A few nights back, my daughter, Maura, and a friend saw what appeared to them to be a supernova, a star that grew bigger and brighter and then was gone from the sky. Both she and my son were fascinated by the idea that if it actually was a dying sun that they saw that night, the event they witnessed may have actually happened hundreds or maybe even thousands of years ago. The light had been travelling toward us all that time and reached Earth just as they looked to the sky, and then was seemingly gone forever.
The next day, she took notes and watched carefully as I made the macaroni-and-cheese she loves because “if a star can disappear before your eyes, anything can happen.” It was a weird week. Her brother was preparing to move to college and we all felt shaky. My son, and the light he carries with him, was preparing to enter a whole different orbit and it sure felt like he was going to disappear, though light never does. It only travels.
Maura’s copious macaroni-and-cheese notes remind me of the mental pictures I’ve taken since my kids were small. I don’t want to miss a thing. And remembering, treasuring, and keeping moments when everything is changing all the time is an important and meaningful thing to do. But living that way can break your heart, truly, to see how fragile and beautiful life is, and how it can change, how it will certainly all change and how that change is coming towards us all the time even if we can’t see it yet. Time tells the story.
Change can be so painful, but it helps me to know it usually isn’t one sudden move. Things are always in process; they are coming from a distance, and it can take time for us to see them. And just when it seems like something is exploding and even dying, we need to remember that our eyes can deceive us. Something beautiful like the light from a star or a son does move, but it’s never truly gone.
Like my macaroni-and-cheese (it really is awesome, I will make it for you sometime if you like), life is meant to be enjoyed and appreciated. As change comes to my life in ways that can shake me to my core, I want to remember that the true nature of it all is good and hopeful. As scary and sad as life can sometimes be, I want to be present. I want to try to look up.