I am home for Christmas this week. It is always fun to return home and get a taste of the chaotic, busy life that used to be mine. Not that it isn’t chaotic or busy in my life anymore – well, at least it is busy – but they are very different types of busy. Here in my parent’s falling apart house that was built in the 1900s, it is constantly a mess and in constant need of repair, but that doesn’t change the joyous attitudes of most of the people going through it. Every time you enter, you can count on being greeted with a gracious smile and welcome – and be offered food or drink every few minutes or so. My siblings are growing up fast but it has scarcely changed the chaotic nature of the house, as they bring friends through constantly. Friends who love coming over, despite the state of disrepair because of the love flowing through the house. Oh, don’t get me wrong – there are most certainly times with anger and impatience and well – let’s just say you don’t want to be around if my dad is in a bad mood. But a majority of the time, you will be welcomed with open arms and feel perfectly comfortable around my family. It reminds me every time that it doesn’t matter what circumstances you are in or how you grow up or what life throws at you. It matters what you make of it and who you choose to be.
Believe it or not, this isn’t actually what I signed on to say. What I signed on to say was much more bittersweet/reminiscent/and I don’t know what else. So my little sister just turned 18. I remember 18. Very clearly. In fact, it is hard for me to realize I am not still 18, but 28. She proudly showed off her room to me, which she just redecorated, having her own room for the first time in her life, as one of my other sisters recently married. I appropriately admired it, looking around at the dreamy Paris decor, the carefully decorated dresser, the re-painted vanity that had once been mine, and my heart sank inside me. I knew I should be feeling happy for my sister – for her dreams, for her room, for how pretty it all was, but instead I found myself feeling bad for – well – myself. For a moment I was back in my own room I had just finished decorating myself, which, ironically, I shared with this same sister (though she had no say in how I decorated it at that time). I was young, with a whole life full of possibilities waiting before me, and all my writing stuff set up just as she had all her music stuff set up. And I remembered being young and full of hope for what the future might hold. Not that I don’t any more – but – it is different somehow. It doesn’t seem as magical anymore – that ethereal thing called future. Now I am almost 30, married, with a full time job, and struggling to make myself write on the side, struggling to recapture just enough of that magic to make the stories I have wanted to write since I was 6 or 7. I love my life, I love my husband, I love my job – but – there is always that part of you that just wants to reach back and recapture that youthful moment in time when you had no idea what was coming.
Granted, I still don’t know what it coming, but now it seems more fearful to me than hopeful. But perhaps that goes back to what I started out saying. Life is what you make of it. Is there any reason that I, as a 28 year old woman, can’t still look ahead with hope and mystery, wondering what wonders God might have in store for me? Maybe if I looked at life a little more like that 18 year old I used to be, I will find that the present life God has given me is just as magical as the future used to look.
Ah, me. How bittersweet things always seem at 2:00/3:00 AM. I know I have said this before, but I am tired of being fearful. I am also tired of getting a sinking heart any time I look at anything that brings up memories of the past or reminds me of how fast time is flying. I want to enjoy what I current have and the memories I have, no matter how much time has passed. And I don’t know how to do that instead of being sad that certain time periods in my life have passed. I guess only by looking up to God and trusting that He knows all the right timing for where I am going in life, even if I thinks something went away too fast. I don’t even know if that made sense. So I will stop now. 🙂