I remember this night. It was clear and crisp; a Christmas Eve night nearly twenty years ago.
It was our tradition, my mother, sister and me, to walk around our little town on the night before Christmas, taking in the beautiful lights and softly singing carols. I had stopped for a moment to look up at the starlit sky when my sister snapped this photograph.
I was a young woman then, filled with dreams and hopes, and my heart was still wide open to love, opportunity and the future that lay ahead. All I had known to that point was the security of a close family, dear and faithful friends and a cup brimming with blessings. I trusted the world, believing in its goodness, and my faith in the kindness of humanity was strong. I followed the Golden Rule, marking my journey along a sun-lit, lovely path.
But life is not always easy. We learn that somewhere in the midst of adulthood. The path twists and turns, sometimes going uphill in a tiring direction, sometimes rolling downhill and out of control. Dreams are lost and pieces are broken. And shadows sometimes shroud the sun.
I look at her, that woman back then, and miss what used to be. The youthful innocence is gone now and life has aged her tender heart. Opportunities have come and gone, dreams have changed. Yet, much remains. I still count my blessings, I still feel great joy. And the secret, I've found, through the twists and the turns, is not biding my time waiting for life to happen, but in grasping it tightly right nowwhile it's here.
I remember the girl who used to be. She grew and she changed but somewhere, somehow..... still....she is here.