Copyright Ó 1999 Rusty Wright
THE TIMES, THEY ARE A CHANGIN'
By Rusty Wright
It's not too soon to ask this question: Where will you be on New Year's Eve 1999?
At a party? Asleep? In an airplane? Watching TV as Dick Clark rings in the New Year?
Or perhaps you'll be glued to your television or radio all day as news reports from Asia and the South Pacific give hints of Y2K's early effects on those first to experience the year 2000.
Y2K -- and the changes it may cause -- has consumed oceans of ink and hours of talk. By now, nearly everyone knows that a glitch in how computers read dates may cause havoc when the century turns. Uncorrected computers and computer chips may interpret the new year as 1900, possibly confusing everything from stoplights and ATMs to air traffic control and Russian nuclear missiles.
How will all this affect us? Nobody really knows. Predictions range from minor inconvenience to major catastrophe. Those convinced that chaos is imminent prepare for severe threats. Some have sold their homes, liquidated investments, bought gold, moved away from large cities and stashed food, water, fuel and generators.
Y2K moderates aren't always sure what to think. They want to believe order will reign but they still keep a wary eye on the news. They have begun storing extra canned goods and water. During December, they may make frequent trips to the ATM and keep the gas tank full. In the back of their minds, they sure hope those Russian nukes don't fire by mistake.
Then there are the folks who are, shall we say, "minimally prepared." Some just wish all the Y2K talk would go away. Rather than worrying about computer chips, they're fretting about having plenty of potato chips for the holiday. They may even call around after Christmas to find out which convenience stores plan to be open on New Year's Day. A big concern is whether they'll be able to tune in their favorite bowl games.
Whatever happens on January 1, the Y2K issue has caused many people to think through how they deal with life. Like any change or potential change, uncertainty can have significant impact.
Major life changes -- from marital strife to workplace conflict, from moving to illness to the empty nest -- can produce severe stress. We all need a certain amount of stability, familiar surroundings and predictability to manage life successfully. What's the solution?
Once a New York City taxi driver and I were discussing a then-current international crisis. "What is the answer?" I asked the talkative man as he drove me through Manhattan's crowded streets. "Gosh, I don't know," he responded. "Both sides are at each other's throats. Seems like nothing works."
"Well," I ventured, "when you think about a solution..."
"That's it!" interrupted the cabby.
"What?" I asked, surprised.
"That's the answer: a solution! That's what we need. Why if we had a solution, that would take care of the entire problem. Yessir, a solution is just what we need! We've got to find a solution."
I found it hard to disagree.
How can people find stability when life around them swirls out of control? Some seek an orderly, disciplined life to thwart the effects of poor planning. Good counseling and close friendships can help one cope with life changes. "Those who take advice are wise," says one biblical proverb; "The advice of the wise is like a life-giving fountain."
Spiritual faith is another important coping aid. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung maintained that among his patients over age 35, lack of a solid spiritual base made coping with personal problems difficult. "Side by side with the decline of religious life," he wrote, "the neuroses grow noticeably more... frequent."
Many feel that faith in God can help them navigate uncertain times. In the aftermath of the Columbine High School shootings, spiritual interest seemed to soar. Media reports still highlight the faith of several victims.
When one's world seems bewildering, they can look to God who said, "I will never fail you. I will never forsake you." As Y2K approaches, could that be a lesson to live by?
Rusty Wright is an author and university lecturer who has spoken on six continents. Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091; firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our website at www.amyfound.org.
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