My nephew told me that our whole body of cells turns over every seven years. We are not the people we were seven years ago, literally. He brought this tidbit to the conversation because he’s apparently a font of cool information like this. I don’t know if it is true, but I do like the notion. We grow and we change, and yet we remain the same. So when we talked about his future and how he has many college credits, but not any that go together to make a degree, we recognized his cellular turnover idea as a metaphor that had a light bulb glowing above all our heads.
A year or so after he started college his mother was dying. He dropped out of college to stay home with her and drive her to doctors, give her her drugs, feed her and care for her as she declined, into the dust. He suffered personally for that, because he was young and it was too much to bear. Who COULD do it?
So he dropped back in and then dropped back out of college, and did not get a direction going. Finally he’s in school again, now committed to finishing up. He says he’d like to be a teacher, but the education courses he took back seven years ago when he started were awful. Not for him. Not something to return to. But, yet, he feels he might be a teacher.
So…….maybe……if all our cells turn over every seven years, and those education courses were awful seven years ago, maybe things are different now. Maybe that was then and this is now. Maybe he is an entirely different person, not in charge of anyone else’s well-being, or suffering daily in the face of death. Maybe the seven years have produced a person who can manage those courses in a new way, with a new resolve, that can have it end differently this time.