I spent the early years of my life on a small farm. I can still remember the smells, the sounds, the feel of my home and my yard, of my world there.The clucking of the chickens and the grunting of the pigs. The jingle of our old mules harness and the sound of grain filling a bucket.
In spring I couldn’t wait to go barefooted. To feel the warm earth under my soles, to be able to run in and out of the house freely without stopping to find my shoes.
But then, when I was still a child, we left all that behind and moved away from our farm. It was like losing a limb from our bodies and my siblings and I watched the familiar white house fade from sight as we drove away. All we were was on that farm. We’d grown up there surrounded by relatives and lifelong friends. Even the beloved farm animals we were leaving behind were like family. We’d grown up with a connection to the land, to the sights and smells of that farm. It had been the one constant steady thing in our lives. It fed us and its changes through the season was tangible proof that God still reigned in his kingdom.
For the next several years there were many changes for me. My closest sibling in age, who’d always been my compass on how to handle the turmoil the adults in our lives seemed to create got married and moved out on his own. My father passed away and my mother and I moved many times, our world seeming to grow smaller with each move until it was just the two of us. I changed schools many times. Found and lost friends, discovered strengths, met bullies, and met kind strangers too. But my life was constant change.
So it’s little wonder I grew up change resistant. I learned all too well that while change may bring new challenges, new friends, even a better future, it also means you leave something behind. With change there is always, always a loss as well. You have to weather that loss in order to grow in the new and each loss seems to take a little bit out of you before the new finds a way to put a little something back.
You leave behind friends. That new best friend you shared so many secrets with will slip away from you, no matter how much you try. It’s just reality. Best friends are for sharing our lives with and when our lives change and move on, we can no longer share those little triumphs and injustices as you once did. Oh, I struggled to hang on, to always keep them in my life. But slowly, almost without realizing it . . . you let go.
I suppose the Beatles said it better than I ever could:
There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all