Time and Transformation
People tend to think of transformation as this huge change that happens overnight. Like, you’re all about the caterpillar who goes into the cocoon, and then one day it breaks free and all of a sudden there’s a beautiful butterfly. But here’s what I think. Most transformation happens so slowly that you don’t much notice.
The other weekend I went to stay with Grandma and Grandpa while my peoples were out of town. And when they came back to get me, Grandma said, with a little bit of shock in her voice, “You know, Tazzie has really turned into quite a calm dog.” And I am. I am a calm, easygoing dog, if you don’t count the fact that I am extremely vigilant about defending my family from the threat of squirrels, people walking down our street, or dogs barking in the neighborhood. But I wasn’t always this mellow and well behaved. There is a reason they named me Taz, after the Tasmanian Devil cartoon character, which whirled in circles and devoured everything in his path. I was maybe a bit of a handful as a puppy.
But here’s the thing. There wasn’t a moment when I broke out of my cocoon and emerged as a mature, responsible canine citizen. I’m seven years old this month. My transition from Crazy Puppy to Good Dog has been taking place all my life, and Mama says that she hopes the transition is still happening. (Oddly, she doesn’t think that squirrels pose any great danger.)
What about you? Are there ways that your life has radically changed, but maybe you haven’t noticed because the change has taken such a long time? Are there changes that you’re in the middle of, but maybe haven’t much noticed because you haven’t got all the way to where you hoped to be? Maybe it would be a good idea to give yourself a pat on the head and a “Good person!” for engaging in the slow work of transformation, however it takes shape in your life.
Taz is a six-year-old Belgian Tervuren, the companion of Lynn Ungar, the CLF’s minister for lifespan learning. While he competes in a variety of dog sports, his favorite jobs are as running companion to Lynn’s wife Kelsey and manager of the household cats.
What do you think?
I think we are discussing both sides of the same coin. Transformation can happen gradually over time or, in some cases, very quickly. In my own life, I have experienced both types of transformation. For example, the birth of my daughter meant taking up a new role as a father. That initial transformation took place almost overnight. When she drew in her first breath, I instantly became her protector and provider. I understood that she depended on me for her survival. There was no turning back the clock. The other side of that blessed event involved learning to become a good father. That required transformation and growth for me as a person, in ways that I couldn't have predicted at the beginning of the journey. It's been almost 21 years now, and she is still teaching those lessons everyday. :-)
Oh, I have noticed the transformation from healthy middle age to senior citizen with several physical challenges...I am beginning to believe that the first and middle parts of life truly are simply rehersal for meeting the challenges of old age. This "last of life for which the first was made" is a journey toward the final transformation...hopefully it will be a long journey!
So this is a column for children?
Sometimes transformation happens quickly and unexpectedly. MLK was just a 26 year minister, starting his career, when he was thrust into a position of leadership during the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. He went on to change the course of history.