By contributing writer Gracie Griffin for KidSpirit's Exploring Time issue.
How does a person know when something inside of them is changing?
Things do change. Storms turn into sun, snow melts into spring. People change. Perhaps a new talent or hobby is rising out of the abyss that is the human brain. Have you ever shaken a dust filled rug or piece of cloth? The dust whirls in the light, dancing around. How can something so dirty seem so graceful in that moment? That's how I picture change, floating out of the darkness.
Or does change come as a sudden zap of shock like the moment at a surprise party where everyone yells that word that changes everything -- "surprise!" My whole life could be a string of surprise parties, waiting for the right moment to happen, just waiting for me to open the door on them.
Some people have that sixth sense, knowing when change is around the corner. Others stumble blindly into it, like going through a pitch black tunnel, when one turn careens you into the light. Others still can see slightly, but it's blurred like a gossamer curtain drawn across their eyes. Maybe, just maybe, it is different for every moment, every change. How will we find the answer? What philosophical journey must we take to solve this great mystery?
Having the ability to change is one of the greatest gifts. Our lives turn out a certain way and "why?" isn't really the question. Do we decide to sit and ponder how we ended up here, or do we share stories of our adventures on the way? Who knows where we will be in 10 or 20 years? Change is unstoppable, but change is also beautiful and spectacular. Though it might not seem important, it adds to the great masterpiece of your life. One grain of sand in a stretch of beach, one star in the sky, one wave on the ocean. We may feel different things, sometimes grief, sometimes the greatest joy imaginable, but overall, it is simply adding to us, making us who we are. Some believe in karma or in set paths. Others don't really know. But why squabble over religion, beliefs and the supernatural when we can live and experience and enjoy. Enjoy this life we live. Enjoy what we have been given. Enjoy every change we have seen and those that haven't yet arrived. These moments that make up our lives are part of us, it's true. But one single moment can make all the difference.
We speak of philosophers, people who search for the answers to mysteries. They travel through oceans and forests, fast for days, waiting for signs from above. Perhaps we are mistaken -- maybe they don't know. Maybe others who to us seem unimportant carry answers to our questions: a teacher, a student, a postal worker, a chef, an artist, a writer, a person like you. Look at what we do in these minds of ours. We talk and we think, we question, we wonder, we imagine, we create. We change. But even though change is inevitable, it doesn't mean you can't be who you are. Don't hide behind false faces and false emotions. Change happens. We all know it does. We can't stop it. Instead of seeing this as a problem, embrace it. Carl Gustav Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, once said, "Only that which changes remains true." Be true to yourself, even when you do change. Be you in the biggest sense you can. Do what you want to do. Say what you want to say. Feel anything that you need to feel. Don't let anyone keep you from embracing your inner self. How does a person know when something inside of them is changing? Hard to tell, but I can tell you one thing, it brings up some really good questions.
Picture this. A day where the sky is a clear cerulean and the sun is bathing everything in light as it slips down to meet the horizon. Winter is over and green leaves have unfurled to bask like cats in the warmth. A sprinkler clicks at intervals skyward, sending crystal droplets in an arc through the air. Beauty surrounds the girl on the bike who pedals homeward in a jersey stained in the souvenirs of a lacrosse game. I have talked so much about questions and moments and change. But in the end, isn't just living enough?Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese author and peace activist, wrote,
Though pondering these esoteric concepts of why you change and who you become can open doorways to mystery, you may miss openings of doors in reality. To end I share a poem:
"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle."
The world will change
But its happiness won't change
The people will change
But their smiles won't change
The seasons will change
But their beauty won't change
The days will change
But the sun and moon won't change
Just like the color of the pretty sky and snow
Our love will never ever change
Whether we enjoy change, yearn for change, or avoid change, we will always have each other. We will always have love and joy. This poem shows that things change and we can't help it. Whether it be that surprise party or that tingling sixth sense, change will slip into our lives. I started this piece over a year ago, sitting in my room, listening to my mom's gentle breathing. I finish it in the midst of a summer thunderstorm. I have changed and that's enough for me because "People will change, but their smiles won't change." I am happy and at peace with who I am and the person that change will bring me to be. This piece has changed. From a rant trying to find an answer to a realization that acceptance of change will make all the difference. I have covered the who, when, where, why and how of change. I have left out the what. But you need to figure out your own "what." Is change something you fear or you welcome? I know I haven't answered all the questions that I have brought up. I'm sure you haven't answered all your own questions and inquiries that come into your life. Maybe we share common queries. But instead of quarreling over who has the "right" answer, we should wait for the answer to present itself as we live each day, fully accepting change for what it does. Remember, to know is to be intelligent, but to live is to be wise.
When Gracie Griffin wrote this she was 12 years old. Besides writing, Gracie spends her time diving into a good book or playing sports. She loves listening to music, singing, playing piano and composing her own music.