Friday, February 19, 2010

So while tooling around Facebook this week I came across the profile of one of my old high school boyfriends. 

Ha! How fun to see his photo after more than 30 years. Perhaps I'd have recognized him on the street, but probably not.

While I sat here looking at his picture I remembered the 'Dear Jane' letter he'd mailed me from college. Though not shocking (having sensed things were ending), still, it stung and I remember reading it over again, then ceremoniously (as only an 17-year-old girl can) I opened our woodstove door, probably whispered, "Fare Thee well," and tossed the letter into the orange flames. 

Then I went and took a long walk out into the snowy woods.

And while I sat here smiling at those memories, this thought came to me: "How foolish we are to become all upset about various stop signs in Life's road."

I mean, obviously that old boyfriend and I were not meant to be married. Not even. No, Tom's and my marriage is the quintessential 'made in heaven' type. (Well, mostly.)  シ

But at 17! Oh, what do we really know at 17? True, sometimes couples meet in their teens, marry, and stay happily so all their lives. But most often? Most often I think at 17 we are, well, just silly.

Me at 17? One day I'd want to be a teacher, the next week a writer in a lonely cabin in the woods (thus also fulfilling my desire to become a hermit). Then I dreamed of being a journalist. Then an artist. Then a professional ballet dancer. And every time a foreign missionary came and spoke at church? That's exactly what I wanted to be--a missionary.

At 17 I was changeable. Most kids are then. 

And yet? Here in Blogland I'll read posts from women who harbor intense regrets that they never became what they envisioned themselves to be at 17 or 20 or 25. They've based their unhappiness upon dreams yet unfulfilled at 35. Or 45. 

Always, that makes me sad, for what do we really know when we're young? Aren't we still being formed in those fragile years, formed into who we will be at, say, 50? Aren't our roads, our bridges, still being built at 25, the ones which will take us successfully to the end of our lives?

I think peace arrives when we realize some of our dreams were temporary, born only of certain changing desires. But God-inspired dreams happen. That is, when we cooperate with His way of doing things, though yes, often He allows for distractions, for detours and traffic jams, where we wander or sit only and wait.

Yet our God-inspired dreams will remain alive as long as we don't let go, give-up or ruin it in a forever kind of way. (Though yes! God often can fix even that. But I'd never test Him on purpose. er hem.)

One last thing? Usually, God's dreams for us, the ones He implants, can always be lived, even in tiny ways. Want to be an artist? Draw, paint, create. Dream of being a writer? Write, read, observe. Long to teach? Teach, learn, take a class. And on and on it goes. 

The best dreams, I think, are liveable ones where the delight rises up daily, no matter where we ended up.

Some dreams should be seen for what they were and set aside. But what is real will always rise to the surface. And God is wonderful at finding a way where there is no way to see those dreams, His dreams for us, come to fruition.


"We do the things we really want to do." Some people disagree with that old saying, but I've nearly always found it to be factual.



Patty H. said...

Once again I read your post and I'm wondering if you are somehow looking into my thoughts! Thank you! Patty H

Donetta said...

beautifully stated

Elizabeth said...

I thought I was the only one !
I always dreamed of living in a cabin in the mountains or on a island surrounded by water with just myself

Theresa said...

Such a wonderful post. I am turning 35 this year, and realize I am NOT the person I was at 17(or 25 for that matter). I am so thankful that God did not allow me to be what I thought I wanted to be. I am married to the right man and work in the right field......all of which I would never have dreamed of at 17. Your blog is my new favourite. I am inspired each time I read your wise posts.

Vicki/Jake said...

Awww. wise words again..
Me at 17? Changing diapers and feeding my son. Long story to share on my blog someday. And yes, how true that God is in charge...