Progress is impossible without change,
those who cannot change their mind cannot change anything.
-George Bernard Shaw-
Just when you learn just how to live, life changes! Many of us can attest to this reality as many of us have experienced major changes in your own lifetime. The above picture is a photograph of my grandfather Wade Thornton along with some of his coworkers in what would be their final work day on the job in 1951. It was during the 1960’s that major changes in small towns all over America would forever impact million of lives.
Dan River Mills http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Dan_River_Mills# was a historic manufacturer of apparel fabrics and home fashion products such as bedding. Opened in 1882 as Riverside Cotton Mills, began the decline in 1960 due to the imported textiles gradually began to take away market share from American textile markets. Dan River Mill finally comes to an end in 2006.
Its heyday was during the war years [World War II, 1939-1945], by fulfilling orders for the military. During this time, the mills dominated life in Danville, employing 14,000 workers in a town of 40.000 citizens. Our family was blessed because of the faithful commitment of service of my grandfather, who worked there most of his life, retiring in 1961 and transitioning shortly thereafter. We miss you and will forever love you, granddad!
The Death of Small Downtown America
Danville like many other small town cities across America fell victim to three major transitional shifts that led to the downtown decline during the late 1960’s. Below, I will briefly list them for informational purposes only, without offering solution:
- First, the interstate highway system redirected people away from the local commercial areas in the small downtowns. The interstate enabled people to travel to more open roads and land in route to their planned destination in a faster means. Because of this transformational change, the erection of enclosed Malls forever changed shopping for Americans.
- Second, local demographics and personal lifestyles changes impacted the small town culture due to the preceding generation became educated thus looking for better jobs, better ways of life away from their place of origin. Small town populations diminished as college-educated young adults, left parents and the aging neighborhoods behind. It was during this time during the late 1960’s and 1970’s that suburbia exploded.
- Finally, local economies changed many small towns that had depended upon local industry or natural resources as their largest economic component and employer, begin to see the economies [steel, coal, textiles and or small manufacturing] shrink or these same industries relocated elsewhere where labor or capital was cheaper.
Contentment as ‘Boundary Markers’ During Change
Our Creator wants us to learn how to be content in all things and situations throughout our lifetime. In the Kingdom of God, the spiritual laws that govern the virtue of contentment produce peace, joy, and love. According to Scripture, each follower of Messiah is God’s workmanship, recreated by the Holy Spirit for good works that were prepared before by God that enable us to walk anew. [Ephesians 2:10]
The term workmanship means that those who abide in Messiah are promised by the Creator that everything that He purpose, will become possible by His will and power. It is thus a covenant agreement between our Creator and the follower of Messiah that will produce the fruits of the Spirit of God within the life of the believer. [Galatians 5:22-23]
One may say that the fruit of the Spirit are our boundary markers so that each of us may experience true personal contentment, joy, during our living through all types of transitional changes. Father, we thank you for your love and mercy that is applied to our accounts. While we may not have control of what is happening outside of our being, we can through the grace and promises of God, can have control of what is within us, contentment is a reality even during “Changing Times.”
Grace and Peace
Alonzo E. Thornton
Partners in ministry: http://www.thesourceoftruelife.com/