My sister and brother-in-law’s Aug. 22 wedding marked a monumental moment for the Rusch household; the first of the “six Ts” tied the knot and moved out of the house. Although it’s sad for me to see her leave home and start her own life, I grew up with my sister Tanya by my side: we played Barbies, giggled hysterically about boys, watched our favorite Disney movies, ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, did math and reading assignments and slept in our twin beds under the same roof, until we moved and she had her own room at our new house.

However, for our youngest sister, Tasha, who’s 10, it’s a different story – an important part of the family is gone. She understands Tanya and Shaun will visit and knows where their house is, but she yearns for the way it was before. She’s already told them that they must sleep at our house three nights each week. We all laugh, but probably share that same feeling.

As systematically as the leaves change from green to deep shades of red, orange, yellow and brown, life changes. Whether it’s moving to school, away from home or starting a new job, it’s important to keep pieces of home close. How can you do that when miles separate you from your loved ones and the places you felt most comfortable, including your home parish?

Though it shouldn’t replace direct contact, technology is one way to reach across miles – there’s Facebook, Twitter, blogs – which can keep you connected to your family, friends, even your church these days (read more on pg. 15). So, too, can knowing how to keep your faith and relationships with friends and family strong when life leads you in opposite directions (read how two couples did this on pages 10 and 18-19).
You might still shed a few tears, feel upset or lonely at times, but knowing that your mind is stocked with memories of good times, friends and family are a phone call away, and that God’s always tucked inside your heart, you can do anything.

Enjoy the beauty that life’s changes bring, just don’t let your faith, love and relationships become leaves that drift to the ground and get covered with snow. Let the changes cultivate your heart and soul so they stay warm and vibrant this autumn and winter, even if you are shivering. And may God bless you, wherever you are.