I remember

September. I take my first running steps and settle into stride as my heart rate catches up and levels off. The air is brisk, clean, fresh. It is the perfect temperature for a 7 a.m. run: I can wear my black Oregon State University T-shirt and my onyx running shorts. My mind is clear, my stress level is low.
I don't remember if or when such a scenario actually occurred, but I do remember the feelings and that there were many scenarios similar to it in my early teen years. Autumn was my favorite season: irrigating fields was over for the summer, my birthday was in a few weeks, and every other Friday night my sister and I would attend my cousin's football game. Maybe we would get to eat ice cream afterward and stay up kind of late and talk.

I miss the simplicity of life back then -- so, so very much. I am on the cusp of my twenty-first birthday, and in just a few days I'll be back in Ellensburg, mentally preparing myself for the hardest exam I've ever taken. The last few months have been characterized by more panic and tears than should be allowed in a few years. I have had to face life-changing decisions, and I've been left wondering if somewhere I got my life totally wrong, that God never actually wanted me to study math or move away in the first place.

I remember when the simple pleasures of life were reading a friend's blog, reading a book, writing stories. Now the bloggers I once avidly followed have stumbled upon the same reality I have: adulthood. Now I have to fight to have the time to read. Now I want to write and appreciate stories, but know what a huge time commitment such an activity is, and doubt that I could ever make something of one of my stories anyway.
I remember the summers my older sister and I rode our horses six days a week, went to Rodeo Bible Camp, walked our lambs every day, and did irrigation in the soaked green orchard grass fields every morning. 

I remember not having to fight everything in my life for the time to spend reading my Bible and praying. I remember being actively involved in my church, studying the Bible and memorizing James 3 with Emily and Sarah, having girly talks with the Sapphire Sisters. Gosh, we all lied to ourselves. We thought being adults would make things easier -- we thought it would mean more time for us, more time with our friends. Our subconsciouses convinced us we would have glamorous lives, we would be able to get together whenever. Instead, now we have a harder time seeing each other than we ever have before, and even texts and Messenger chats are few and far between.

It's not fair, I tell myself. It's not fair that the nights Hallie and I spent talking for forever are over. It's not fair that there will never be another Friday night football game where I'm just a high school student fangirling over the Timberwolves. It's not fair that all of that ended way too soon, that my best friends all moved away to college or to other lives or to Bible school.
But who am I to complain like this? Can I tell God that the way He let things happen was wrong, that He made a massive mistake? Can I complain that I moved to San Diego for two months and met new people and found new friends? Can I whine about having the opportunity to research hydrodynamics, a relatively new field in applied math? Can I tell myself God hasn't blessed me with a loving Christian church family in Ellensburg? Can I say I'm not thankful that my friendship with my older sister is still strong in spite of the fact that she moved away to Bible school and got married young and lives four hours away from me?

I hate forgetting. And I want life to be as simple as drinking tea on a drizzly October day and cozying up inside with a book. But it's not. Life is chaotic and miserable.

But I cannot lose sight of the fact that life is also beautiful and good, and I think I have lost sight of this time and again the past several years. After all, life is not all school and books. It is not all work and studying. Life is mosaic -- it is full of friends, laughter, music, math, discipleship. And perhaps if I forget this fact, I won't be able to say “Remember the time when . . .” in the future.