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Faith Relationships

When We Want to Linger in the Good Times

I remember the moment I was “over” high school. It was in my best friend’s car leaving campus for lunch.

Our daily freedom. Thirty six minutes of it, to be exact.

It was a warm spring that year. We rolled the windows down and the humid wind waltzed through my hair. For the next half hour, we could be who we wanted and go where we pleased.

Then and there, I decided I was ready to move on.

And yet amidst the chatter about breaking free, college acceptance letters, and graduation parties, something was different about the senior class that spring.

We lingered.

We’d sit on truck beds in the school’s back parking lot after the final bell. I found myself at sporting events I’d never been interested in. We stretched curfews on Saturday nights predicting which couples would make it past graduation. When classes ended, there was disappointment where there’d once been relief.

Deep inside, we knew the end of a chapter was near. And we weren’t ready turn the page just yet.


This isn’t the only time in my life I’ve wanted to linger. To take the batteries out of time for a moment, or a month or a year.

It happened just last summer when a friend called to tell me she was pregnant.

I responded to this announcement like any good friend would: with giddy laughs and gasps and as much love as you can send through a cell phone. But as soon as I hung up, I wanted to grab time by its shoulders and make it sit still for a while.

There was something between the lines of this announcement.

What I beheld was a memo to me about crossing over into a new stage of life. An old neon sign that’d been doing that buzzing, flickering thing for a while and suddenly found full wattage to read: “Approaching End of Twenties. New Phase Ahead.”

My joy became braided with nostalgia and nervousness, the way it does when we sense transition. I didn’t know what to think of it then, but I can tell you how it felt.

Like getting a blank card in the mail from an anonymous sender.

Like drinking wine you expected to be grape juice.

Like the last day of vacation.

Like riding a bike for the first time without training wheels, except now I’m the mom at the end of the driveway.

Faced with this new future, I found myself looking backward at things I’d labeled “better times” and “good days.” Islands off in the distance I’d point to and say “There. That’s where we should be headed.”

To days of free time and beach day trips. Of less responsibility and more spontaneity. Of sleepovers and first tastes of wine and sneaking out. Of last minute girls’ night outs and first dates.

But I am not the captain of this ship called life, and that is not where we are headed.

It’s been more than six months since that phone call and I’m just now allowing the dust to settle in my heart. There’s usually something more going on in me, if I pay attention.

Truth be told, I am nervous. And anxious. And I lay up at night and stare at the ceiling and wonder if this new future of late twenties and children and responsibility and buying homes and settling in will be as sweet as the past. I am holding up the nostalgia of the last five years against the uncertainty of the next.

I know I’m not the only one who finds reminiscing pleasurable. Memories are like fine wine that get better with age; the further we are from them the less we see their spots and blemishes. Thinking on childhood or high school or college or even my early twenties feels good. Like closing my eyes and sinking into the most plush, cozy chair you can imagine. It’s warm and sunny there, and you want to stay for the afternoon.

But this I do realize: If I’m reclining in reminiscing, I cannot see what is ahead. And I need to see. To reckon with the fact that I am twenty six, no longer a newlywed, and surrounded by friends in varying life stages.

Cultivating hope for this foggy future is hard work, and stirring up hope hasn’t felt so wearisome before.

But here’s what I know. That all the days of my life were ordained for me by God, written in His book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16).

And so I hold on tight to my Savior’s promise that He is working for my good. I can hold the past close to my chest and still keep my head up in expectation of a bright future. I don’t know what this next year, five years, or decade will hold, but I do know that God is with me and where He is there is light and abundance and true life.

So I hold on to the hope of good things to come.

And I wonder, too, if you could use a dose of this hope? It’s true that every decade holds transition. So, for all of us, there’s one we’ve just braved or one right around the corner.

Let’s be women who admit with honesty what it feels like to sail into new waters. Who will listen to one another as we point to the beauty of our pasts without the need to respond or correct.

Let’s give the gift of silence and of “me too.”

And when the time is right, let’s lift one another’s chins and gently point to what’s ahead, saying, Look. There’s beauty there. This new horizon. He promises it is good.”

 

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2 Comments

  • Reply Jami

    Love this!

    April 7, 2017 at 10:12 PM
  • Reply Erin McDowell

    ❤️❤️❤️

    May 20, 2017 at 6:14 PM
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