“If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.”Thomas Aquinas
Once upon a time a man and his wife made a habit of walking hand-in-hand every weekday morning. The two of them would park the car and then rather than taking a bus, spend twenty minutes walking the expanse of the traffic bridge over the river. It was idyllic, even with the rush of the morning commuters speeding along beside them, because it gave time to relax, to breathe and to connect. It was a moment that could so easily have been hurried and overlooked but instead it became a much anticipated daily routine. Two hearts and minds made space for each other, finding beauty in the pause before the demands of the day consumed the next eight hours.
The two (or maybe I should only speak for myself), wished for this to last forever. But things change. Nothing changes the world of a young couple quite like a tiny little baby.
I thought we could recapture those moments walking across the bridge. I thought we’d just add a pram to the picture. However, the idealized image of perfection didn’t quite match up with the reality. Caring for a newborn was hard. A baby that didn’t feed well, didn’t seem to want to sleep much and demanded me to make changes in my life that I wasn’t quite prepared for.
Those daily walks to work that I’d so treasured, had to be let go. New paths had to be forged and new routines created. Although precious moments were found in between the tears and exhaustion, there were times when I struggled to enjoy the moment. There was a part of me that longed for the freedom I’d experienced pre-motherhood.
But nothing lasts forever and the baby years passed. That little baby turned thirteen last month, and her two younger sisters are ten and seven. I am so grateful for how the story is unfolding, especially as once again I find myself in a place of change.
It isn’t always easy to adapt, to let go of perfection, learn on the run and embrace the new, but it is the way of growth. At times we need to allow ourselves the space to grieve what is no longer, or perhaps will never be. Then we can begin to find beauty in the story that is and look for the possibilities of what can be.
As Thomas Aquinas so wisely stated, “If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port”. But the ship was made to sail, to raise the anchor, to pull away from the safety of the shore and carry the traveler to far off places. It wasn’t made to sit pretty, but to face the storms and change course when required. When damage occurs, repairs and adjustments are needed. Sometimes it’s an overhaul or perhaps just a coat of paint. It is not in the preserving of perfection that one finds the magnificence, but in the many journeys the ship has taken. Its brilliance comes from the stories it can tell of many hardships endured and the strength to withstand.
Nothing lasts forever, change is inevitable.
Where can you find glimpses of joy in the struggle today, or what can you do to embrace the change?