Thursday, November 3, 2011

Then and Now

When I was young I lived in a world I no longer live in, a place that can no longer be found. Outside my window was an endless world of adventure where now only lays a plain, grassy lawn. My backyard was full of woods great for campouts and forts, now all I see is a few trees and a lot of weeds. I ran through my yard barefoot, the soft grass beneath my feet. I swam in vivid blue lakes lined with white sandy beaches. My yard now contains bumps and ridges, the beach is no longer white but brown and dirty, and the lake not blue but dark and murky. Was my world unreal or am I now only capable of seeing imperfection and ugliness?

When I was a child I was entertained for hours and hours dressing my dolls. Now I can’t even spend ten minutes doing something without getting bored and looking for entertainment elsewhere. I spent at least two hours every night reading books from cover to cover, not missing one word. Now I find myself skimming, my interest waning all too quickly, and no longer capable of reading every word in a book. I used to be glued to Mr. Rogers Neighborhood every time my mom would allow me to watch it; now I skim through the channels losing interest if there isn’t an exciting storyline appearing in the first fifteen seconds. Looking through the American Girl magazine over and over again until the pages were torn and falling out and dreaming of what I might be able to purchase someday used to provide enough entertainment to satisfy. Now I have to actually purchase the item, no longer am I satisfied with window shopping. It seems I had more patience and contentment back then, perhaps just more time on my hands.

When I still couldn’t see over the counter at the library, I had a lot of trust. I saw perfection in the people that surrounded me. I thought my dad could do anything. I didn’t know what limitations were. I thought my mom was an encyclopedia, a history book, a grammar manual; I didn’t think there was a school subject that she wasn’t an expert in. I thought my friends were forever. I didn’t know they were capable of disowning me. Life was simple; life was perfect. Was it really though? I had never experienced the beauty of a friend who stuck by through thick and thin when others didn’t. I wasn’t able to fully appreciate faith and trust because I didn’t know life without them.

As a child pain was experienced when I fell down the stairs. Hurt was the effect of a scraped knee. Death? That only happened to people who were really old and who I wasn’t close with. Now I experience pain through the betrayal of a friend, hurt through the action of gossip. Death, it’s all around me, raining down, and it won’t stop. It’s no longer the old person I barely knew; it’s my friends, my family, my loved ones. It would seem as life without these things would be a better one, but could it be that hurt and pain is what gives me the opportunity to realize that I can overcome, that I can be a better person despite it? Could it be that death would cause me to realize what I have, though temporal, is precious? Could it be that I am a more thankful and grateful person for today because I know that it is not forever?

In my younger years I lived in a world of utopia, a world so perfect, a world so simple. That simplicity gave me the power to see only the good in others, only the beauty in the world, and only the happiness and contentment that could be had. I now have the ability to experience the bad of the world, the pain, the suffering, the death, the discontentment, the abandonment. However, could it be that these are the very things that give me the ability to fully appreciate life so much more?