I grew up on a quiet street in a small town in Wyoming, in a house that looked like every other house for several blocks, in a neighborhood built for low income families. Our house was the first one finished, and my parents got to pick out the colors, flooring, cabinets, etc. It was a neighborhood full of kids, and I spent my summers on my bike, covered in dirt, with a rowdy pack of boys at my side. There weren’t many girls nearby, but I was such a tomboy that I probably wouldn’t have noticed if there had been.
I can remember the summer we planted three trees (sticks, really) in our huge side yard (we lived on a corner lot). Those trees got run over by bikes, broken off by frisbees gone wild, and were taped back together more times than I can count. My parents never expected them to actually grow, but they just kept hanging on, year after year.
I grew up in that house. My grandpa taught me to play “In the Mood” on the piano there. I had my first real kiss on the front steps. I recovered from my first broken heart in my little bedroom overlooking the street. I snuck a boy out the back door when my mom came home early one afternoon. I shot my BB gun at a target my dad set up down the hallway when I was five. We marked off my height every six months on a 2×4 beam in the basement. We lived there until I was a sophomore, when my parents split up, and my mom and I moved to a small apartment a block from the high school. My dad lost the house to foreclosure shortly after.
I drove past the old house last week for the first time in 13 years. The neighborhood is run-down. The kids have grown up. One of my trees had been cut down. The whole town has changed a lot over the years. Some of the places I loved are gone, and there are new houses, buildings, people everywhere you look.
I’m not the same person I was back then either. I’m older, more cynical, less trusting. I have more scars, inside and out. I’ve learned a lot. I’m not perfect, but God has a plan for me.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8