Life is change. No two days are the same. Though we find and settle into patterns through routine and habits and circles drawn – doing much of our lives the same – life ages in days passing without our permission. The yard grows and needs attention; seasons fade into longer and shorter days; the kids mature and need direction and an ever-developing parental understanding; you, yourself age and need caring. The whole of life’s activity gives evidence to change blossoming all about, all without your permission. Life does what it does and what it will do and as much as we subscribe to the frail belief that we are in any sort of control, the more life is missed. And the more life misses an unchanging you.
My life now couldn’t be more different than my life five years ago. I understand this in several ways. As way of an example, just a couple of nights ago, stooped down beside one of our daughter’s bed, she reminded me so. Approaching the end of another school year – the countdown now in half day measures – she will soon leave behind another year lived: the good, bad and the ugliness of some difficult moments not able to quickly be recalled. As I hugged her and wished her a goodnight, excited with the soon-to-be change she whispered, “I’m pretty much done with elementary.” It’s a peculiar occurrence to be called back to the present, summoned from future days into life changing presently.
I pulled back from her, smiled and replied, “But not quite yet. Don’t be in such a hurry.”
Whether I agree or desire it, she is changing in the context of life now. As her dad, I want to hang onto her and us forever. That sentimentality, as sweet as it appears and romantic of a thought it is, lurks as a thief to the days present and ahead of us and a beggar pleading for days passing through our hands.
I crossed paths with a wise man recently that gave a fixative perspective to change in my life. That man is long gone, changed beyond these days, yet his words give indication of a life well lived. His words are such: “To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” Wise words, indeed. If I will live and not simply spectate, change must shift to a higher value. Change must be a current swam with, not a wave we get lost in.
Through our brief exchange of differing sentimentality, hers excitement for change, mine sadness due to the same change happening, life nudged me and reminded me to move with it. Movement is the activity of those alive. Open to the moment at hand and the next approaching. And this activity of living is one of learning – learning that I will never know all that I once thought I knew. This openness to learning and change in each passing day positions me for perfection where knowledge can mature beyond infant stages of just knowing about things and life into seeing and understanding. In the absence of my grasp for control, God can reveal the way to go and guide me through all circumstances, both great and small.
And I can fan adventure’s flame into blaze and whisper back to her, “Let’s go together.”
*(quote: John Henry Newman || image: "Changing Fate")