“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.”
― Henry Ward Beecher
“End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you remember when you were a kid and all you wanted was to just be old? Maybe not like wrinkly and eighty, but older. As in I-have-my-license-drive-a-car-do-cool-things-have-a-house-have-a-hot-husband-super-cute-kids-awesome-clothes-sweet-job-and-don’t-look-a-day-over-sixteen?
Please tell me I’m not the only one who every wished this.
But really. When I was a kid I thought about that all the time. I’d sit in my log and grass-thatched tee-pee hideout in my funny 1990-something clothes and think about what it would be like to be older. Life is always amazing in your day-dreams. And you can do anything… Be anything…
Weren’t those the days.
I can still see those sunsets of my childhood. Feel the bone-chilling cold of those rainy fall days, playing outside until it was dark and the moon began to rise. Remember what the sand felt like between my toes and in less than pleasant places that those little kid bathing suits just loved to capture so much sand in. I remember my imagination, my adventures, how I half lived outside. The pain of getting my finger caught between logs I was stacking as I built a forest hideout. Of carrying buckets of water to try to make a pretend well. Of hoarding miscellaneous pieces of wood to act as butter and bread in that outdoor pretend store…oh,those were the days.
In some ways I miss them. But in most ways I don’t.
And here I am now. Twenty-eight years old.
I was married when I was twenty. I had a sweet babe before I was twenty-five. Finally graduated (the first part of) college at the age of twenty-six. I’m now twenty-eight and I still don’t drive the car of my dreams. I’ve been married for seven and a half years and it just keeps getting better. Now there are two kids to spend my time with.
And I still think about what it will be like to be old.
I look at this picture and already notice all of the lines our faces didn’t have.
I’ll be thirty in two years. If I live to be ninety, one-third of my life will have passed by.
I used to be scared to get old. To grow up, live, and someday die.
But life doesn’t frighten me anymore.
As hard as it is to grow older, the easier it gets all the same.
What I didn’t know then, sitting in that hideout, holding on to my pocket-knife whittled stick sword and blue and gold painted shield, pretending to be a knight, or an elf, or some other amazing, immortal, half-mythical heroin was that… I would grow up to be all of those things and so much more (well, I still don’t have pointy ears so I guess I didn’t achieve elf status).
I am amazing.
I will live forever (but not on this earth).
And my life has a purpose.
I never thought I’d marry such a hottie (and what a story that was). I never thought I’d graduate college (never mind be working on my Master’s degree). I never thought that I would be anything more than a stay-at-home-mom (but my work is my calling). I never knew how much I could love (until I had my children). I never knew my purpose (until faith opened my eyes and love became my anthem).
Yes, almost-thirty years has been full of life and learning, of finding and becoming.
And so, if one-third of my life is over, I have no regrets. And if two-thirds of my life remains, I will live with confidence.
Of course because it’s me so I’ll have to bring up Tolkien. Who of course completely nailed it when he wrote about going out of your door. There really is no telling where you might be swept off too (I certainly never expected to end up where I am at today). But wherever it is, and no matter how dangerous the getting there was, it’s going to be amazing. Because the going out of your door is the most difficult part of the journey…the part where you surrender it all and decide to follow The-Giver-of-Life and pursue the purpose that was created for you, and only you.
So thirty more years will likely bring several more lines.
But it will also bring so much more life.
And if in living I share the Love and purpose that I have found with whomever I can…well..
Well, that’s what it’s all about.