By Claire Enos
Remember all those years ago, when you'd go back to school and your teacher would have you write an essay about your summer break? Some kids would write about their vacations in exotic places, and others would write about some tragedy that happened while they were on break, or about relatives they met, etc. Most of the time, I would have no idea what to write. My family never had time or money to go to cool new places, or to visit family, and other than a couple grandparents and a cousin I didn't really grow up around death. I guess you could say I lived a sheltered life, in fact I never did much but play with my friends outside, ride my bike, or read books all day.
This is the first summer I've ever had anything to write about, and the summer isn't even over yet. I've learned quite a bit about myself and about those around me. I've learned some of what is important to me, I've learned what I will and won't put up with, and that I can do hard things even if they hurt.
Maybe one day I'll write a creative non-fiction book on what I've learned, but until then suffice it to say that this summer has changed me for the good. I am a different person now than I was four months ago. I know more about what I want out of life, even though I still don't have all the answers, but I am learning. Sometimes I wish I hadn't decided to come to Oregon for the summer, but then I think of all the good times and all the bad times and I realize I wouldn't give any of it up, because they've all shaped me, brought me closer to who I want to be. There are still five weeks left here in Oregon, and I plan to make them count.
There's a reason for everything God sets in our path. We may not know all the answers right now, but there is always a reason and we are always changing because of our experiences. So, keep learning and growing. Don't pass up opportunities for growth, welcome them, no matter how much it hurts. As Kelly Clarkson says: "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Keep reaching for the stars and for that far off distant dream of yours. One day you'll be grateful you did.