Her car is packed to the roof-boxes, bags, endless shoes and every comfort a young woman needs to navigate college life in style. Weeks of shopping and preparations culminate to this very moment bursting with adventure and change.
She is the last, her way paved by two older brothers who thunderously charged into their future. Hers is the road of quiet reflection and measured action, my “one liner” child with an unexpected humor that explodes laughter with every spontaneous delivery.
She doesn’t fit the world’s cookie cutter mold, and her path has not been an easy one. Accepting pieces of life she could not change and plowing through obstacles relentless to bear claim on a young woman’s heart in search of her own significance.
The depth of her inner beauty penetrates my soul beyond her ability to comprehend, and I am awed through the gift offered up by the sculpting hand of change…with all its imperfect and rustic edges.
True beauty is grown in the imperfect and rustic edges of change. And these edges paint lingering brush strokes across my heart of how different tomorrow will look.
Rummaging through childhood belongings which tether our hearts, I find it. A tiny manila colored hand print. My fingers trace the outline and indentations imprinted within the aged clay, and the memories surface beyond the edges.
Her wondrously distracted heart doesn’t grasp all that is changing. How this heart longs to stubbornly cling to all that is familiar and predictable and controllable. How the slide show of memories floods this mind as each breath of air is squeezed by boxes filled with inevitable change. How this mama’s soul longs to keep shaping and molding and nurturing.
In her moment of breathless adventure, I am thrust into my own…because change is not a solitary dweller. It moves constant through the connectedness of our lives and never leaves us the same.
It trickles and flows, separating the familiar and disrupting the predictable. Its force releases human control with each wave of the unknown. It too shapes and molds and nurtures apart from our will to still its ever-flowing force.
And we are left to choose…how we will respond.
Will we dig our heels into the shifting sand and resist the inevitable? Or will we trust in the unpredictable and the unfamiliar with hands open and a heart eager to receive?
Can we allow space for what we cannot control? Do we dare believe in the gift of change, even when our ability to see the path is muddled by our lack of understanding?
Wading into change is simply giving permission to be renewed. I haven’t always known this. And I am thankful that life continues to teach even what we think we cannot learn.
Her smile spreads wide, full of anticipation. She is already responding to her unknown, and a spray of calm assurance washes over mine. There is no going back, only sweet remembering, and our stepping forward into change is a rebirth, a welcoming of tomorrow.
I want her to be happy and comfortable swimming in the refreshing waters of uncertainty. I want the salty, purifying spray to splash her and surprise her with wonder. I want change to smooth her rough edges and erode preconceived ideas of her “perfect” life.
An imperfect life reflects a heart willing to change. If she can yield to change, then she will grow. She will grow beyond her own abilities and experience more than she thought possible in one life. And when the eyes of her understanding are opened, she will see that life is a gift that becomes more precious because of change.
We take her hand, her father and I, just as we have done so many times. The lines and edges haven’t changed from that tiny clay imprint; they’ve just grown deeper and more pronounced through the years. Her hand still fits softly within our own. We join hands with the gentle, yielding spirit of our “one liner” child…and we pray.
We pray for this adventure to captivate her and to change her. We pray for her heart to be open to experiencing life beyond her own limits. For compassion and a servant heart to lead her when the world would tell her to be tough and hard. We invite the imperfect and the unpredictable…and we release control to the unknown gift awaiting each of us.
After all this, she squeezes our hands tightly, as if to reassure the ones who have held her heart tenderly since she took her first breath. I then realize that perhaps she does grasp all that is changing…
and without a word, we each exhale, hug and agree to embrace this one simple truth: Change is good!
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