Letter to my future self
So I finally found a copy of a letter I wrote to myself quite a long time ago. Now I am 60 so it is interesting to compare how life IS versus what I imagined and hoped it would be.
Dear 60 year old Miriam (2019),
If you are reading this, you have managed to stay alive for 6 decades and even better, your memory is not completely gone, because you remembered where you put this or even that you wrote it! Ha! It is hard to imagine what life will be like where you are. Memories are fickle so this letter will be a record of how you thought about things, maybe even alter your perspective.
I hope you are well, wiser and thinner! There may be new inventions. Life may finally mirror the Jetsons. You may not even live in CA anymore. As I sit here at 47 (2006), I think that, if the past is any indication, you will have a great future. I know you left behind a beautiful home, an amazing church family and ministry and great friends in IL. You grew where you were planted! Good job! The memories and traditions your family made are sweet and hopefully you all will remember how they shaped your family’s mission to love God while bringing out the best in each other.
Time marches on. There are things that are rough with every move and I know you are sad to not own your home anymore. You are grieving the end of vocational youth ministry. Even more, I know your kids are struggling to adjust to life here and they are still grieving the move from “home” in IL. You have the perspective of time that they don’t have, so be gentle with them as you creatively teach them how to embrace change, navigate puberty and make new friendships.
Time and distance changes things; you know that, and in 15 years, you will be surprised at what God has done! It will be cool to see what new ministry doors God opens up and how your kids will grow in their faith and relationships with both sets of grandparents and their cousins nearby. Perhaps your kids will be out of the house and successfully launched and independent. One or both of them may even be married! Jim may be looking at retirement. Maybe you will write that book, finish that PhD or find another calling outside of junior high ministry.
I hope your parents and family members will be living; But, if they aren’t, I pray that you have learned to grieve with hope and joy. You are so fortunate to have healthy relationships with your family and hopefully those will continue the thrive.
There are some things that I don’t want you to lose sight of EVER – so here you go:
- Thank God every day for the man God chose for you and for the marriage you enjoy.
- Be grateful every day. It turns what you have into enough.
- Make sure your kids know that they are the greatest thing you have ever done besides marrying their dad.
- Don’t grow “Old”. Remember that the older you get the more important it is to act your age. Keep your mind active and open to new ideas. Read. study. Engage in conversations that deepen your faith and knowledge. May your heart always stay open to hearing and obeying God’s still and tender voice.
- Nurture your friends – at least the ones you want to keep.
- Laugh often.
- Discourage debt.
That is all I have for now. Be kind to yourself and look at the wrinkles, marks, and gray hairs as new “colors” in your life and you won’t fade so quickly! The “heirlooms” of vintage Miriam don’t depend on the exterior to hold their value.
PS Write back!
At the end of the letter, it says to write back. So here goes:
Dear younger Miriam,
Hindsight is foresight! Who can even begin to imagine what life would be like!? Yes! Time does march on! I am grayer and “marked up”. I think I have a different perspective because time does change things. At the same time, I am still holding to the same values I listed at 47.
Some things are as I thought they would be. Both my kids are “launched”. One is married. Both consider California home now. They both love Jesus. I still live in CA, although back in Downey! I still teach for Trinity and I still have a Disney pass.
Some things are very different than anyone could have guessed – The Cubs won the World Series. I became a widow in 2010. Jim’s dad passed away shortly after that. Others have gone on to be with Jesus including Aunt Janie, Rich Howard and Earl and Connie De. I no longer own a pet. My parents are still living, though many of their generation have run their race to the finish line. I didn’t prepare my kids for death – but I think it is on their radar since their dad went to heaven.
I don’t know if I am wiser, but I definitely not thinner! I am working in a ministry but I still miss the days when I was free to dream, teach and plan opportunities in a pastoral capacity. I long for heaven more than ever before and I changed political views. Life is still a wonder and I am blessed beyond all measure.
I wonder how life will look when I turn 75? I will wait and keep the faith with a grateful heart.
Talk again – as ever – Miriam