You may want to start by first sitting under the loving gaze of God, eyes closed and allowing His love to flow over you.
Take a moment to sit and look at the picture of the door overleaf.
What do you notice? What do you see?
Allow yourself to enter into the picture using all your senses and see what emerges for you.
Do you see an old door needing a coat of paint or do you see something beautiful, full of character with a story to tell?
How has change affected the door?
How has change affected you?
What does God want to show you through this picture?
Allow His presence to wash over you.
Spend some time talking with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Harriet Calfo is an artist at heart and loves capturing God’s creativity through photography, art, textiles and poetry. She loves anything turquoise, especially the sea. She is a Spiritual Director and runs art retreats where she loves to see people discover and flourish in their God-given gift of creativity that she believes everyone has. Her mantra is, ‘it’s not about the product, it’s about the process.’ She is on a life journey of learning to be her trueself through God’s tender care. Her other passion is to see modern day slavery eradicated and loves being an ambassador for the amazing charity Unseen. She is blessed to live in the beautiful and inspiring Cotswolds with her family and dog. IG: @harrietcalfodesigns
A year ago my kids were 8 and 10. My son’s first love was baseball and my daughter was a few inches shorter. A year ago I had not yet published any of my writings, and social distancing was not in my vocabulary. A year ago I still had my granda Haller. A year ago I had no idea I would leave my 11 year place of employment.
A lot happens in the span of a year. If I multiply this truth by the number of years I have been living, I come up with a mountain of adjustments, trials, and growth experienced. Indeed, my life and this world have changed greatly over the last 38 years.
The last few months have brought a good amount of change in and of themselves. Unexpectedly, I had the opportunity to join a faith- based private practice. I have been a therapist for 14 years, but only in the realm of community mental health. This employment change has brought about a mix of excitement along with every other emotion imaginable!
It was probably my way of coping with this chosen change, but suddenly it seemed as though I needed “new” in other aspects of my life. I bought a new bag, new make-up, new shoes, and some other new clothes. (Let’s just say my husband is thankful I’m a bargain shopper.) Although I frequently color my hair, I had my stylist throw in some fun, bright red highlights. I started painting my nails. I even abandoned my regular grocery in favor of a different store.
I can see how it looks- a little like a mid-life crisis! Perhaps. It also makes me wonder what changes will occur over the next twelve months.
A year from now I’ll have been actively speaking about my faith during counseling sessions. A year from now I’ll have had one year of experience parenting a middle schooler. A year from now my perspectives and opinions may be different than they are right now. I pray that a year from now I will have more wisdom as well as more knowledge and love for my Savior. The truth is, only God knows what changes are in store for the year ahead. Nonetheless, it’s impossible for me to think about change without thinking about the unchanging nature of God. It’s such a comfort to my soul to know that no matter what changes I endure in this life, God is consistently who He is. No exceptions. He doesn’t need to shift and grow because He is within His eternal nature perfectly holy, perfectly just, and perfectly love. He is ‘I AM.’
I love that God first revealed His name to a shepherd guilty of murder-to a man who had re-built his life by herding sheep in the desert. If anyone had experienced change in his life, it was Moses. As a baby he was removed from his familiar surroundings for the sake of surviving Pharaoh’s cruel death edict. He grew up in Pharaoh’s palace after becoming the adopted son of the princess. However, his heritage as a Hebrew man was never far from his mind. Upon witnessing an Egyptian guard mistreating a Hebrew slave, Moses’ anger led him to kill the man. When Moses discovered his murder had been witnessed, he ran. Palace life to shepherd life.
In the hot, dry desert God met Moses and through a shrub of all things! An ordinary desert bush used by the God of the universe to grab the attention and heart
of the man who would set His enslaved people free. The blazing yet unconsumed bush beckoned Moses to investigate. Then he was instructed to remove his sandals, for he was standing on holy ground. Who but God could have written this scene? When God told Moses to go to Pharaoh and command him to let His people go, Moses asked, “Who should I say sent me?” God replied, “I Am Who I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you,” (Exodus 3:14).
What a comfort it is to know that the God we love and the God who loves us is immutable! He is perfectly consistent within Himself and is incapable of changing. Who He is today is the same from all of eternity. This also applies to God the Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ; “he is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being” (Hebrews 1:3). The author of Hebrews says again in chapter 13 verse 8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
This truth is a constant source of comfort in our ever-changing lives. The externals come and go: hairstyles, clothes, shoes, and bags. Jobs and relationships may change. Opinions and perspectives can shift. But the triune God and His Word are forever the same. Praise God that in the midst of change we can rest in His unchanging goodness, faithfulness, and love.
