Jud and I celebrated our 26th anniversary this past week. We spent the weekend at a cabin reminiscing the last 26 years and dreaming of anniversaries to come. Jud had researched what the ‘theme’ for the 26th anniversary is and surprised me with boxes of photographs–the modern theme for this anniversary. We spent a couple of evenings lazing by the fire with a glass of wine and laughing over the memories we rediscovered. At times, we laughed because we had no idea where the pictures were taken or who the people were in the pictures. Amazing how after 26 years events important enough to capture in photographs lose their significance.
Of course some pictures thrilled us because we saw many, many friends and relatives we haven’t seen in years. My grandmother, Gomama, looked beautiful and I teared up a bit missing her. The friends from Romania we met in Germany when they were refugees seeking asylum that they finally found in Canada. Our College and Career group from the church where Jud and I met. Me learning to hang glide.
And we saw our children. Vacations, birthday parties and just every day outings. The little girl face and little boy faces that I still see when I steal glances at them all grown up, but still my babies in my heart.
But then, we saw our younger selves. And we were very young! A couple of times I didn’t recognize myself with the big hair, more make-up than I wear now and the styles of the various decades. I began to wonder what that woman would say to me now. She had so much life, hope and love in her face that smiles back at me. I miss her. But I think she remains with me, I just have lost touch with her as I have with many of those friends in the pictures. As I began to listen for her and reconnect our relationship, I heard her say:
- Don’t lose hope. Life may throw many curve balls and you may have some game-ending injuries, but don’t stop engaging in living. What seems like a loss and incredible pain may actually redirect you on an adventure you desperately need.
- God really is with you … even when your heart holds too much pain to feel His presence. You will heal and experience His glorious love again.
- Remember to laugh. A lot!
- It’s only hair. Do with it what makes you happy in the moment. It’ll grow again. It’s only clothes. Wear what makes you happy in the moment. Take lots of photos so that you have fodder for #2….
- Remember to dream. Oh, many of them won’t transpire in the form you originally think; but dreaming gives you something to shoot for. In keeping the dreams open, you stay young and hopeful of the future.
- Keep your relationships. Friends and family are who give you strength when life knocks the breath out of you.
- Be happy you grew up. You have wisdom and maturity that keep you steady and calm when those curve balls fly at you. You don’t have to lose innocence, but it’s good that you lost naivete.
Oh, yeah. My younger self would also say, “Look at Jud. He’s so handsome! God must love you a bunch to put him in your life!”
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Jud! Thank you for loving all of me through the years. You make me my best self!
Look at some of your old pictures. Who do you see in them? What would your younger self say to you?