This post is inspired by a quote from Emily & Einstein by Linda Francis Lee. The quote is:
My mother used to tell me that life could change in an instant, a line drawn in the sand separating before from after, altering you completely. Was that really true? Could a person be changed in an instant? Or did a crack already have to exist in the ice, the beginnings of a change we simply refused to see?
Ever since I read this quote (which is actually slightly separate from the story), I have wanted to comment on it. It rings so true for me and brings up so many interesting points and could really be the start of a great conversation.
First of all, I agree with both parts of this statement. I agree that an instant can change everything – and that there are these moments that become before moments and moments that become after moments. And that defining, culminating, pivotal moment is when the change occurs. I really do believe that you can be altered completely by one, single, solitary moment.
That being said, I think that it is important to realize that any extremely large change, probably did not happen in an instant. There is still a defining instant where you see things as before and after, but the change itself probably took place over time – even if everyone (including the person involved) was unaware that a change was occurring.
And sometimes, that “crack” was something that we refused to see – a change that we didn’t want to acknowledge because we didn’t want to make the changes we would have to. Sometimes the “crack” is so small, such a gradual change that we don’t notice it at all because we don’t notice until we look back that there is even a crack because of the slow nature of its formation. Other times, the “crack” is very visible and may never heal – helping to define that moment forever.
Of course, there is a part of me that wonders if people really change at all. I am reminded of an episode of One Tree Hill where the question is asked if people can really change or if they are the people they have always been and always will be. There is a part of me that believes we don’t necessarily change at all. A part of me thinks that we are always going to be the same person, no matter what. Now, we can pretend to be someone else and possibly fool even ourselves. But, deep down we are who we are.
Ultimately, I think the core of our being we have values that do not change once they are established (right now, let’s not talk about when those values are established). However, as we grow and mature, our priorities may change and that may appear to be a bigger change to some people.
What do you think? Do you think that when people change it’s really instantaneous? Do you think that cracks and fissures form first that lead to the change? Or do you think that we are who we are and we do not change?