Nicole is a licensed marriage and family therapist with 14 years of experience in community mental health. She is the author of Remade: Living Free, a book written for women in recovery from substance abuse and unhealthy relationships. Nicole also maintains a blog at nicolebyrum.com as well as a podcast, 5 Minute Word. Both focus on topics related to faith, relationships, and recovery. She lives in Northwest Ohio with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, running, or cooking. You can also find her at Nicolebyrum.com
Life sometimes comes in huge crashing waves: circumstances and burdens that ebb and flow, pounding at our hearts, eroding our strength, our joy, and even our confidence in the Lord.
I am reminded of a weekend some time ago. It was common to have a full schedule for both the Saturday and the Sunday. That particular weekend, though, seemed to have detour after detour written in all the margins and between every line.
Stay the course
On Saturday, I awoke completely overwhelmed. I felt the full weight of burdens I had been carrying for some time; family illnesses, a friend’s unanswered prayer, chronic pain, ministry weight, the regular demands of life. The whole morning, I moved ever so slowly and delayed leaving for an all-day conference. It was an event I had been excited to attend for months.
I missed the first two sessions.
Instead?! I ironed a new blouse to discover it had a stain, repeated the same scenario with another blouse, and even mended a jacket; all of which I didn’t wear, by the way. Then, when I finally left the house, I set my GPS and continued on my way, still uncertain if I would attend. On route, my spirit felt especially heavy. So much so that I pulled into a parking lot and began to weep. I did this a few times that morning. I even began to avoid the conference by running errands. “I’ll just jot into the corner store for a sec to grab a pack of breath mints.”
Every part of me was yelling, “No, I don’t want to go like this”. I was a crying, weepy mess. Thankfully, in my spirit, I recognized I needed to be there; I needed a recalibration. My inner GPS was screaming out, “recalculating”, “recalculating”, “continue to the route”. – Okay, I now realize that the GPS was literally saying these words. With all the stops and detours it is a wonder it didn’t yell, “Just get to where you’re going already!”
I’m grateful that I eventually continued on to my destination. I was able to spend time with friends that I rarely see. It was relaxing and fun, and I received much needed, valuable advice.
Our spirit will always know what is good for us. Sometimes, I need to self-check, “Is my spirit in line with His Holy Spirit right now?”
He is the compass
What is the point of having a compass if we don’t use it to guide our comings and our goings? Why keep my GPS running when I was going everywhere but where it was directing me to go?
We pray, “Thy will be done”. We sing, “Holy Spirit you are welcome here”. We recite Luke 11:10, “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” It continues in verse 13, that He gives the Holy Spirit to us who ask. Yet, when He does, are we willing to accept what is revealed? Maybe, instead, we continue to carry silent burdens. Do we keep pausing and detouring from our purpose?
Is it that we ask, seek, and pound on the door of heaven, while in fear of the answer, of what we will see, or what opportunity He is inviting us into?
We can be sure of one thing; whatever His will, whatever His way, it is good.
It’s okay to start over
The next day, Sunday, I had a coffee meeting scheduled with a ministry partner who is also a close friend. Somehow, we got to talking about an old dream that I had, a personal and meaningful project I had yet to begin. She asked, “What are you afraid of?”
Many would say I am a perfectionist; I put the weight of a job well done into how perfectly matched the end product appears in my mind. Being a perfectionist can also mean that you need to know all the steps, and have this and this and this, in order to proceed. Yes, being analytical has many benefits. However, much time is often spent over-thinking and overdoing — sometimes meaning delay or even failure to begin. This can leave others with the short end of the stick. It can also mean missed opportunities. So, I answered her question — “I fear failure.”
She replied, “If it doesn’t work out, just start over.” This may sound silly, but it was almost like those three simple words, in that order, were a new revelation to me:
Just. Start. Over.
You see, failure, for me, meant shame and the constant rehearsing, “If only I had done this”. “I should have done that”. Her tone clearly said — “There is no shame in starting over”. Confiding in my friend allowed me to see from her perspective. It encouraged me that I could embrace the imperfections and allow God the room to do the work.
Delayed dream? Failed business? Broken relationship? Feeling ‘stuck’? Avoiding change? Remember my screaming GPS from earlier, “Proceed to the route!” “Recalibrate!” “Get going to where you’re going!”
