This I Believe

Yichao - Gilbert, Arizona
Entered on May 19, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in promises of forever.

As a senior in high school during the last few days of class, “forever” seems but a childhood dream. Sure, as kids, we made promises to love forever, to live forever, and to be friends forever—but forever at that age usually measured about 10 minutes. And as we grow up, we see hearts break, lives end, and friends drift apart. Now, standing at the brink of graduation, the “forever” that was our childhood, our innocence, our moments of perfection, is about to be shattered into a million pieces by college, jobs, bills, responsibilities—the real world. I never thought that one’s childhood would be so clearly marked as over, the line sharp and bold against the grain of time. Never thought the divide between the chapters of lives would come so abruptly, so sharply. As I think about my friends moving all across the US and a few to other countries, as I think about leaving the familiar halls of my school, leaving behind my home, my family—forever seems but a childish reverie.

Yet just as I begin to mourn the loss of time and friends, I recall the words of my counselor and mentor, Mr. K.R. Scott. “Life is but a series of losses; without great loss, there cannot be great change.” Yes, we grow apart, and lose touch with those close to us. Yes, time cascades ever on, an unstoppable, untamable river. But some things truly transcend time and space, providing continuity in change. Just as fish swim in the water, so too do memories and promises whirl within the confines of time. Separation from friends does not scorch away the endless memories, laughs, and impact they have had on me. The death of a loved one does not change that love and what they instilled within me.

And so, with the adventures of college and life ahead, I embrace these changes, knowing that those promises of forever will only grow stronger in the pains and fires of loss. These promises are keys, keys to our hearts and to our hopes.

Thus, I promise to remember. I promise not to forget how to be a kid, how to catch raindrops on my tongue, how to love unconditionally, how to enjoy just being alive. I promise to keep a little piece of everyone in my mind and heart, for my growth, my time spent on this Earth, and whatever little footprint and impact I can leave, has traces and inspiration from everyone I have met. No matter what happens, we are all connected by the tiny tendril of a shared past, that shared promise of forever.