Updated: Apr 6, 2021
It was time. It had to be done. We had left it untouched for over 10 years. The storage area had to be tackled. So my siblings, parents and I gathered and went through it all. A history of almost 20 years of our lives began to be unearthed. It felt like some kind of weird time warp. As I went through my precious boxes I was once again the 18 year old girl who had packed them. So innocent, young, and slightly naive. I felt all the things that girl felt when she was packing up her treasures. The heartache of having to leave a land she loved with all her heart and all the little details that made it 'home', The accent slipped that off the tongue like maple syrup, the sweet tea on tap, the hugs from little old ladies so delighted to see you, the spring peepers, the friends that only 14 years can make, the hospitality and politeness, the humidity so thick you could hardly breathe at times, the misty mountains. . . it was all so much a part of her. Just as much has the hardness of heart, and dark, critical thoughts were. And it was all about to be ripped away. The transition from that land to the rather harsh culture of the west was going to change her life. While the last 18 years of her life weren't a walk in the park the next 10 years held some pretty intense moments that would make the previous years pale in comparison. There were going to be some incredible adjustments, some deep hurts, and one of the darkest times of her life. I kept thinking if I knew then what I know now. . . and I began begging for that naive girl to grow up so she didn't have go through what was ahead. The current me whispered to the younger me,
"May His Grace find you.
May the prison bars shatter as His mercy breaks through.
May you find the love that you crave in the most unexpected places.
May you find that His mercy and His grace truly are new every morning.
and yours can be too. "
I wanted to save her, I wanted to tell her,
"someday you will realize--
the people you judge so harshly are the people who care for you the most.
the people you spit on are the people you are called to serve.
the heritage that disappointed you was given to you by God.
the judgment that you give keeps you from the grace you desperately need. "
But I knew I couldn't. I knew that girl would have to face every heartbreak, and every dark moment, every miracle and every joy the next 10 years would bring and best of all I knew who she would be at the end of those years. The girl whose heart was rather brittle and hard would soften and heal. She would discover that she could fall in love with a 'yankee'. That she actually likes her tea a little less sweet. That severe pain could bring some rather breathtaking and very ALIVE life. That the San Juans would never cease to take her breath away. That God would introduce her to a mercy and a grace and a love that she could hardly begin to imagine. She would eventually find herself surrounded with a beautiful group of friends and family that loved her. She would turn into a glorious mess of a southern girl and a western girl, never fitting in anywhere, but loved anyway. And as I opened the next box, I smiled to myself. I knew the younger me wouldn't trade her experiences for anything, and that is was ALL going to be worth it.