If you are able to stay the course, know that there is no shame in starting over — allow the experience gained to propel you. Just start over and watch God do the work. Rely on His help. He promises that if we fall, He will guide us with His light and we will rise again.
“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me… Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” Micah 7:7-8 (NIV)
While my friend continued to encourage me, she added these two words — “Press on”. Press on indicates something has already begun. I began thinking, “What are you waiting for? You should have already begun this project … like yesterday”.
We often hear the scripture recited from Philippians 3, “Press on toward the mark…” When I got home that night, I studied it deeper.
Philippians 3:12-21 outlines five points that help propel us through whatever changes we face in life, this side of eternity. I pray these words encourage you and offer a means of focus for your tired mind and weary soul:
• Look forward and take joy in the progress.
• Follow an example and live as an example.
• Lift your chin; You are a citizen of heaven.
• Work now, as you eagerly await His return.
• He will bring everything under His control.
“I press on … I have not achieved perfection but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us… we must hold on to the progress we have already made. Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction… they think only about this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.” Philippians 3:12-21 NLT
Stay the course, start over if you must, and press on! For the King and His Kingdom!
Krista Hewlett is a writer, speaker, and former Regional Women’s Ministries Director in the Greater North Houston Area. She moves and empowers women through transparent stories and valuable insights. Through the word, Krista unmasks the darkness by revealing the light and truth of what God is saying to the women of this time. Her desire is that their gifts and voices would be amplified for His purpose, for kingdom impact – as daughters of the king. Krista holds an Honors Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and with 15 years of ministering to women across various platforms, you will often hear her say that ministry thrives through nurturing one-on-one relationships. She loves to hear your story and says mentoring young women is one of her greatest joys. Krista and her husband are Canadian-Americans who enjoy the country life in Texas, and spending time with their Son and Daughter-in-law, and newborn Grandson. She enjoys sailing, frequent trips to the UK, and visiting family in Canada. For more thoughts and encouragement, visit: kristahewlett.com IG: @kristahewlett FB: @krista.hewlett.1
I have always loved rocks. Smooth, beautiful, colorful stones or big broken open geodes with crystals formed inside. As a kid, I would dig through the bins at the souvenir shop for as long as my parents would allow. I would fill my little cinch bag as full as I could with as many colors as I could find. The sense of rubbing my fingertips over the polished surface was soothing, unlike the natural texture of life.
I loved them so much, I asked for a rock tumbler to make my very own. I thought you could go from rugged to gemstone in no time at all. I was wrong. In a child’s mind, it took forever. As an adult, it takes 4-8 weeks, changing the abrasive grit to fine polish eventually. It felt like an eternity to allow the proper change to happen.
The grit of character development feels harsh
I imagine we have all felt rough around the edges a time or two. Thrown into the tumbler with life grinding away at us. The grit of character development feels harsh. The pressure to look like you have everything under control is almost unbearable and the progress we want to see isn’t anywhere in sight. But if we could take a moment to remember: We all go through the same process and we are all leading others by the changes we allow God to make daily and the forgiveness and grace we accept.
The allowance of this change in our human nature feeds the goodness God has instilled inside each of us. Counter that, if we don’t allow Him to change us, we encourage what is evil. He gave us the ability to choose. I wish I could say that goodness is always easiest. With family, work, friendships, and our own dreams, life can be a hard balance. Some people push us to be better. Some bring out our worst.
God knows each rigid edge and every rough point of view. He knows every jagged lie you believe and every pit of anger you fall in. He knows every veiled perspective and the harm each holds against you and the damage it causes others in the process. Our actions can show love or cut like a sharp sword. Words, being the sharpest of all, pierce our thoughts and linger for what seems without end. And unjust words, crushing, tumble like a boulder.
Change is always difficult
Until God gives us the mirror to see His work in action, change is always going to be difficult.
I went to a park recently that had a shallow creek. My kids jumped straight in and started skipping rocks across the water. As I watched them sort through and select the perfect rocks to skip, I thought about the amount of water and tumbling it took to get those stones to the shape they were. I imagined God sorting through His people, looking for just the right one to use for His purposes, some begging to be chosen, some hiding in the muck. It was then I realized, that the water changed the shape of those stones and freed the one who is stuck, just like His Spirit frees and changes us.
A rock has no choice but to separate from its weakest edges, but we do.
