Sea Change, Take 2

I was in a wedding of a dear friend on Sunday — she was stunning, and smiling steadily. I expected to cry through the service, but I couldn’t, because I was so happy. I kept laughing. I wore red lipstick and looked good; I kept stopping in front of mirrors to smile at myself, and then realizing what I was doing and making myself laugh. We filled the couple’s car with balloons and cheered, sappy, at every kiss; it was a good day.

It’s amazing how much work goes into planning a wedding. It’s a 30-minute ceremony, but the coordinating, the organizing, the making sure everyone is on time and making eye contact with the musicians when they start to walk — that takes longer.

My new job is a lot of that — planning, setup. I spend a lot of time troubleshooting process rather than focusing on results. Instead of a few lovely front pages, an error-free evening starts to feel like success. Once, maybe, I had a dream about email chains, which was an indication that I needed the weekend off. Sometimes it feels like I spend more time making sure people understand each other than saying any of my own words.

There are some things I like to ignore. Wrestling through my relationships, sometimes so angry I could scream, sometimes so happy I can’t stop laughing. I always want to simplify things, reduce to the lowest common denominator. I want to accept Occam’s Razor because it’s so neat, so clean, so easy. It’s still frustrating to step forward, stutter toward progress and be yanked backward, to think I’ve taken steps — forgiven, forgotten — and found myself behind. Behind schedule, increase speed, my brain tells me. Some things take longer than we would like.

I’ve been blaring twenty one pilots while I fold laundry, staying up late to read a sad, aching book that’s going to end well, I’m sure of it, it has to. Making cold coffee and ordering pizza, trying new recipes, keeping my plants alive. Waking up early and lunging for the alarm — then pulling up the covers up to my chin and deciding to try again tomorrow.

Listen, some days you feel like an adult, and some days you have a grasshopper trapped under a pasta strainer and two heavy books on your dining room carpet. I have pictures, if you would like. Yes, I am 24.

One basic tenet of Christianity is that God doesn’t change — it’s plain in worship songs, creeds, psalms. I don’t think it means what we think it means. God became human; God died. Breathing in, breathing out — that’s change. Growing, boy to man, learning — these are changes. God seems more comfortable with the idea of change than we do.

And things have to change — you grow, or you stagnate. And it is amazing to me, the amount of planning, of study and focus and repetition and sheer words that go into change, into growth. I’m tired of tossing things behind me and finding they’ve landed on my metaphorical kitchen table. It’s exhausting, sometimes. Some things take longer than we would like.

Probably still worth the effort.

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