I feel like new sunglasses. Like brand new pair of jeans. I feel like taking chances. I feel a lot like seventeen.
(Begin Again, Ben Rector)
Folks, I am glad to say that I think I actually feel a heck of lot different than I did when I was seventeen. Much more whole, less preoccupied with insecurities, filled with a hope and peace in the present and for the future that I certainly didn’t possess in those years when we are expected to feel almost dangerously alive.
I am full of gratitude today. I can only be thus, because we are not woken up arbitrarily. How I wish I could have told my seventeen year old self that!: you are here, breathing and struggling, doing homework, going to class, talking to the brother you desperately miss on the phone, because there is gift, there is purpose, in today.
But we don’t arrive alone at today–the sort of day when, despite the mundane-ness or the sufferings or the painful reminders of our sinfulness, we are hopeful. That is what I would tell my seventeen year old self. Not, Don’t worry, it gets better or Someday you’ll feel more whole. I would say Pay close attention. You are about to be blown away. Because He’s showing up, He’s going to bowl you over with the best He can give: people to walk with you.
The list is endless—a veritable cloud of witnesses! Many of course, have been walking alongside me since I made my first appearance 22 years ago. Some are interceding now for me, urging me on to seek adventure and give more mercifully and impartially than I did yesterday. Some are living their lives now in far away cities. Some are walking their first days as married couples, others their last first days as college undergrads. Some are in that limbo stage of job hunts, of the second year of their careers, the third anniversary with someone they never guessed they’d share their lives with.
But one way or another, despite distances, each one still walks beside me. And, somehow, (to my great and foolish surprise) people keep on walking into my life and walking alongside me.
For all these dear ones, walking alongside me from far away or down the street, Thank you. These days of birth are celebrations indeed, because they are the days that we become gifts to each other.