Oh my. I decided to return to Facebook on a small-scale basis, keeping my friend list to only around 30, or so, and what greeted me the next day? This photo from the time I was in The Music Man at age 17. (I'm standing against the wall, first on the far left.)
Wow. Truly a blast from the past.
And you know? Some people long to return to 17, but not me. Well, I'd still love to fit into that dress which my mom made for me (oh!), but otherwise? Forget it. I'll take Today.
Six months before that picture was taken, I went through a terrible time--we moved from a town I'd grown to cherish and a church, especially, packed with encouragers who made me feel special for the first time in my life (which is huge when you're a teen). I'd left the first high school I'd attended up until the second week of my junior year and frankly, I felt devastated, almost to the point of having a nervous breakdown. I cried all the time, wrote letters constantly to the people I'd left behind and missed a ton of days at this new school because my misery weakened my immune system.
I was a mess.
But after a couple months of all that, God blessed me with a special friend, Tara, who's also in that photo, but standing behind the leading man (Scott, who I had a wild crush on), and God used her to help snap me out of my grief. I'd never before had one very best friend and she became mine and oh! The crazy things this formerly shy mouse and Tara did together after school, on field trips and on weekends. As they say, Tara was exactly what the Doctor ordered.
And too? Tara helped me return to joy and to one of my God-given purposes, which fortunately, I recognized early in my life, around age 14, there in that town from which I'd been ripped away. The purpose? That of using my writing to encourage people, to help pull them up when they were down. But after we moved I lost the heart to help anyone else--I was too wrapped up within my own pain, so determined to return someday to my old town and so bent on hating this new place where God had dragged me.
But again, along came Tara who befriended me, who helped me choose, once again, to help people as God wanted to through me--and He needed me to return to joy so that I could pass that joy along to others. After all, we cannot give away what we have left beside the road.
That, and Life sails by too fast to sit around, crying, over what's been lost. God and Life , always, move forward and we get left behind when we allow ourselves to stay stuck inside our own heads.
And of course, there's more to all this, but this is a blog post, not a book, and this former 17-year-old needs to get up and do some old-fashioned housework. Happily.
In case you're wondering, yes, I'm still in touch with Tara after all these years. She was also my maid-of-honor when Tom and I were married. I'm also still in contact with the young man seated on the far right who was two years younger than Tara and me and who had a crush on me at the time of this play. He and I were on the school newspaper staff together.
Ah, memories. :)
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." ... II Corinthians 5:17