Monday, May 17, 2010
The other day I heard someone exclaim that they don't like change. I'm sure my jaw hung open over that comment. Life is change. It has been my experience that nothing ever stays the same; I suspect it's part of the mortal experience.
I learned this lesson while quite young---we moved 8 times while I was growing up. This makes for entertaining moments whenever I'm asked about my hometown. Lately I've found that it's easier to express that I've lived all over Southeastern Idaho, and parts of Utah. I consider Ashton, Idaho my hometown, since that's where I graduated from high school.
I have lived in the following places: Roberts, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Annis, Menan, Ashton, & Montpelier (all of which exist in Idaho), and my family dwelled for a time in Bountiful, Utah when I was in the fourth grade. Now if you were counting, you probably came up with seven moves. Since we moved back to Menan from Bountiful at the end of my fourth grade year, I consider that 8 moves . . . and that doesn't include the move from Montpelier to Bennington after I was married. ;)
Some of the moves were easier than others. I was about three years old when my parents left Pocatello, following my father's graduation from college. (He was a pharmacist.) That is when we moved to Annis. From there it was to Idaho Falls, after my dad completed his internship. Eventually my parents built a home in nearby Menan, and we lived there for a few years. Dad worked for Skaggs Drug in Idaho Falls during this time, then was promoted into management, and transferred to Utah. When he decided he didn't care for managing a large drugstore, we moved back to Menan, to the home my parents had built in that location. Then it was on to Ashton where my father had a chance to manage a small hometown drugstore. So on and so forth.
These moves were true character building moments---especially those that took place when I was approaching teenagehood. That age is difficult enough without the added challenge of repeatedly starting over and being labeled, "the new kid." And yet, I look back and I can see that the challenges that went along with each move helped shape me into who I am today. I learned to adapt to change, since things were rarely the same in my life. So by the time I went to college, I was used to life throwing twists my way. I was homesick for one day. Then I embraced college life and enjoyed every aspect.
One of my closest friends struggled with this experience. A friend of mine since high school, she had lived in the same place her entire life. She fought homesickness throughout our freshman year, and went home every weekend, until the time I hid her car keys. Our other roommates had conspired with me, and we kidnapped my friend, taking her to Jackson, Wyoming that Saturday. We then dragged her to a couple of college adventures that night and the next day. By the end of Sunday night, she was lecturing us for not doing something similar earlier that year. She had thoroughly enjoyed herself, overcoming the homesickness as we had helped her see the fun she was missing each weekend. Too bad there were only a couple of weeks left in what would be a final semester for her.
It has been my experience that life is often like a rollercoaster ride. There are numerous up and downs, and lots of scary stuff in the middle. ;) And yet, if you open your eyes and embrace the ride, there is a thrill not found on the complacent merry-g0-round. Ponder that analogy briefly. ;)
Through the years I have dealt with chronic illness (I've been a Type 1 diabetic since I was 19 and tested positive for lupus a few years after that), deaths of loved ones (a childhood friend passed away when we were in the 5th grade---since then I have lost grandparents, a parent, aunts, uncles, etc.), financial distress, worry over children, etc.
On the plus side, I have earned a college degree, married a wonderful man, given birth to 3 awesome sons, had 9 books published so far, and I held my beautiful first grandchild (a cute little girl) in my arms just minutes after her birth. This positive list goes on and on. There is so much of life that I have loved and savored, and I plan to savor more. I'm sure I'll be one of those who will leave this life kicking and screaming because I haven't sampled everything life has to offer. =D
Life is change. Those two words could be synonymous. If it wasn't that way, life would be stagnant. Reflect upon ponds of water that contain still water. They usually don't smell very nice after a while. This is the direct opposite of a refreshing stream that hurries forward continually. Movement\change is crucial to promoting growth. Not all growth is good\and\or\fun, I will admit, but without it, we would not progress. And how sad would it be someday to stand before our Maker and reveal that we spent our entire time in mortal mode hiding under the bed?!
Here's to enjoying the journey, making the climb, and cherishing each moment as it comes. Face the violent rainstorms with courage---even though the thunder makes us cringe, and the lightening often inspires us to run and hide. The new growth that will take place as a result is something to be appreciated, not feared. (Remind me I said all of this the next time thunderclouds appear in my sky.)