I've been thinking a lot recently about the ways that life can change in a moment. Changes so drastic that they completely erase a way of life. Sometimes these changes are expected, sometimes they come as a complete surprise, but either way, the result can be a permanent state of affairs.
Every day there are people around the world who decide to change their diets. Some do this in a very dramatic way, others "fudge" on a regular basis. All the same, most of them know in the back of their minds that they can give in to their urges is they so desire, they can change their minds back, and return to their former lifestyle. But imagine you're a six year old boy who loves gummy snacks and pancakes and a wide variety of typical kid foods. Your parents might not let you fully gorge on these things, but you regularly experience healthy doses of all sorts of sweetie goodness. Then, one weekend you get really thirsty and the next thing you know there are doctors poking you with needles and telling you that all those beautiful carbohydrates are now dangerous to you, potentially life threatening, even. That's what happened to my nephew Rowan this weekend. One day a sugar-a-holic in true kid fashion, the next day he's informed he's almost certainly diabetic. Talk about a total life change.
As Mother's Day has just gone by I've also been thinking a lot about my friend Becky who was killed in a car accident just a few days after Christmas 2010. All she was doing was driving home from work. Now her husband and two beautiful little girls have to face every day without her. This week she will posthumously be awarded her doctorate in pharmacy. She had plans and dreams. The last time I saw her she was talking about how they'd had their kids young and were going to travel the world when they left the house while they were still young enough to enjoy it. She sorta wanted to live my kind of life in reverse. She was going to try to come to my wedding... And in a moment Christmas and Mother's Day became tragic occasions to her sweet family.
I know there are changes that can be good too. Changes that bring joy and light and laughter. But it's the heavy changes I've been contemplating, trying to wrap my head around. How do you make something so contradictory to what is right and good and normal in the world? I don't have any answers.
As the weather here has been warming up my mood has improved a bit, but I fear it's only temporary. In those days when it was cold and dark and wet, I found myself checking the temperature in Hong Kong. Stupid, stupid. But I did it and was reminded of the choices I made regarding that magical place. I remember the day I left after my first year there. The world I'd expected to be a dream had become such a vivid reality that I had difficulty grasping how I could ever face life back in the US. And true to my state, when I got back it just didn't feel right. I made every attempt I could to return as soon as possible. And 8 months later I was back again where I knew I was supposed to be. For another year and a half I lived that life, then in March of 2005 I left again. With no promise of a return trip. More than 6 years have passed and all that remains of that life are these beautiful memories that are more like dreams than concrete reality. And I'll never live that life again. When I got on that plane that life was finished.
Even my life in Czech came to a solid end. There is the potential to return, but nothing would be the same because my school no longer exists, etc.
I know you can never turn back the clock. Every day is something new and different. The past is done. But sometimes the new day is more different...