Weeks ago, I found myself packing up again and writing as usual on a Saturday night. My heart started thumping hard. I realized something.
I fell in love.
The night before my twenty-ninth birthday was bittersweet. I wrote of my frustrations of the past and hope for the future since I hadn’t accomplished as much as I wanted. I also went to a church meeting that evening. I arrived late and sat in the way back. I became frightened when I heard the speaker’s name.
From his comments, I gathered that it was his wife—along with her associates—who hurt me emotionally. I had worked at healing those wounds for years. I don’t think they still have any idea how deep the hurt went. The speaker said another thing that caught my attention: “A story without two sides is like a very flat pancake.”
I knew what I needed to do. Before I turned twenty-nine, I needed to forgive her and her friends. I needed to say hi to her after the meeting. I was scared, texted my family who knew the grief she caused me, and asked for their prayers.
After the meeting, I rushed up to her. She recognized me but couldn’t remember my name. But pretty soon we were talking about her life. It was a satisfactory chat.
I was still confused about things when I arrived home. Yet I felt I could let go. I wrote in my journal that night:
“You can still change your story while forgiving. I can change my story while appreciating the past. I don’t have to be stuck. I can move on.”
I forgave her and her friends that night. That was a number one priority. It opened doors for me. The Lord blessed me with more knowledge afterwards—especially in the areas of human nature and psychology.
Looking for the Good
Any adult who’s constantly mistaken for younger will understand when I say this:
Youthful looks can be a curse.
The “you’ll like it when you’re older,” statement is no compliment.
There are those who mean well. But looking younger adds complications in workplace and social settings as well as feelings of belittlement.
Someone surprised me with a never before heard comment after he discovered my age: “I guess that’s what happens when you don’t drink or smoke.”
I can’t express my shock and gratitude!
It made me realized I had been doing some things right. That epiphany was life changing. Though I still strive to look older, that incident certainly made me wiser.
Appreciating What I Have Done
Into the summer, I was still unhappy with poor decisions I made in life. I was counseled to “Appreciate all that you have accomplished.”
I started pondering not really my accomplishments but what I took away from that. Different kinds of strength. More empathy.
I also thought of things I completed the last year. Things I never dreamed I could do. It’s refreshing when you’re wrong sometimes.
Now go back to that Saturday night. Surrounded by boxes and pen in hand, I wrote poems about those I truly admire. I admire them because of their quiet actions they take to help people. I’m attracted to that kind of thing. Then I figured out I had unconsciously developed some of their wonderful habits but felt like an individual at the same time. I smiled when I went back to my poem. I ended my prose with:
“Hey everyone! I love me!”
Now that’s a huge transformation!
I want to express gratitude to those who see the good in me and know I can improve. I know there’s so much more I need to work on. However, knowing that I have already conquered beasts me confidence that I can conquer again.
There’s beauty in the transformation.
Photos by Sarah Patten