It doesn't matter where we are in our lives, we are always in some type of a growing phase. Whether we are growing in our own personal endeavors, our personal beliefs and faith, or just as individuals coming into adulthood through real life experience in this world, we are creatures of growth.
When my children were young and would reach a new milestone in their lives such as walking or talking or starting school, my heart would be heavy for the past that they were leaving behind, and sometimes the memories of their tiny little voices and willingness to please me almost crushed my heart. But then I would train my mind to think of the alternatives to growing and moving ahead. What if my kids had not been growing and reaching those goals in life like the many new cognitive and motor skills little children seem to conquer on an everyday basis? How heartbroken are the parents out there who have children who get left behind in their developmental skills because of a physical or mental disability? If you are one of those, you are my hero. I can only imagine the great strength and courage it takes to get up every day and care for a special needs child. It is a love that goes beyond all loves, and I commend those parents with the highest respect. They should have an extra jewel in their crown and I truly believe their efforts will not go unrewarded. But if you hear one of them speak about their child, you will hear the magnificent stories of how the child has healed and blessed the parent in so many ways; that they the parents are the ones who receive love, joy, and immense satisfaction. It takes tremendous growth to walk in that place.
In my work I come in contact with many young moms and have the opportunity to share my experiences as a mother and grandmother with them, and somehow in their graciousness they seem to receive what I have to say and it appears to help them. When they are teary-eyed about the milestones their children are passing by with flying colors while moving on to the next, I remind them of the alternatives. To grow is to change and change is good. Never changing means we are not growing and are sitting still. So my focus in talking with young moms is to always remind them that growing and achieving new things is exactly what their children are supposed to be doing. Day by day, week by week, and year by year, they are evolving into the stunning butterfly who just yesterday was an unsightly caterpillar. We are training them to set them free.
I have found that growth in adulthood is even more of a challenge than watching your children grow and change. Because once we are adults and have moved on from the beautiful successes of adolescent victories, growth almost always involves pain or discomfort. Taking a class to learn a new skill is a little harder when you're an adult. It requries digging down deep to find those abilities that you easily flaunted as a youngster. It requires a steely resolve that takes more push to conjure than in the arrogant and determined days of youth. The fear of failure taunts you and makes you believe if even for a brief moment that success is a thing for the young. New disciplines needed to produce growth sometimes chip away at the very soul and we are tempted to give up and remain at a state in which good enough is better than the pain and effort it takes to grow.
But then something happens. Tomorrow comes and we remember it is a brand-new day, full of new strengths and new opportunities to continue our life metamorphosis. And somehow in our humanity, we find the courage to pick up where we left off yesterday and advance our pursuit of growth, pushing forward even as adults to grow and reach our full potential. To live is to grow...and to stop growing, no matter what our physical years, is heartbreak indeed.
Posted by CC
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