I imagine Jesus bending down, His eyes on the brokenhearted. When He reaches out, I hear one cry out, “I’m no good. Choose someone else.” But His response is always perfect. “You are mine and you are beloved. Treasured.” As He lays His hand upon us, we become perfected for His purpose through His power and are able to let go of the fragmented thoughts and iniquities because He has prepared us and spoken over us. Lifted up, we see our reflection below. Not as we see ourselves, but as He has made us in His image.
Perfection is relative and our time is His river that delivers us in the end, raw and broken – or polished and beautiful, overflowing with His peace. How many times have we been tossed about? How long did we remain stuck? Will we recognize the changes we have made or the rough places we refuse to acknowledge? What am I sacrificing for my pride?
Questions to consider
While we tumble through life and feel like we are being thrown against what only wants to swallow us, a place where our fears lie and wait for our return, question yourself.
Has my character been changed enough in Him?
Has my attitude been adjusted toward others?
Has my mouth been tamed?
Whether we sink again or keep our head above the water depends on the reflection we choose to view. The Spirit of God within you reveals everything He has made good.
“Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
When He launches you into His work, remember where you began and recognize what has been made new. The best part…
You are always chosen.
Brooke Giles is a military spouse and work-at-home mom currently living in the suburbs right outside Atlanta, GA, with her husband and two children. She is passionate about living creatively through writing and encouraging others to do the same. Even though she is not a photographer, she loves to pretend and you will often find her making her children recreate silly moments or taking photos that tell a story. She appreciates charming scenery that inspires her and, of course, where she can do all her over-thinking and coffee sipping. She currently writes children’s books and Christian fiction/ non-fiction in hope to publish one day. IG: @holdingontogood and Holdingontogood.com.
Abrasive grit to fine polish is one of the articles from the change issue of iola. Buy your copy here for more articles, creative prompts, and beautiful photography.
“The aches of our most heartbreaking changes can be the catapult to our greatest epiphanies and relationships”.Changes can be the catapult – Katherine Smith in iola the change issue
Lying on the living room couch with my eyes closed, the once-forgotten sound of passing trucks teases traces of distant memories to the front of my mind. Thoughts of Saturday morning toast with fried eggs and honeycomb cereal start flowing. Has it been fifteen years since I last stayed the night here? Somehow, the sounds and smells make it feel like childhood was yesterday. My sister and I would pull out the box of toys and somehow, the noisemakers we loved so dearly would disappear as we played “I Spy” in this very room.
Differences stand out the most
While some things are the same, the differences stand out to me the most. There is now one recliner where there had been two. One bedroom has been unoccupied for six years. The piano looks as though it hasn’t made music in at least that long. The kitchen has new carpet, but the tablecloth with matching placemats is still around, tucked away in the hall’s linen closet.
Walking back into the hall, I step into the room I occasionally slept in as a child. The scent reminds me of the nights my older sister and I would share the room. We’d argue over who got to sleep where on the bunk bed and were always wanting to get up long before we were supposed to. Deciding the clock was wrong, we’d sneak out to the kitchen to look at the clock in the corner over the cabinets. We must have been right once that our time was wrong, and we never trusted the clock again, causing us to get fussed at “go back to bed” by a voice I hear only in echoes as I recall those days.
Despite everything that has changed
The echoes grow louder as I carefully tread down the stairs. Despite everything that has changed, the calendar in his study stays the same, like a plaque commemorating the month and year the change occurred. The pile of Bibles with notes scrawled within them has a dust layer that grows thicker as time passes. A timepiece lies there, reminding us we ran out of time. It feels irreverent to move them; they’re a memorial to every-day holiness.
Sometimes, you learn more about a person after they pass than you did before. The minuscule becomes essential as you realize people and relationships are more complex than you thought. Those wrinkled hands I knew as a child were once strong as they farmed the ground. They were steady as they gripped the steering wheel while transporting coal, gentle yet firm as they raised children and grandchildren, and delicate as they turned the pages of a Bible.
I looked at him once and exclaimed, “You’re old!” not recognizing then that the lines on his face carried not only his age but also his wisdom. I prayed one day I’d find someone just like him. Someone with an ornery glimmer in his eye who could rework a tractor so the front was the back and leave a legacy of devotion to his Savior that makes others want that, too.
Changes can be the catapult
Some change is uncomfortable; it is bittersweet. It can leave you wishing you could go back in time and play the piano once more for individual ears to hear and enjoy. Turn another somersault across the living room floor while you can and see the joy on a face you now see only in pictures and memories.
“The aches of our most heartbreaking changes can be the catapult to our greatest epiphanies and relationships.”
