Driving home from work one night, I heard this song on the radio, and I was inspired. What would I tell my seventeen year old self? I thought it would be a good opportunity to take some much-needed time out for self-reflection. I find that it's refreshing once in a while to take a good, long, hard look at my life and assess whether or not I'm "on track" with God.
Only once in a while, because taking a hard look at yourself is ... well, HARD. This growing up stuff isn't for babies, man.
So because I'm all about efficiency and killing two birds with one stone and all that, I decided to assign this "letter" as a discipleship task to our young adults Bible study group. Yes, I like to share torture.
I just wanted the emotional support. It made facing my teenage self seem less daunting knowing that other people were doing it, too.
Just a little bit.
Seriously, though, I felt like this would be a good exercise for all of us. Sometimes, with the days flying by, we don't take the time or make the effort to think through our actions, thoughts, and speech. We don't learn from our yesterdays to make our todays and tomorrows better for ourselves and for others.
Almost everyone had written their letters for the following week, and we invited people to share as they felt comfortable. Some were short, some were long, some were poetry, some were narrative. They were all meaningful.
But I gotta tell you, Nich's made me cry. Because in his letter to his teenage self, he talked about waiting ... for me.
I'd encourage you to try this. And be honest with yourself. You're not going to have to share it with anybody if you don't want to. I've scoffed when people use words like "cleansing" to describe physical and emotional rituals, but there really is no better word for this. It might take a chunk of time. You might have to keep coming back to it. It might make you cry. But it's worth it.
And maybe I'll be brave enough to share my letter to myself on here ... eventually.
P.S. On a lighter note, I think Nich's "Texan-ness" is rubbing off on me. I now am the proud owner of my very own suede cowgirl boots. And I think I'm hooked on Brad Paisley. Actually, that second item has nothing to do with Nich, because he despises country music. He's grunge. Child of the early nineties. Ha ha.
"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner