Late last week, my family gathered together at my parents’ house. While there, we watched some old home videos. We laughed so hard our throats hurt and our stomachs cramped. Why was our hair like that? And, the clothes, what were we thinking? Anyway, in these videos, I ranged between 12 and 21 years old. As I watched, I alternated between thinking: “I was so different then,” to “I am still exactly the same.” Both are true.
I studied myself in the videos and wondered what I must have been thinking when I pumped my fist with joy at receiving a red button-down shirt for Christmas in 1987; or did flips and handstands in the swimming pool with my sister in Arkansas; or sat with arms crossed watching my littlest sister sing Carly Simon’s version of “Itsy Bitsy Spider” over and over (and over) again; or practiced my softball fast pitch with my cousin in Texas. Mostly, I could not remember.
But as I watched, so many years later, I felt a slight ache for this girl on the screen. I remembered how insecure she felt sometimes, how hard she was on herself, how much she wanted to fit in, that she was often somewhere else in her mind, and how she would shut down and compartmentalize when things were hard or she sensed pain coming. Everything in me wanted to go back in time, wrap my arms around that vulnerable girl, and whisper: Be gentle with yourself. Savor this time. Pump your fist and celebrate with every gift. Laugh as much as you can. Open your arms. Open your eyes. This pain will pass. You are not alone. You are loved no matter what.
Don’t you ever wonder what Jesus has to do with the day-to-day ordinary moments in your life? I mean, I know that everything we do is to be for God’s glory, but I’ve got to say, I don’t feel that all the time. It just doesn’t seem like eating dinner alone at my table or washing the dishes or struggling on the treadmill or cleaning out the cat litter or reading the rules of civil procedure could have any meaning at all. Maybe God is off dealing with something really significant in your life during those ordinary moments in my life.
Or maybe, in those ordinary moments, he is whispering: “Be gentle with yourself. Savor this time. Pump your fist and celebrate with every gift. Laugh as much as you can. Open your arms. Open your eyes. This pain will pass. You are not alone. You are loved no matter what.”
Do you have any old videos of yourself that you could watch? Or pictures you could look through?
What are you dying to go back in time to tell your younger self?
Could it be the same things God is whispering to you in your ordinary moments today?
Scripture to consider: