Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Letter (To My Much Younger Self) by Christie Smith

Dear Christie, 

I'm writing to you from the other side of the hill. Yes, you made it over the hill despite all the days you felt you wouldn't. I'm sitting here now at age 80 questioning what my purpose in life is now, because as long as I still have breath in my lungs there must be a reason. The wondering about my remaining days makes me reminiscent of the days when we were younger. Such a blessed life we had! But, oh, the days we wasted!!! So, I'm writing you this letter in an attempt to rescue you from all the "little things" that robbed you of your joy. Little things like laundry and expectations (both self-imposed and others-imposed) and disatisfaction caused by the fictitious lives you see on social media. Every one of your days were filled with so much happiness, and sadly, you missed most of it. 

You're entering the best years of your life. Every season of life holds its own pros and cons, but the remainder of your life can truly be the best if you embrace it. "Youth is wasted on the young..." How true that is! How true that has been in your own life. Christie, you've missed so much already! While your first born was lovingly looking up at you with so much trust and awe, you were staring out the window wondering what you were missing along with the loss of your independence. Thank God for second chances (and third and fourth and fifth chances)! And with each new chance you learned a little more about yourself and about God. That was the secret! The more you let go of yourself...your thoughts, your ideas of who you should be and of what your life should look like...the more you were able to see Him. And the more you saw of Him, the more alive you became.  

Now, you're almost 40. To many people, it is the beginning of a downhill journey to old-age. But looking back from where I sit now, it is the beginning of a life that will finally be lived the way it was meant to be lived. It is the start of a heart that finally beats and loves the way God created to love. Give your frustrations of the noisy kids and messy house over to Him! He will show you the beauty in the symphony and masterpiece He is creating in each one of them. Though the noise now sounds like a lot of wreckless banging on drums and piano keys (I know, I know...that is actually what it is at times), in time you will sit back and watch as their lives begin to resonate the Godly melody they were created to play. Find beauty in the details and struggles as they grow because when you are here in this quiet room forty years from now, that noise will be all you long to hear. The most beautiful symphony performed by the world's greastest musicians will never hold a candle to the music of your kids playing in the other room. Don't miss it!!!

And you see that man lying there asleep on the other side of the bed? You remember him, don't you? He's that man who at the age of 31 became a little boy again at the sight of you. The same man who met you on a Monday and said he wanted to marry you on Friday. The same man who moved the bathroom sink 6 inches because you wanted the shelves on the right side, not the left. That very man still does anything to make you happy today. And he is the man God has given you as an escort through every stage of your life. Friends will come and go, family will come and go, and yes...even your kids will go someday. But he will still be there because he loves you like Christ loves you. Selflessly. Unconditionally. Stop missing him!!!

The day will come (sooner than you think) when you will sit staring out the window, remembering these days you have now. You drudge through them sometimes as if they are punishment. One day you'll long for the noise and the mess and chaos. You'll wish for one more trip with all 7 of you crammed into the same vehicle. Your most precious memories will be of the simplest things...bathing the babies, friday night "pizza and a movie" nights all snuggled up together, lazy days of summer when the kids were home everyday driving you'll wish for just one of those days back. Stop missing them!!!

There are a lot of tips I could give you from this view looking back. Helpful financial tips. Useful advice concerning events to come. But this is the most important advice I can give:  The only way to enjoy life at 80 is to learn to enjoy it now, when you're 38...when you're 40, 50, 60. Because it's not about your age or season of life. It's not about how much money you have or how "good" your life may seem. It's about knowing God, trusting God, thanking God for it ALL. If you do your best in those things, you have the greatest gift this life has to offer. Gratitude is the miracle that turns your life into joy. Be thankful for it ALL. Stop missing your life by being ungrateful. Stop missing your life by taking it for granted. Learn to praise God and thank God and know God as much as you can, and hopefully, I will be writing a very different letter in forty years. 

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