Monday, July 29, 2013

The Moments that Change Us

We are all writing the story of our life. We want to know what it’s “about,” what are its themes and which theme is on the rise. We demand of it something deeper, or richer,  or more substantive. We want to know where we’re headed—not to spoil our own ending  by ruining the surprise, but we want to ensure that when the ending comes, it won’t  be shallow. We will have done something. We will not have squandered our time here.
Po Bronson

Life changes us. Most of the time we're bumping along in our everyday routine--a cycle of rest, work, laughter, most of it as predictable and reliable as we make it. But every once in a while, something happens, someone says something that resonates, we witness something unexpected and our lives change, not so much because the cycle of rest, work and laughter changes, but because our natures and our perspectives have changed. What used to make us laugh is no longer a laughing matter. What we thought we wanted has lost its glitter and pull. The relationship you once nurtured has turned sour. And you're left standing as on top of a hill, wondering east, west, north, south--where do I go from here?

The big life moments--weddings, births, deaths, graduations, transitions-- they change us, too, because they disrupt our patterns, for awhile. Maybe instead of waking alone, we wake to someone stealing our covers, or maybe we go from together to alone. But eventually, we settle back into familiar patterns--maybe even the same patterns our parents taught us and now, half a century later, we haven't abandoned, because getting up and going to work, whatever that work is, that's what we do. That's who we are--until we change. Maybe change sneaks up on us, drop by drop, until we realize we're to full and we can't take one more drop.

For years, we had a cat that slept on our bed. One painful day I realized that the cat was gone and wasn't ever coming back. For months I would often wake in the middle of the night expecting to find the cat at the end of the bed. Years later, I realized that I no longer woke expecting Millie to be there. Some things can't be pin pointed, scheduled or planned.

But some can. I remember visiting my son's impoverished friends in South America, feeling my own wealth and comfort slapping me alongside the head, realizing that compared to most of the world I lived in gross abundance. On that same trip, we traveled to an immense National Park. A large pack of llamas stood in a field, my son and I got out to meet them. We ended up running with them, like a part of the herd. A man in a car pulled over to the side of the road and yelled, What are you doing? Running with the llamas, my son said. It was an incredible, freeing moment.

Now years later, I still marvel that God has given me the health and the wealth to run with llamas if I chose. I still wonder why I have so much when so many have so little, but I have since decided it's not my place to question my blessings. My job is to make the most out of my own story and so that when it's my time to retell it I can say, let me tell you about my work and laughter. I made a difference.


  1. This is lovely and I love your new layout. (Maybe it's not new. Maybe I'm just dipping my toe back into the world of blogging and so it's new to me).

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