This morning we had a guest speaker, Pam, in church. Her topic was time, her message was thoughtful and, often, witty. Her Scripture references were appropriate. But the thing that will stick in my mind from her talk was her conclusion. She read a letter she wrote in this present time to her 18-year-old self.
The 18-year-old girl she addressed had just lost her father, broken up with her boyfriend of three years, and was facing the post-high school years. She did not want to go to college and just did not know what she did want to do. To this unhappy girl she wrote a letter of encouragement from the future. Pam had quite a witty way of talking to her former self, while assuring her that there were going to be many blessings in her future. One thing she said was, "Remember that cute boy you had a crush on in the eighth grade? Someday you will marry him. No, really!" She did not give away too much of the future, just enough for reassurance.
This made me think about myself at 18. How much of what I believed my future life's work would be actually happened? Not much! Would my life have been better if it had? Would I wish it had? Answer: I would not change my life. What I wanted to do at 18 was very good. I came to realize when it was not possible and my life took another course, that the good ambition was not a path really suited to my personal makeup. God knew better than I did. If I could go back and live an alternate life, I would not. The life I have lived, for all its ups and downs, is the life that has shaped who I am. It is the life that has given me my children and my grandchild. How could I wish for a life that did not have them in it! It is the life that gave me the joy of a beloved husband for 38 years. Even the grief of losing him too soon would not cause me to wish he had not been in my life. He, too, helped shape the person I am. Today is the 7th anniversary of his death, and I think of him with love and appreciation for his having lived and been part of my life.
How many of us have actually lived the life we envisioned at 18?