Evolution. I'm in a constant state of evolution.
"People can't change." That is something I hear frequently. However, I don't believe that to be true. People are indeed changing all the time, whether they are aware of it or not. We are like the shoreline of a beach. You may return to the beach day to day and not really notice any change. Yet the tide has come in and gone out; it isn't quite the same as it was the day before. A storm may roll in shift things on the beach or push seaweed and rocks and shells onto the shoreline. We can see this change. Or there may be a devastating whirlwind that changes the landscape of the shoreline and we can barely recognize it. So it is with us, I think.
These changes can be positive or negative; they can be beneficial or detrimental. And these changes, I dare say, are occurring all the time.
Elementary school was difficult for me. Being the youngest in a large family I wasn't quite certain who I was outside of my brood of brothers and sisters. I had asthma as a toddler and the medication that was required discolored my permanent teeth which made me very self conscious. I was shy and tentative and lacked self confidence. Wanting to fit in, but not knowing how, was a big struggle for me. Often times I was made fun of and, when someone else was being made fun of I have to admit that I readily joined in because I was so grateful that the hurtful words weren't directed at me. That is something that I still regret.
At this time of my life, I was quiet and docile and just wanted to be accepted. However, after being hurt so often I started shoring up my shoreline, so to speak. Wanting to protect myself, I began to put up some barriers. Some of the barriers were strong, like a stone wall and others were softer like reeds. Both offered me various forms of protection.
In high school I was still struggling with a desire to be liked and fit in and be what I thought the world wanted me to be. I never felt like it was okay to just be me. There would be times when I could truly be myself, but more often, I was putting out there what I thought would be best received from other people.
College began to crack the protective walls I had put up. This was the first time I was away from my family and just on my own. It was exhilarating and frightening all at once. Still struggling with what I thought I needed to be for the world, I partied and laughed and struggled to find my place. It was during these years that I began to realize it was okay to just be me. Once this realization began to set itself in my soul, I was finally able to begin to become who God intended me to be in this world and not who I thought I was supposed to be in this world. It was at this time that those walls began to crumble.
Marriage and motherhood have been the largest blessings for me and have made my shoreline far more beautiful and warm and welcoming. Being a wife and mother give me the space to really reflect and pray. These roles allow me to spread my wings and soar. It has been during this time in my life that I've come back to the one thing that has always made sense to me; the one thing that has always made me feel safe and whole - and that is my faith.
Life is evolution. I am evolving, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. Hopefully, more often for the better. The reeds and stones can be beneficial as long as I allow people in to get to know me. I am a woman of faith, but I love to laugh and have fun. I am a woman of prayer, but love to have a nice, long chat over a cup of coffee. I am a woman of God, but am bolstered by my relationships and friendships.
"People can't change." They can and they are - every moment. I think we need to do all we can to inspire positive evolution in each other. I think we need to do all we can to evoke beneficial evolution in ourselves. We are the shoreline. Some of us are the rocks. Some are the grains of sand. Some are the drops of water. Some are the reeds. Yet together, we can make a most beautiful landscape.