a letter to my future self {or, the days in which i learned to shine}

there will come a day, dear elena, when you’re going to need to read this, to remind yourself that all of life is seasons, and the hard times eventually give way to something soft and quiet, like the air after a summer thunderstorm. you’ll want to remember these days, what it feels like to turn your face to the sunshine, and the stillness in your soul in the midst of the busyness and chaos that swirls around you. you’ll long to hear the laughter of little ones you love that now fills your days, and you’ll remember that though it’s exhausting, you delighted in seeing them grow and thrive and learn. and there’s a contented satisfaction that settles itself in deep in your bones as you realize that you–yes, you–got to play a part in that.

these days, the air is sweet and heavy with possibility, and though it normally drives you crazy to not know where you’re headed, you’ve come to appreciate the joy of the journey. hope pumps itself through your veins again, steady and sure, and i want you always to remember, sweet girl, always remember that you belong to the resurrection people. life is hard sometimes, and you grieve and mourn and every part of you feels the loss. but you’ve come to understand that you’ll always find what was taken from you later on down the road; in a different form, perhaps, a different way; but found nonetheless.

these days, you’re drinking more tea than you used to, which seems like an odd observation, i know. but i remember the days when you needed to drink only coffee, when you needed something hot and bitter and heavy, something of substance, almost as if something in the way you cradled the mug in your trembling hands weighed you down, but in a good way.

but these days–it’s tea, sweet and watery in a chipped china cup, white and dotted with blue flowers. it’s more delicate, somehow, more frail; it’s light and airy and the way fresh feels in your lungs.

these days you’re learning to use your voice, starting to recognize that there is power and force and potential in the words you speak and the words you write out for the world to read. i remember when this used to scare you, the idea of speaking up, speaking out, being loud, but gone are those days. because these, these are the days of coming out of hiding, the days in which you no longer shrink back. i suppose it really all can be traced back to somewhere around your thirtieth birthday, in which you suddenly, almost as if overnight, started to come into who you are, who you’ve been meant to be all along. it happened without you thinking about it; it was quick and certain, and at once you realized:: you’re a person, a voice, a body, a heart and soul, and you started to own that. you began to fit in the freckled skin you wore for three decades, and at long last, there was an ease, a comfort, in which you moved with it that had never been there before.

dear heart, i want you to remember these days. i want you to engrave them on your heart, on the palms of your hands, in that secret place inside your mind that no one else knows about. there is something sacred about the act of remembrance; it calls truth into being, draws upon faith even in the midst of what is unseen. elena, i know; oh, how i know:: life has not always been kind to you. i know your heart’s been scarred and your tears have been many. i know you’ve felt the ache and the weariness of living in the thin place, in the messy-beautiful in-between. and yes, those days might come around again, but the darkness is not your forever. your very name, sweet girl–the essence of who you are which you carry with you always–your name means light.

you were made to shine in the dark places. 

Image

[Photo by Christian Holmer // Creative Commons // Flickr]

only two days ago, you read the scriptures and scrawled out the words of a prayer in your notebook:: “let me shine, Lord. let me shine. set me on fire that all may see me burn.”

these are the days in which you’re shining, and it’s so, so beautiful. and no matter what happens, no matter what tough times or unfortunate circumstances may come your way along the journey–nothing can take that from you. you’ll always remember in your bones the way it feels to shine.  and i know, and i’ve seen:: you always manage to find your way back to the light somehow.

love you forever,
me