Just north of where we live sits the oldest farm in America. It was established nearly 400 years ago; several acres of open fields and a working dairy farm remain there today. It used to be a routine sight on my morning commute before I married and we moved onto our school’s campus. Now I only see it whenever I have to travel to the next town up.
One such occasion arose this week. It was late afternoon by the time I was driving back. I passed the familiar fields now covered in a late winter snow. It’s been warm enough lately that snow has started to melt though it usually drops below freezing at night. I love winter so this change brings a tinge of sadness; I’m not quiet ready for it to go.
Driving past the fields I noticed the snowmelt had collected in little pools of water now frozen across the surface. Reflecting the late day sun it appeared as though the field was covered in a million mirrors, or perhaps one giant mirror that had been smashed and scattered about in a chaotic yet perfectly artistic fashion. Now those mirrors were reflecting the mirage of the sun from the ground and back towards the sky.
I know I’m changing; I can feel it like I can see the sunlight reflecting off a thousand mirrors of the late winter snow. I’m reaching, desperate to hold onto winter, the cold reality of who I know myself to be. In so I feel like I’m a child again, perched at the top of a slide. I’m sitting and I feel gravity pulling me downward. I know that eventually I will move but my hands are out and I’m bracing myself against the pull.
“Let go,” the voice in my head tells me, “it’ll be quiet the ride”.
“But is the bottom better than the top?”
I don’t know where or why change became something I resist and seek at the same time. I find myself wondering, searching, through the corridors of my memory for a moment in which I was utterly content: sixteen years old with a driver’s license, racing down the street for the first time. Five years old, nibbling a Christmas cookie in my father’s lap as he read “The Night Before Christmas” and snow fell outside. Twenty-one years old, with a pay check just large enough for the rent and to buy myself a drink afterwards at the bar with some friends. We sang till the place closed down, there on the coast, even though we had to be up at work the next morning. It would be the best damned morning in the world. Yes, then…in that moment, I tell myself, I was happy.
But at the same time, I still took a step forward. The clock ticks but I make the choice to look at it. And play by its rules.
The depth of my joy is created by the good that was, before me, in the beginning. Always. And it’s added to daily by the blessings that are. I cannot deny the presence of infinite blessings, grace beyond merit.
But there is still goodness and beauty that has slipped away and the reality of the melting snow haunts me. Where does it go? The fading sunlight, the beauty of a passing hour and breath? Hell ain’t things lasting forever, Toni Morrison penned, hell is change.
And as I’m walking into my apartment today I note that more of the snow has vanished and below is a muddy, salty, crusty layer of earth that looks like a dried out flower without the bloom. What a mess. But I’m reminded of the spring showers around the bend and the way the ground looks after a soaking storm. This reminder comes from a gentle voice atop the slide. It will take care of itself. Change usually does.
We will transform our lowly body, Paul wrote to his Philippian counterparts, to be like His glorious body. Transform, he penned in the Greek, using the same word from which we get “metamorphosis”. Nothing is shed, at least not in the permanent sense; it’s just completed. The becoming has become. It is finished.
And these days whenever I question what those words mean I find a good reason to drive north around sunset. Once there, I find myself staring at a shattered mirror across the surface of the field changing with the seasons. And what a thing it is to behold, a million brilliant reflections, beckoning in the to be with a reminder of what was. And when the sun’s rays hit the mirrors and shine back into the sky, it’s like the world is rejoicing with the news of the transfiguration all around, the news of renewal, redemption and becoming.
And, oh, what a sight to see.