5 October – Major Mike Harris, Petersfield Salvation Army

It ain’t what it used to be!

It had been a long day, it was late and a reward was in order. I bought a well-known chocolate bar, containing nougat, caramel and peanuts. I knew that everything was getting smaller but was still shocked at the size.
I am sure you can come up with our own examples of things that ain’t what they used to be. I offer a couple but your thoughts will depend on your age and life experiences.

I spent my childhood in Cornwall. I have always loved the sea and spent much of the summers in the sea – but I was just swimming, there was nothing wild about it!

As a Salvation Army officer, I have lived in towns that I hadn’t previously known. Perhaps it’s a cliché to say that the High Street isn’t what it used to be but I can honestly say that in each of the last three places I lived, I knew where Woolworth’s used to be – not because of an old sign or characteristic of the building but it was something people still talked about, it was missed.

If I was off school, I had the option of three TV channels. BBC1 BBC2 or ITV. And even then, for parts of the day. BBC simply displayed the ‘Test Card’ so it wasn’t even three channels. Suffice to say, whilst we generally expect ‘it ain’t what it used to be’ to signal a decline, change can certainly herald improvements.

In a few weeks, I am returning to a previous appointment to conduct their anniversary weekend. It is an opportunity to look back, to mark and celebrate growth and new things and to look forward with hope and anticipation for what is to come.

It is often easy to focus on the negatives (like the shrinking chocolate bar) and overlook areas of positivity. Perhaps there is value in purposefully recognising positive changes; identifying and celebrating growth, improvement and potential in our lives.