Physical things will pass away, but may we always remember that truth will not. “Hope = divine certainty” – words written in his Bible and spoken at his funeral. I learned I couldn’t know how many people he influenced and changed during his life. He changed my life. I mark the words in my Bible and build my outlook on them. The aches of our most heartbreaking changes can be the catapult to our greatest epiphanies and relationships. The best is yet to come.
Katherine Nadene is an old soul contained in a small body. She started writing after she realized her calling to encourage others who are also chronically ill and found healing herself through the words she writes. Her heart lives in the mountains, but her body lives in a small town in Pennsylvania with her husband, her twelve-year-old puppy, and never enough books. A worship leader and youth worker at one church and the administrative assistant at another, she enjoys writing, reading, and knitting in her spare time. www.purelyhoping.com IG @purely_hoping
“Heartbreaking changes can be the catapult” is just one from iola the change issue. Get your copy here.
The circumstances of her life she could not change, but she took them to the Lord, and handed them over into His management…and the result was that although the circumstances remained unchanged, her soul was kept in perfect peace in the midst of them. Mrs. H. W. S. pub.1875
She changed her life insurance policy and her address when she changed her name. She changed diapers, bed sheets, and TV channels. She changed the color of polish on her toes as often as the seasons changed — Just for a change of pace. And every year she looked for a change for the better.
She changed her mind and exchanged the blue party dress. She changed socks, clocks (spring forward/fall back), locks on the bathroom door. The size of her family changed, but she kept her rituals. She changed towels, oil in her car, the furnace filter. She raised couch cushions, to find small change — she always needed small change. But the circumstances of her life she couldn’t change, so she took them to the Lord.
Her heart never changed, but her prayers changed when her husband’s heart had trouble. The surgery made a lasting change. A good change. It changed his life. He exchanged the leaky valve. His heart ticks with unchangeable rhythm. She wouldn’t change a thing.
They both changed doctors, but never bothered to change the dentist. She changed jobs, and parishes, and the title of her book. On Epiphany, to honor the Wise Men, she returned home by a different route — It was a nice change of scenery.
Her weight changed, her height changed. Her bedtime changed. Did her memory change? She seemed to have changed places with her mother. And she was tired of changes unfolding from her body. She experienced the change. And changed the subject. (But always remembered to bring a change of clothes.)
Wedding bells rang. She saw children grow and change. The old crib welcomed grandbaby guests — more diapers to change. Some things never change. Her daughter gave her a makeover-changeover for a 50th reunion. Yet her classmates exclaimed, You haven’t changed a bit! That was not true. Her hair color shifted to grey and more than once she changed her attitude.
2020 — The Decade Changed.
In March, the weather and the world changed. It was unexpected. It wasn’t a nice change or a welcome change, or even the proper time for a change. In the exchange of air and the shake of hands, was an unseen change. A changeup pitch coming right at us.
Her days changed and didn’t seem to change at all. She walked after breakfast and after supper — the path unchanged. She still changed sheets, towels, passwords. As if that could change reality. She ordered groceries and carefully changed the roll of paper. Scarves changed to masks. Grandson’s voice began to change.
Some habits had to change. And they were hard to change. Grandchildren couldn’t or wouldn’t come to visit. Facetime replaced hugs and infant snuggles. Such a terrible change. Easter came and left, so did an empty Mother’s Day, and the months of summer. June, July, August. No change. Not with the heat. The virus didn’t change.
But she was not alone. A collective we began to change. She sang again like she did in the sixties. For the times they are a-changin;… Although the virus didn’t change, we changed. And became a force for change.
She remains in hope, but lives with questions — When autumn comes and the trees change colors, what else will change? And if the circumstances remain unchanged, will we have peace in the midst of them? Will we remember to bring the circumstances of our lives to the Lord? For — this — changes — everything.
Linda Styles Berkery grew up in the family funeral home in upstate NY. Linda loves to practice contemplative photography as part of her prayer. Her writings on faith/life have been published in various magazines, and blogs. Her faith memoir, Reflections: A Wardrobe of Life Lessons, was well received in 2019. She has been married to Jack for over fifty years. Linda loves dark chocolate, makes cinnamon bread when it snows, and still mails handwritten letters to family and friends. Reach Linda on Facebook at Reflections: A Wardrobe of Life Lessons or email Lindastylesberkery@nycap.rr.com.
This article is from the change issue of iola. You can get your own high-quality bookazine for a moment of peace here.
