when I woke up the first morning as Mrs. Hylden, the morning after our wedding, I came to a discouraging realization: I am still the same person I was yesterday.
I had this strange, unexpressed expectation that when I got married, I’d change–overnight. I’d become a grownup and I’d brim with that patience and generosity and perspective that I’d always struggled to cultivate.
The morning of May 30th, I got up with an extra band of gold on my finger, a new name and a new commitment, but I didn’t really feel any different, and I surely was not magically oozing fruits of the Spirit.
Yesterday, I tried making gluten-free gnocchi for the first time. Longer than forming the dough, rolling and cutting the individual gnocchi(s?), was the shopping–three grocery stores later, I only had to make one (not super effective) substitution. As I was chasing down new ingredients and throwing myself into the deep end of gluten-free substitutions (having mastered gluten-ed substitutions awhile ago), I fought my frustration at the glacial pace and inefficiency of the whole process. Scouring shelves, rereading recipes and searching google on my phone to find “substitutions for sweet white rice flour,” made me realize the same thing I’d learned when I woke up May 30th, 2011: Life takes time.
Earlier this year, a dear colleague from the cathedral took a new job; at a party, a parishioner asked her about the new work. Reflecting on the joys and challenges of inhabiting a position with both promise and little preconceived shape, she said of change, “It keeps you honest.” Rather than being lulled into complacency by certainty and repetition, changing circumstances encourage us to grow in uncomfortable but transforming ways. We never wake up one morning having arrived, we (or at least I) rarely complete our to-do lists in one day, and no one–ourselves or others–change as quickly as we hope they would. Life takes time.
Time to adjust to a new lifestyle–job, diet, exercise regimen, environment.
Time to heal from wounds–relational or physical.
Time to change our habits, learn new skills, be transformed into new people.
“Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night; so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Collect for Compline, BCP page 132)