I was browsing thru ORblogs last nite and in one of them the blogger spoke of a blog thread he'd come across recently. It was about what you'd write to yourself 20 years ago in a letter if you could send a letter back thru time. Now, how thought-provoking is that?! I've been tossing it around in my head ever since and this is the letter I'd compose to me:
I'm coming to you from the age of 54. At 34, you haven't lost your mother yet. You haven't lost your beloved Aunt Gin yet. You haven't lost your father yet. But all three losses are coming, one only a year away. You've never lost anyone close to you in life yet and, at this stage, you're already trying to prepare yourself for your mother's death because you know it's not far off on the horizon. I've come back to assure you that you will survive. They'll all devastate you for a time...and they'll all three haunt you at times...but you will come thru each one with grace and peace in your heart. You will know that each of them was ready to face eternity and that will give you great comfort.
You will become estranged from your brother T and his entire family. They'll cut first you and then the rest of your family, including your dad, from all of their lives. They will not be approachable. They will want nothing to do with you. And this will come as a crushing, hurtful blow to you. You will cry and pray and not know what to do about it. But I'm here to tell you that you'll survive this as well. You'll learn as you go along that you can't make everyone love you, no matter how lovable or kind or decent you are. You will grieve because you are never allowed to see any of your grand-nieces or -nephews. And the deep anger you feel when T ignores all attempts to contact him when your father is dying will abate with time as well. Some people, some things, can never be changed.
You'll face serious illness and come thru that with a totally different concept of what is important in life. You'll begin to realize you aren't immortal. You'll begin to take time to savor the good things in your life. You'll learn to appreciate them much more than you do now.
You're going to go thru some very deep spiritual waters. You're even going to leave your church for almost a year. You're going to wrestle with your very soul and question everything you believe. You're going to face yourself and see that not all that's happening is everyone else's fault. You're going to learn where your priorities are in that aspect of your life and pursue those. You're going to learn to focus on God, not on people. And it's going to make you much stronger in your faith. And it's going to give you an abiding peace that will remain with you...at least until you reach where I am now in life, anyway. Only God knows the rest of your future.
I think, most importantly of all, you're going to learn not to sweat the small things that come along in life. Somehow there's always going to be enough money, even if it means robbing Peter to pay Paul at times. You'll find that it takes too much energy to worry and fret over the things you face and deal with on a daily basis. You'll learn to save it for the hard things that come along. You'll find you have a lot of inner strength and resolve.
I remember quite clearly what you were like now. I want you to know that you're going to grow and mature into the woman you'd always hoped you would be. You're going to learn to accept yourself as you are and relax in it. You're going to learn to finally love yourself.
So hang in there, 34. It's well worth the journey.