Ugly Changes Lead to Beautiful Transformations

Living in the northern U.S., I’m watching the seasons change, a beautiful gift from nature. Within the week, my area’s expected to see the fall foliage reach its peak, meaning the yellows and reds of autumn leaves will soon explode into a majestic landscape.

At the present time, however, it’s hard to believe this gorgeous change is so close. Sure, we’ve seen some hints of color and there’s already a blanket of leaves on the ground, but most trees’ leaves are still green, with maybe a branch or two displaying the rich colors we anticipate. Yet, having witnessed it many times before, I know the beauty is coming.

In life, changes don’t always manifest themselves with splendor all at once, either. Even the ones we desire and pursue often take time to turn into the vision we had in mind. More than that, the steps we take to get there are sometimes downright ugly.

walkFifteen years ago this month, I was asked to lead my alma mater’s football team onto the gridiron—which you can read about in My Story—in celebration of my beginning to walk on my own. The special moment drew some local media attention from our hometown newspaper, which featured an article and a follow-up editorial about it. In the latter, the journalist called attention to the way I held up my arms, saying I had them raised in triumph. The statement made my family and me laugh, since I had them up, not for dramatics, but simply for balance.

I bring this up because I learned the stance that helped me overcome gravity by means of a pretty hideous change. Two years prior, I acquired a new walker, a replacement of my chic teal one with a cute little basket on it. Unlike its predecessor, this thing was clunky, painted in John Deere colors, and had arm rests that were upholstered in horrible beige fabric. Worst of all, my arms had to be strapped into them, and the wheels clicked everywhere I went. I felt like a prisoner in a psych ward!

Another feature this monstrosity had was the ability to be turned around, allowing users to either pull it behind them or push it ahead of them. Since I’d always had walkers that stayed behind me, we kept it that way for quite a while. Some time later, I believe it was my therapist who decided to switch it and see how it’d help me progress. The adjustment ended up training me how to balance better, as it made me reach forward instead of having something dragging me back. Within several months, I was walking longer distances independently.

Thus, the contraption I was once so ashamed to be seen in aided me more than anything I’ve had before or since. As ugly as it was, it taught me the posture I use to this day.

Likewise, many adjustments are thrown our way that initially seem cumbersome or even repulsive. We might buck at them and think we’ll never get used to them. If we give them time and do our part, though, we may find they were just what we needed to get us to that beautiful ending we yearn to find.

If you feel like you’re in that horrid transitional phase we all endure, think of a butterfly. Cocoons aren’t very pretty to look at, but what do they produce? One of Earth’s most magnificent creatures.


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