i can't read a letter from myself at 30; so i'll write one to my 19 year old self

This is a little weird, but here's a letter from me. Or you... the 25-year-old self. I know at 19 you're trying really hard to put on a brave face. Trying to live up to expectations. But would you admit cancer sucks? You don't have to add "God is good & faithful" as a tagline anytime what you're actually walking through starts to come through in your words. cut all the "happy and you know it" crap. YES God is good & faithful; but ya gotta be a little more honest. It's k that you're bleeding & angry some days. There isn't a single good reason for all the suffering of cancer on this earth. its only going to get worse; so you need to get it straight right now: it's ok to not know. And people who make you feel like admissions of doubt or fear or hurt are questioning God? The ones who stifle you? Well they won't be in your life in 4 years. You'll benefit from gut-level honesty now vs. waiting til your mid 20s. Read Job. Read Romans 5-8, Ephesians 2. I know you think you're honest with God. But people around you need to know. Cause all this trying to be so strong & cheerful for everybody else is going to lead to lying to yourself. Next comes lying to God, and before you realize it you don't even know what your insides look like. The only way to kill doubt is to admit it. Confess it out loud. Don't try to pretend it isn't there. It's eating your heart into numb but you can't see it. Just tryin to save you some hard lessons later on.

Spend every weekend in Titusville. The group of friends you hang with? None of them are in your story long term. Don't avoid the hospital either. I know it kills you to see him dying. I know sometimes you gotta get coffee so you can bite the salt back. but you'll be SO GLAD you were there more weeks than not. Remember what sarah said. you'll regret not being there for the rest of your life so in feburary when you get off work? don't go home to feed the kids. go to the hospital first.

There's no nice way to say this. the nagging voice that says your writing stinks... that it's terrible and nobody would want to read it? it's right. your writing is awful. don't even try to be serious, please? you're gonna be embarrassed. you'll go just a few years and want to delete the whole damn blog! let's try to use spell check? maybe change sentence structure? stop talking about boring details? but don't stop writing. i think it gets a little more livable, (our 30-yr old self is probably laughing), but that's not really the point. whatever you do keep voicing. this place is going to be your only outlet through some deep darkness. because you learn to share the real introvert you here; you'll learn to open up to others. being transparent & raw & vulnerable is gonna make some friendships into a brotherhood. it's also gonna bring you the most intense pain yet and get you cut in the back a few times. but you come through it wiser. so that's good too. you'll be ashamed of some of the things you say now. your whole manner of saying them actually. lol but you'll STILL say stupid things in 6 years so don't stop. just try to think a little deeper. try to be brutally honest.

a lil encouragement...you're not quite as silly as you think. you are pretty dorky. & immature. but in fact. your appreciation for your church & your belief its always going to be a wonderful family; the way you trust the people you love; & your genuine excitement about the future yet LOVE of your mundane little life...those are beautiful things. you're not cynical yet. you haven't *really* tasted the price of your innate loyalty. the world laughs at you & yeah you're a little innocent. most of it's been taken, but you keep some. you'll miss it. Damn you'll miss innocence! there's a freedom in you that gets constrained. there could be more--don't worry about being your total self. not all the friends you think are lifers will be; and the ones that are? love you better when they know the worst things about you. you're too easily influenced. you're trying to be "humble" and less stubborn; but it's not the way you need to grow in humility. you're not confident in who you are in Christ. get that. you don't have to let others influence you; but you do need to welcome correction with a critical ear.

you have some incredible international travels ahead of you! you'll see breathtaking countries & have some insane adventures...yes, you do have "wake me up its too good for reality" moments coming.

i'm still waiting on the letter from me (you?) at 30 to tell me I'm in a better place than I think. to point out all the graces i'm taking for granted. cause i'm staring at cancer again and i already forgot just how ugly it is. but this time i'm not pretending its ok. i figured while i waited i'd write to you instead. maybe figure some things out faster this time. i'm hoping the 30 yr old me would say not to give up. i'm sure she'll have a little more Jesus instead of less so she probably will.

i feel like a narcissist...


Abi said...

Thank you for writing this. I only wish I paid enough attention and had enough wisdom to be the one to write it to you 6 years ago.
I'm sorry you're going through this again. My experience with the wretchedness of cancer isn't as painful and prolonged as yours, but I do understand better now than I did then. I love you. And I'm sorry. It's not okay, it's not natural, and it is okay to rage against it and weep because of it. I'm praying redemption, Heaven, shalom becomes more real and sweet to you on a much deeper level than destruction, loss, and death.
[^^^] always.

damaris said...

i realized later it's more 17-18 i was writing too haha but hey i can't keep my years straight...ain't nobody got time for that! ;)

you were going through your own heavy stuff, and you were only 18 Comrade. NONE of that was because people weren't paying attention to me; it was my own internal processing and such. mostly i just needed perspective now. somehow that gave it to me. you have always been a fantastic friend to me. [^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^]