When I moved to Minnesota in 2010, I was not sure what to expect. I decided to move on a whim when I found a job in my field of Spanish Immersion education. Discovering new places has always been fascinating to me; at that time, I had already lived in four states and three countries, so moving to a new city was embraced with optimism and a high level of adventure.
Months later, after a gorgeous colorful fall, the orangey pumpkin and delicious apple season was over. Brutal winter told me that my love for Minnesota was also over. For this Chilean girl, the first snowstorm was beautiful, but the constant 10°F/-12°C temperatures were not welcome. I keep telling myself that I was not born to live in this weather. I kept asking God to take me away from here.
During that long, unpleasant winter, I concentrated my energy and time on my students’ learning and my professional growth as a language teacher. Through his Word, my connection with God became deeper as I realized that I needed him more than ever to adapt to this inhumane weather. Eventually, I learned to have the confidence to drive in the snow and recognize black ice; this second one, I am still pretending to know how to do.
As icicles and snow started to melt, spring began to give me hope. Days started to get more light, and five o’clock was not dark anymore. The sun was shining again and bringing with him colorful flowers telling me that everything was going to be ok. People started to be friendly again, and we all welcomed the chance to be outside enjoying nature once more.
Summer taught me not to take things for granted, and to enjoy God’s creation to the maximum by enjoying lake season and the delicious seasonal products. I also discovered beautiful hiking trails and cascades around the state. The back of my mind reminded me that brutal winter would come back again, and I would need good memories of better days to keep me going.
Learning to embrace change in our lives is not an easy task. However, I have learned to face it graciously, knowing that spring will eventually show up. It gives me joy to know that “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1) I know my Father is with me through every season, through every change in my life.
Just in case you wonder, eleven years later, I still call Minneapolis, Minnesota, my home. Winter still does make me think of moving. Only now each time around, I have enough memories of spring, summer, and fall to remind me that better days will come. I have to keep pressing on.
Daniela was born and raised in Chile, studied in the United States, and considers herself a global citizen. An avid traveller who has visited fascinating people and places in 32 countries, she writes about them for diverse travel publications and blogs. She enjoys reading and shares her passion for travelling and books with her fourth-grade Spanish immersion class and with Instagram at @danielatravels. Her home is by the gorgeous Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can discover more about her latest projects and travels at www.danielatravels.com or www.exploramag.com, where she writes for Spanish speaking kids.
This article is just one from the collection in iola the change issue. The beautiful print bookazine is soul food for your moment of peace. Get your issue here.
With ribbon thread through cut swallowtail flags from a nine year olds’ t -shirts, (kept for his brother), and small jumpers from his newborn days (kept for nostalgia) – I made bunting. I hung this around the conservatory window-walls where we held his family birthday party instead of the garden because; English summer. Some things never change in life, the English weather is not one of them.
Surely it was only a few days ago he wore those jumpers for a couple of weeks, before his body left them behind as no longer enough. I have been running to catch up with him ever since. I didn’t want to hear it when he was younger, inwardly eye-rolling as the wiser mothers comment “they don’t stay small for long” when exhausted from labour cries of “how long?” and sleepless nights praying “when will?”. Now my pride hates to admit it was true.
I treasured the opportunity to throw perhaps one last party for him and created themed activities and games around what the age of eighteen means he can do. We all celebrated him with temporary tattoos, pirate name changes – voting for our favourites and blood red jelly in syringes (because at 18 you can give blood). The mix of childhood fun and marking of time, mirroring the dichotomy I felt at this time.
Pain in change
I muse over the change in life with a melancholy pain. Why do we wistfully remember and wish for days gone by? They weren’t particularly the “good old days”, or didn’t seem so at the time, as I look back do I reframe it with a rosy filter? What is it that I miss? What is it that I long for?
I miss those chubby hands in mine, the same ones throwing bread to the ducks, then patiently building lego space ships, writing handcrafted cards then essays. My eyes no longer roll but well. I miss the purpose found in him needing me and now I ache with a job somewhat finished. An ache that is both a satisfaction and a yearning.
Change and gratitude
Growth and change provide a gentle release from providing support. Fresh freedom and a strength in us both that only comes through the passage of growth. Life’s challenge to us: move through change, keep up, let the waves of change move, yet support our head, like a buoy bobbing above depth that threatens to pull us to the inertia of the sea bed. I pause a memory of hands holding scooter bars as his text message chimes in, and hold both our past and our present in gratitude.