The Unexpected Journey
I stared at the photo for several minutes before the memories returned. I still don't remember the day the photo was taken. I know I was seventeen, because it was taken in September of my senior year. With this memory recalled, more pieces fell into place.
I was dating my first husband at the time, and had no clue what was coming. I wouldn't say I was innocent, (my family could quickly illustrate that was not the case), I was however, naive. Growing up in a loving Christian home, I couldn't imagine the horrors some people could inflict on others. This young girl found out too quickly it isn't always safe to trust someone who says they love you.
Her eyes still hold the confidence and the assurance of the young. In many ways she was a remarkable young woman, accomplished and talented, with a lot of self discipline. Looking back, I wish I could regain many of those traits life gradually pounded away.
There are a few similarities. Both women still love to paint, to write, to be outdoors and be with family. This older woman is a bit softer, not quite as self assured, and definitely not as disciplined, but she has no desire to go back to being that young girl and repeat the thirty-three years the girl has yet to face. It wasn't until I turned fifty that life eased up in the crises department. I am too old and too tired to repeat any of it.
And yet, one thing this older woman has that the younger one has yet to gain - a deep faith in a loving God. This came about through the tragedies, through the trials and this older woman wouldn't change any of it, except perhaps the times she was unkind to others. A regret I believe most of us have.
Over all, I am happy with where I am in my life and who I have grown up to be. I have accepted my warts, my flaws, and my imperfections. I even manage to ignore my extra pounds and wrinkles on most days, and I can keep my accomplishments and talents in proper perspective, and still admire the end result.
It isn't over yet. I still have stories to tell and paintings to finish, places to explore and people to love, not to mention continuing as God's witness while I still walk upon this beautiful earth. Bless all young people just setting out on their life journeys. May God be with them, always, as He has been for me.