In the summer, leaves are full of color and life. As the weather grows chilly, they turn into an array of rich browns, reds, and oranges. Then they fall to the ground to turn into a brown mass of muck under white, crunchy snow. Nature awakes again in the spring, and green is reborn. Chicks twitter in their nests; the aroma of pollen is ever present. Life is always changing. Nothing is permanent. I believe in making the most of the constant change around me.
I was two when my family moved to Romania to become missionaries. As a country that had recently escaped the heavy curtain of communism, Romania had its peculiarities. It was normal for dirt streaked children in clothes found in the dumpster to beg on the subway. They would carry a lamb or a dog, and for a few coins you could have good luck by petting it. Among the city traffic there were horse drawn carts full of scrap metal chased by barking street dogs. The number of years that Romania has been a democratic country has more than doubled since I have lived here. It has grown to be more and more like Western countries. Sometimes I miss those peculiarities, but there is no use living in the past.
When I was six I started first grade at a small school called Bucharest Christian Academy. I had a big class for my school; we were ten little children eager to head into the journey of education. Since then many friends have come and gone.
The summer I turned ten I went to my best friend’s house every week. Our time was filled with laughter as we biked, talked, swam in her pool, and played four square on the tennis court. Usually I would end up spending the night or she would come over to my house. Then came the shocking news: she was going back to America for a couple of years! When I first heard, I felt as if I was in a very weird dream. But it wasn’t a dream. She did leave. However, since she was coming back soon, I didn’t really say goodbye; it was more like “see you later.” But she never came back. I didn’t cry, but I ached inside when I realized she wouldn’t. I wish I had said goodbye, that I had let the tears gush, but I will always have the memories of the good times I enjoyed with her.
Jessica is not the only one that has left. Friends are now dispersed from Australia and Japan to Brazil and South Africa, from Korea and Canada to Budapest and America. I can’t remember how many times I have grieved the loss of someone I cared about. But each time new faces have come and eased the sorrow. Now there are only three of us left that went to first grade together. Over the years I have seen us grow up. We have not only changed on the outside but on the inside too.
Life is always changing, just as the seasons. It is our choice whether we make the most of the change or are hopelessly lost in the past. I, for one, am planning on welcoming change without regret; I hope I am not alone.