Change Comes Softly

Change comes softly.

We gathered in the hospital room, taking our turns at his side. Whispering goodbyes that were wholly insufficient. And then he was gone.

But it had been a year and a half of prognosis and treatment, of driving back and forth never knowing if this time would be the last I got to sit with him, hoping and needing to somehow absorb every last bit of life wisdom he had to spare. Before he left.

There was not enough time and more than we were initially given.

Change comes softly.

I walked to the mailbox, in tears, so angry at myself for not being able to stop yelling at my kids. I wanted to create a safe space in this world for these people I loved most yet I couldn’t seem to break this habit no matter how much I willed it.

I despaired that I would never become the woman and mom I yearned to be.

And then one day, a few years and a million stubborn steps later, I realized with a start that I had indeed changed. Somewhere along the way, I left behind that dusty and worn out habit of spilling anger over my family and had picked up joy in its place.

Change had come softly.

We loved to lay entangled in each other’s arms, inhaling the hopeful scent of wet earth and damp pavement, through the open window. We rode our bikes all over the city, hunting down treasures at garage sales and saved our pennies so we could enjoy a slice of pizza on Friday nights.

We learned to love as we built a family and crafted a home. Dreams of teaching overseas morphed into paying off student loans and coaching minor soccer and we were so impatient for real life to begin.

But he has aged and so have I, our new silver hair and fine lines tell the time, and recently it struck me that we are no longer young. Firmly entrenched in middle age, we have begun the beautiful work of growing old together.

Change comes softly.

Happily, I feathered my nest, ground flour, baked muffins, and cuddled for hours with beautiful storybooks. I delighted in these little bodies and big personalities and sometimes felt touched out and desperate for solitude.

I was living my dream but sometimes forgot and all of a sudden they began flying the nest. No one asked me if I was ready. It was simply time.

Somewhere between dirty diapers and driver’s licenses, nestled in between skinned knees and college applications they decided they were ready to go out into this big world and find their way. Without me. I release my grip, a lump of pride and pain catching in my chest.

Change has come softly again.

From a young age, I knew my body had failed me. A limp and no thigh gap where beauty ought to be. And I walked through life covered in shame.

Neither bingeing nor restriction could resolve the belief that there was something essential lacking in me. And it was only when I turned and faced fear head on that the scales fell off and I began to heal.

And when I held my third child in my arms I realized for her sake and mine, I would choose to love myself completely, once and for all. No matter my struggle or body shape, I would offer who I am with confidence and allow you to love me. Or not.

Change comes softly.

I see you there, angry and hurting. You don’t believe for one second that you will heal or overcome like others do. You are the anomaly.

All you see is your lack and insufficiency but you are blinded to reality. Clean off those foggy glasses and wipe away your tears so you may see the truth that you are not alone and never have been.

One step and then another you walk your way to freedom. There is no magic pill to make it all better. There is only trying and falling and picking yourself up again. You can’t see your progress on the dusty path, but just you wait until you’re far enough ahead.

It’s often when we’re not looking that change comes softly.

Krista xo

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25 comments on “Change Comes Softly

  1. I have been on a break from Facebook for a while now and have missed your posts. I’m so glad I decided to visit your blog tonight.
    You have become such a source of encouragement during a difficult season of life and a new perspective for looking at my life, past, present, and future. Thank you for being breve enough to share your heart.

  2. Yesterday I was trying very hard to get on top of an issue that was bothering me and by the end of the night I was feeling inadequate and discouraged. As soon as I told myself I felt inadequate another thought told me to remember words that you have posted before and I told myself that I need to read your post this morning. Of course you delivered again and your words were just what I needed this morning. Thank you! I am making progress but change does come softly.

  3. I really enjoyed reading this because most often I think of change as jarring, and usually accompanied by pain…this type of change on the other hand feels like something to look forward to! SO articulately said!

    • Hi Dawn, yes often it trickles, slow and steady. In the case of letting go of someone we love, I suppose it still always feels jarring. I’m never ready for it. But I am reminded to be present, to show up, to be grateful for each minute we get. xo

  4. Sometimes when I am not looking … yes that is when I can see the difference, both when I am not looking and when I am looking back. In myself and my kids, too. God is working in me whether I know or notice.

    • Hi Abbie, yes. And my heart was for those who are still in the messy middle – or the thick of struggle- and they can’t see their progress at all.. that they would trust. One day, they’ll look back and see all the growth and beauty. And when it is hard to trust there is beauty yet ahead (speaking to myself), we can trust and know that we are rarely able to understand the amazing ways that life unfolds. But past experience tells me, there is more beauty yet to come.

  5. This was so beautiful. Just beautiful. You absolutely captured the beautiful melancholy of life and those small ever so subtle changes as we become a little more each day the person God is calling us to be. I’m so grateful I read these words today.

  6. I have tears streaming down my face right now. This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read! I have a 1, 2 & 7yr old so it’s a tough season & these words touched me so deeply. I’m holding my 1yr old a lil tighter right now (the one who nurses, bedshares & touches me out the most.) U have an amazing gift 4 writing & connecting us. I love your site, have most of it bookmarked but this one got me & will be revisited often.. Thank u! Xo

  7. Just read this with tears welling. Rebuilding life after the death of a spouse, your phrase “a difficult season of life” is the perfect description. My husband if 37 years who lived with multiple physical challenges, would say “just keep putting one foot in front of the other”. I remind myself to look for the blessing, it’s always there. Thanks for the insightful words. You are my blessing today 💗

    • Hi Julie – I am sorry for this great loss. I’m so glad this post offered encouragement to you this morning. As I walk through a really hard season I am so incredibly grateful for the gift of community (both local and online). xo

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