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One of life’s harsher lessons entails coming to terms with the reality of change—the fact that nothing remains the same forever.  Matter itself is in constant flux, ever-changing, a continuous and never-ending “rising and falling of forms.”  The following essay by a thoughtful twelve year old reflects on a painful move and the surprising new life it generated.  Beyond separation, loss and grief, the law of change may be a harbinger of growth in human life.  In his “Essay on Development,” the recently beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman declared that “. . . here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.”


by Sarah Chamberlain

October 11, 2010

ChangeThis is a story about an important person that changed my life. Her name is Molly. She helped me to accept the change in my life. Molly also helped me not to be afraid of change in the future. Change is difficult, but it is more difficult when you fight against it. She helped me to look forward to change as it changes me. She did all this without knowing it.

    I remember taking one last glance at the place that had been my home for the first five years of my life. I was leaving everything I knew including friends. I was going to an unknown place, New York City. I shivered, but not from cold. Unnerved I turned away, hoping it was a bad dream and wishing it was.

    I think back to the morning of my first day at Hutchinson Elementary. I was asking “mom do I have to go” even though I already knew the answer. Now I wish I could take those words back. Now I wish I was there back in the classroom with my teacher instead of here in a cold, hard wooden pew.

    I was in a church. Why? Why? Why? Why was I here? I clenched my hand. I knew very well why I was here, in an almost dark church listening to kids, some my own age and some older than I recite poems. It was because my parents decided to pull me out of school and wanted to home school me. This is the first home school group that we are going to try, it will certainly not be the last. The kids are too quiet. When we walked in no one was talking. No one said, “Oh hi, you must be the new kid” or anything like that. It was deathly quiet. That was earlier. While my mind wonders, I try to stifle a yawn. I feel like going to sleep. “How many more kids to go?” I wonder. I wish the day was over and it is and we go home. I let out a big sigh, “Finally”.

    The next morning I asked sarcastically, “What church are we going to today?” My mom sighed, “How many times do I have to say this? I’m sorry you didn’t like where we went yesterday. I see how it could have been a little boring for you.” “A little,” I mutter. I know I’m being cruel and my mom is just trying to do the best thing for me, but I don’t care. I feel bad so I’m going to make mom feel bad. When we’re in the car on the way to the new group, I apologize and she accepts it graciously after I had been so mean to her. Then I really ask her “Where are we going?” She says that the group for today is meeting at this lady’s house. This alone should have made clear to me the difference in groups, but no I was still expecting a solemn and formal group like last time.

    We are finally there. I jump out of the car and my image could not have been farther from the truth. This was a group of relaxed parents with children that were running all around. A woman named Sue, the lady whose house it was, said, “Hi you must be the Chamberlains”. Then she called for her daughter Molly. I barely noticed because I was feeling rather overwhelmed. When Molly came, I noticed how she was a year older than me and had blonde hair like I did. I soon learned that all nine McMann children had blonde hair. Molly showed me around. They had a huge yard with a great climbing tree, a trampoline, a swing set, and a pool. I was shocked at how much stuff there was. Molly and I soon realized we had at least one thing in common, we both loved to climb trees. Since they had a wonderful climbing tree there was no end to entertainment, not to mention the trampoline that I had barely ever been on.

    Over time I began to make friends with Molly and to go over to her house more and more. I learned to do tricks on the trampoline. We went to the New York Botanical Gardens which had a whole section for children our age. My mom taught me and on Fridays we went places. Sometimes we went swimming, other times ice skating. Every once in a while we went on a regular field trip to an old house or something like that. Molly and I became really close friends, having a sleepover at least once, but sometimes two or three times a week. When Mrs. Weir taught some kids Japanese, Molly and I grew closer still.

    When I first met Molly I was angry, scared, and sad. As our relationship grew I became less and less angry. As I began to see the world from a different perspective and my eyes opened a little with the help of Molly, I saw that my parents weren’t the demons I had imagined and had helped me more than I knew. The world didn’t look as bleak as it did before, but it wasn’t the world that was changing, it was me. I was adapting to my surroundings with the help of Molly. She didn’t realize how much she was doing for me and teaching me. I knew she helped then, but not until now do I see how much impact she actually had on me and my life. At that time I learned that change is good and it is part of nature nothing stays the same. If you try to fight it you will be hurt. I have learned to look forward to what will happen and change and how it will change me. Change will always be hard, but this knowledge will help me when the time comes.

    Molly is a good true friend who taught me an important lesson in life and for that I will always be grateful. She is an amazing example of a friend who is doing what’s best for her friend. She gave me a lesson that I will never forget without her knowing it. She changed my life by helping me allow for change in life. I will always think about her when I move and when I find something in my life that I find hard to accept.

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Last updated: 11/24/10.