what would I tell myself?

Six months ago I sat along the waterfront in Toronto after being assigned the final project of my degree. I remember feeling like I was standing at the bottom of a mountain getting ready to climb it, unsure of how the hike to the top would turn out.

Sitting there on a beautiful sunny day was one of those moments that I’ll never forget. Not because it was monumental or life-changing, but because I remember what it felt like to be still before the storm. Going back to that spot felt so weird. To reflect on all that has happened since that point in time was totally crazy, and it’s what gave me the idea to write from a perspective that I never had before.

I love to write, but I wouldn’t call myself a creative writer. However, this ended up being one of my favourite mindsets to write from. It was the concept of, “if I could walk up to myself as I sat here six months ago, what would I say to her?” This thought process was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had while writing, so I’m excited to share it in this post.

So without further ado, here it is:

I’m sitting on this boardwalk, and if I could walk up to myself as I sat here six months ago, what would I say?
Would I warn her of the stress that lay ahead?
Would I explain how she’d spend nights staying up until 4:30 AM to finish her degree, or that she’d pass her final and be okay?
Would I tell her how life-changing her trip to Alberta was going to be, or maybe keep that a pleasant surprise?
Maybe I’d tell her to prepare herself for the journey ahead;
that she’d face a loss in identity after graduating and that she wasn’t going to land a job right away.
Would I tell her that she’d lose both of her grandpa’s within one month? Or better question…would I even be able to do that? Would it be worth the pain in her eyes just so she could’ve tried to get prepared, savour more moments, and prayed harder?
I wonder if she should know that she’d be experiencing the darkest and hardest time of her life in just a few short months. That she’d experience emotional numbness – maybe that way she could somehow avoid it or navigate around it.
I guess she doesn’t know these things because she’s not supposed to. They remained hidden for a reason.
Those were not details for me to spoil, but I might have told her this:

Look up.
Look up and see the beauty and divinity that strings itself through your pain.
Look up and see how little you are in this great big world. Look up and see the hope you have.
It’s going to get dark, but the light is never gone.
It’s going to get confusing, but you have the best source of guidance and clarity on your side.
I’d tell her to cling to what is good and what is right, and not to fight against her emotions or pain, because they demand to be felt.
I’d remind her that she is more than a job title.
She needs to be encouraged to hold herself in high worth.
I’d tell her to embrace all of the grace she’s been given and all of the forgiveness she’s offered.
She should know that it’s okay to accept help, but also okay to process life alone.
I’d remind her that it really is okay not to have all the answers; because I know that’s all she wants.

I’d tell her all these things and probably more, but since I can’t, I’ll tell her what she needs to know right now.
She is doing okay as she learns to navigate the wilderness and the storm.
Here she sits again. Same spot, same time of day, same clear blue sky, just six months later.
Nobody knows where she’ll be in another six months, only God does.
Maybe all she needed to know she already did.
She knew that despite what lay ahead, there was Someone greater and higher than herself guiding her, moulding her, and protecting her.
Knowing that God was hers and she was His seemed to be enough to get her here in one piece.
One piece that’s been broken and put back together a few times.
Her faith is what made her hold on when all hope seemed to be lost. It taught her how to appreciate tiny moments of silence and big moments of noise.
Her faith taught her that her strength is not her own. It’s from the Lord, and it’s all she’ll ever need.
So she’ll leave this spot yet again, and maybe one day she’ll be back.
She’ll have experienced more hidden things and learned just how immensely loved and pursued by the God of the universe she is.
She’ll have overcome what she currently faces, but she’ll have new hardships before her to walk through.
Maybe then I’ll tell her that this journey called life never gets much easier,
but grace has gotten her this far and love will take her farther still.
If she keeps that in her heart, something tells me she’ll be just fine.

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