being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus
Christan’s Most Excellent Adventure
I’ve been thinking about my past a little bit. I think it’s because we’re going to our college homecoming in a few weeks and because rumors of a (gasp!) 15-year high school reunion are spreading like wildfire on facebook.
I look at my 33 year-old self now and wonder if I had that ultra-cool time machine that Bill and Ted had (remember when Keanu Reeves was nothing more than just a “dude” with a guitar?), when and where would I go back to in my life and what would I say to myself?
I know this question has been posed before. I’m not claiming any originality here. I’m just being honest. Because so far on my life’s journey, I’ve chosen to walk down paths I should have avoided and neglected to choose the ones I should. I can’t go back because shoulda coulda wouldas can be a huge waste of time. I don’t tend to go down this road too often. I’m not going to be like Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite living back in ’82, thinking things woulda been different if coach had just put me in.
This is just the when and where I would go to given the chance (and providing that seeing my future self wouldn’t upset the time/space continuum too much).
Fall 1988, my 11 year-old self before 5th grade started: “Be nice to your friends. Stop being such a snit. And don’t ever chase your brother around with a steak knife because he will NEVER let you live it down.” Yep, true story.
Sometime during my thirteenth year: “Listen to your mom. And don’t give her such a hard time. And respect your dad. They love you more than you know and ALL they do is because they love you. One day, I know it’s hard to believe, but you will actually ask them for advice. And you’ll take it. Oh, and it’s not all about you so stop being such a drama queen. Oh, and one more thing, your sister will become your best friend. Yeah, really.”
March 1993, the end of my freshman year: “Be nice to your friends, AGAIN! Do NOT get Doritoes and Dr. Pepper from the vending machine every day before 3rd period next year. It’s a bad habit that will carry over and lead to other bad habits the next twenty years of your life. Keep running. Join cross country if you can. And really, don’t care so much about what others think about you. In three years, it’s not going to matter anyway.”
October 1996, on my 19th birthday (and my first semester of college): “That boy you really like? You’re not going to marry him. There’s no reason to invest so much of yourself into him and that relationship. Foster your friendships. Grow closer to God. Learn as much as you can here and get involved as much as you can. And don’t go to Denny’s too much. If you do, just get the fruit plate.”
November 23, 2002, my wedding day: I’m pretty sure I’d just lie to myself because I (and hubs too) might have run the other way had I known what was coming. Just kidding. No, in all seriousness I’d say this: “It’s not going to be easy and you’re going to fight with him tomorrow. But enjoy today completely. And know that as much as you love him in this moment, it pales in comparison to how much you’ll love him in years to come. But that love will grow and develop in ALL seasons of life, just like your vows say. Don’t expect it to be all happy and rosy, but do expect it to be fulfilling.”
Sometime in the wee hours of a random sleepless night in May 2005, right after my first was born and hubs was at training: “You WILL sleep more than this. But don’t listen to all those people who tell you to feed on demand. Get this kid on a schedule. And treasure each moment because they pass you by so quickly.”
Anytime between September 2006 through November 2007 – the deployment: “He will come home. But some of his friends won’t. And when he does come home life will be different. And you’ll both be humbled. But, by God’s grace, you’ll come out stronger. Keep clinging to the cross because that’s the ONLY way you’re going to get through this.”
And finally January 2009: “Life’s going to get a lot more difficult in the next year and beyond before it gets better. Lean on the friends God has given you. Take their help when they offer it. Remember one of the Lord’s promises everyday to sustain you. It really is your daily portion. You’ll come out stronger, more confident, and less afraid of change. But for now, just trust that ALL of this is part of the refining process.”
If you are someone who knows me well or has spent time with me, you may be able to understand some of these at a much deeper level. However, if you don’t, I’m sure that you can relate to one or some of these. And I’d LOVE to hear yours.
So, where and when would you go to your former self to give advice? Regardless of whether or not you’d take it, what would you say? Comment Please.