Earlier this week I found a brown smear on the white duvet covering our bed. That smear could be one of two things: poop or chocolate.
Had someone told me this is what my life would look like 5 years ago, I would have laughed right in her face. Change is funny – some changes are instantaneous while others evolve slowly over time.
Life changed when I moved countries (twice). It changed when I got married. It changed when I moved houses (seven times in 11 years), when I switched jobs. Life changed the moment Frederick was born. It changed the moment Edith was born. It changed in each of those moments, but not fully and completely in an instant.
Life with a baby is very different than life with a toddler and those changes happen so gradually. I’m not sure how I found myself looking at a brown smear wondering what the substance was. What surprises me more than the smear was my unfazed reaction at its presence regardless of what it was.
Don Draper once said, “Change is neither good nor bad. It just is.” (props to Mad Men for so many quotable lines)
While I agree with this in theory, change itself can be good or bad, depending on the circumstances and our reaction to it. With the exception of tragic or traumatic events, change in our lives is neutral most of the time; it just happens because life isn’t static. Seasons and aging speak to this more clearly than anything else. Nine months with two growing kids puts this in sharp perspective!
I recently read Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. He writes, “The story of aging is the story of our parts.”
The story of aging is the story of our parts. It’s the story of the parts of our lives that change slowly and instantaneously.
The long and drawn out days when time seems extended.
The minutes that tick by so slowly when you’re anticipating someone’s arrival.
The winter days that seem never-ending until one day you wake up and it’s summer.
The hundreds of diaper changes that seem eternal and then it’s suddenly over and done.
The endless hours spent working on a project or assignment that come crashing to a halt when it’s finished.
The moments in time when everything stops and you know it will never be the same again.
The day you pack everything into a car and lock the door of a house to which you’ll never return.
The final hug you give a friend when your time in school ends and you both begin to walk down diverging paths.
The minute you say “I do” to your best friend and know beyond a shadow of doubt it’s love for better or worse, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer.
The second you see your baby’s face for the first time and hold him. Time literally seems to stop and suddenly everything in your world changes.
The past few Tuesdays Josh and I have been going to preschool open houses. Visiting schools and filling out paperwork makes the coming change so real. This fall life will change once again.
Sometimes I wish I could pause time all together. Other times I want to fast forward it. Either way, it’s impossible to avoid change because no matter how hard I try to slow it down or speed it up time never quite does what I want it to.
Don Draper was almost right when he said “change is neither good nor bad, it just is.” Change isn’t neutral, but the passing of time is. Time is neither good nor bad, it just is. And our lives are what we do with the time we have. It brings change regardless of our efforts to keep things the same, brown smears on white duvets and all.
The only constant in all the change is God, our Father, and that’s pretty amazing. He’s our rock, our hiding place, our tower, our shield to whom we can always go to when everything seems to be changing and time can’t move fast enough or is going too fast.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. ”