January 22

Four years ago I was a senior.  In high school.  It’s hard to believe time could go by so fast as I now am approaching another graduation, a much scarier graduation.  In the past four years I have learned a lot about myself, about society, about friends, and about the strength of a family.  I have learned a great deal about money and how it sucks, about hard work, and how sometimes cereal is the best dinner.  I have learned a thing or two about child development and broadcast journalism.  I’ve learned how to make ends meet and that the beginning and end of month are the worst because every payment is due.

The second semester of my senior year I began a blog for my English literature class.  I suppose it foreshadowed what would become of my writing as I enjoyed the posts every week and worked hard to perfect them.  I was most proud of the first one I ever wrote, one I wrote exactly four years ago today!  I would like to share it with you all as it still rings true.  There are many things different today than four years ago.  Looking back life seemed simpler only juggling school and tennis most of the time.  However the story and feelings that I felt then remain real today and stronger now more than ever.  Thanks for reading!

January 22

“On January 22, 2004, I lost a little piece of my innocence; my youth and carefree attitude would never again be the same as it had been before that fateful day.  I lost my grandfather that day in only a matter of minutes.  One second I had been ready with my piano book in hand to go to my lesson and the next I was listening on the phone as my father told me my grandfather had had a heart attack.  From the moment I heard the idea that he could be dying it felt unreal, I felt I knew for sure nothing could ever happen.  Minutes later my mom came rushing in the door, telling me that we had to go to the hospital.  From there my world came crashing down as I witnessed my mom, my strong and fun mom, answer the phone and fall to her knees balling as she told my dad she was so sorry.  My grandfather had died.

On January 22, 2010, the opposite happened.  My cousin, Even Felipe Enriquez was born around 11:30 in the morning.  Six years to the day after my first experience with death, happiness was all that came from a day that had brought so much pain and sorrow.  I walked into the hospital to visit with family just as before but this time there was only joy in my heart.  I was not numb and there was no puffiness around my eyes.  I held my cousin in my arms and saw the goodness of life, the purity that it held, and its beautiful existence.

Looking back on the 22nd of January six years ago still makes me cry and as I write tears fall from my eyes, but instead of being numb I have a smile on my face.  A new life was born on the very same day.  A little boy that I will babysit, play with and who will make me laugh, that I will hold and celebrate with and watch grow into a man.  Life begins and ends in a matter of seconds, gives you hope and sadness, but also brings you love and joy.  God created mankind and gave else all life; He brought us companionship and gave us each other to laugh and cry together, to enjoy life with.  I experienced the grief that life can bring, but also felt the overpowering fullness that comes as well, that gives you strength and hope and happiness.

I felt like the monster in Frankenstein on that Thursday in 2004.  I felt pain and didn’t quite understand why things had to work out as they did.  I was let down.  But now today in 2010, I am able to feel something beautiful, as opposed to an end, a beginning has occurred.  Unlike the monster I was given life through a greater being than a human, I was given life by God.  The creature was created by Frankenstein, an imperfect human, and thus the creature could not overcome this.  I think about the life I had the privilege of knowing and of the life I now have the privilege of getting to know.  They were brought here by God and through this I can know their perfect and powerful creator.

I no longer feel the hurt I felt, but instead have cherished memories.  I feel joy for having known my grandpa for 12 years and now little Evan has a lifetime to fill with memories that I will be able to be a part of.  January 22 will forever hold a special place in my heart.”

I can’t help but think about my Aunt Cheryl after rereading this.  My family and I felt an enormous amount of pain following the days and months after her death.  Today it sometimes still feels fresh, I find myself crying in the car, thinking becomes too hard. And then I think about her son that she blessed us with.  A little boy only a year younger than Evan.  And all to brilliant to not make my heart happy.  God gives us life to leave a legacy.   This will never change.GrandpaIn loving memory of my Grandpa.
Cheryl and meAuntie Cheryl and I during my senior year of high school. EvanHappy 4th Birthday, sweet Evan.  I love you! JakeJake, you will forever have my heart.

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Made All the Difference

Three years ago today I graduated from high school. I was beyond thrilled and relieved to be done. I was free.  I was proud.  I was accomplished. And yet that fall I started all over again. I began the college career that I still continue today (yes, once again I have the feeling it will go on continuously).

My college years had a bit of a rough start. I wasn’t at my dream school, I wasn’t out of the house, I wasn’t experiencing what at the time I felt like everyone else seemed to be enjoying.

Like numerous others, I started at a community college and to say the least, I hated it. I felt out of place and confused. I was an honors student. I studied to do well in my classes. And yet I ended up at a school that accepted everyone no matter the grades, no matter the awards.  I started my first semester telling myself it was only temporary, a small transition, in a couple years it would be all over.

And then I experienced two of the best years I have had yet.

I made the tennis team and I can honestly say my life changed forever.  And it was all because of the people.  I met people, kind and fun people.  We cared for one another, we shared most everything with one another, and we still love one another.  The people I experienced during my “transition time” made the difference.  They brought my life out of the depression I had started to dwell in.

Today, I have one more class to be attended tomorrow before I conclude my junior year of college.  I am no longer a community college student.  I do not attend the college I used to dream about.  I attend a school I didn’t even apply to during high school it was so far from what I had in mind.  I attend my mom’s Alma Mater, my dad’s enemy way back when.  And yet had I not gone to a community college first I would have never ended up here, living the life I am, and somehow knowing this is exactly God’s plan for me.

Sometimes we think we know what’s best.  Sometimes we think we have all the answers.  Sometimes we think we deserve it all.  And then we meet the people who show us that we don’t.  Who show us that we are the ones that are different, the ones that are a little weird.

Robert Frost wrote,

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I started college with every intention of having the worst of attitudes.  I didn’t give it a chance, I couldn’t see God’s greater plan.

Maybe today you find yourself in a completely different place you had once wanted to end up.  Maybe you just aren’t happy with where you are at.  I urge you to look past what is temporary, perhaps God has a great plan in store and where you are at is exactly where he needs you at the moment.

Community college was my road “less traveled” and now looking back I know it “made all the difference.”

I grew up.  I matured.  I met people different than what I was used too.  I became a stronger version of myself who learned her true value.  My community college experience happened exactly as it was supposed too.  And all I can say now is thank God (and yes, I do mean the Big Guy above) it did, because I would not be where I am today or even more, the person I am today without those two years.

Dare to venture the road less traveled.  Have confidence.  Stay strong.  It might make all the difference in the end.

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(Just a few of the people who “made all the difference.”)