends to do that.
There are only two things in life that are constant. The first is change, and change makes our worlds irrelevant in due time. The second is Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and forever, and He makes us eternal treasures to God and others. As the saying goes, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”
By John G. Cathcart