The Beauty of Change

A couple of days ago, I was driving around my town. With a smile on my face, some words just spontaneously tumbled out of me. “I know you,” I said, and then I smiled some more.

I spoke this to Ann Arbor, the place I’ve called home for the last two and a half years. My car windows were down, and I took an enormous, intentional breath of spring air.  Then I put my arm out of the window to feel the breeze. I felt very alive.

The reality of spring called those words forth from me.
“I know you.”

I continued to enjoy the spring air, but the visual scene was most responsible for bringing those words into being. In Michigan, we have entered an aesthetically gorgeous time of year. The six month period from April to October brings continual changes in scenery.

Each week shifts as a variety of flowering trees and plants emerge, soon accompanied by the newborn leaves of trees which grow in gradual ways. After these leaves progressively paint our town bright green, they rustle in the wind for a few months and finally give us a swansong, bursting into a variety of colors as they shed their photosynthesis process and reveal the red, orange, and yellow colors hiding underneath it.

For this half of the year, every week is gorgeous, and every week is gorgeous differently.

This is the third spring I’ve experienced in Ann Arbor, and I’ve lived here long enough to know the order of this unfolding process of change. That’s why the words tumbled out of my mouth that day in my car.

“I know you.”

I know how one set of flowers and blooming trees emerge and seem to reign for mini-era of time, only to be replaced by another set of flowers and blooming trees. It’s a beautiful procession.

I know that the daffodils,


soon give way to the bradford pears,


which soon give way to the tulips,


which soon give way to the tulip magnolias,


which soon give way to the day lilies.


This process continues to unfold beautifully.

I love that we are in the midst of this procession right now, and it gave me an impromptu burst of joy when I spontaneously said, “I know you,” to Ann Arbor on that day.

There is a rich experience of belonging when we feel at home.

This is true
within places,
within relationships,
within ourselves.

We can feel at home in the presence of all of these.

When we do, I think we have some knowledge of the essence of what is before us, while also knowing and even expecting that it will experience change.

For instance,

I know the order of Ann Arbor’s flower procession,
but I am still surprised by its emerging beauty.


We know some of the essence of our children’s personalities,
but we are surprised with their growth year by year (and even daily).

We know our weekly work routine,
but we are surprised when we feel a sense of calling within it or beyond it.

We know our personal traumas and forms of grief,
but we are surprised when new life and forms of resurrection find us.

“I know you.”

May we feel at home.
And may our experiences there change us too.

Renee Roederer

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