Sixteen years ago, I began my teaching career in a little rural town in central Virginia. I taught in that community for seven years…seven great years. I grew up so much during that time. I moved out on my own. I learned to balance my budget, my time, my commitments, my friendships. I gained so much experience as an educator by listening to the veteran teachers and sharing ideas with the other spring chicks. It was a fantastic formative time of life.
I drove back to that little town yesterday to buy a car. The previous owner lived there, and it was easier to meet her there than ask her to travel the thirty minutes to my town. As I drove back down those roads, the memories rolled in my mind. That was the road where my best college friend lived…she stopped talking to me when I went out with an ex of hers. Down that road was where a dear godly peer lived…she gave counsel to me when I was single and lonely. That long, empty stretch of road with the inspiring view of the mountains…that’s where I used to wish and hope that Mr. Right would come along and we would go hiking in those mountains together. And that little gas station was where Mr. Coulda Been stopped to make a call on a pay phone that one night we went for a long drive together…that was before everyone had cell phones. Oh, and in the back lobby of that school, my very first school, woo-buddy, I got a kiss from a short-term guyfriend that knocked my socks off…that was before schools had security cameras.
Back then, back when…so many of my memories had to do with waiting for Mr. Right, dreaming of him, wishing he was at the next intersection of life. Miles upon miles of road were shadowed with hopes deferred and daydreams clouded over.
I wish I knew then that it was all going to turn out just fine. I wish I’d had the faith to let go of my hopes and trust that God knew what was going to be the best for me. Those were the years of time that I could have traveled to see friends and family members. I could have worked some pretty unique summer jobs. I could have pursued further education then (instead of squeezing it with family time!) or participated in mission trips. I could have done so much instead of wasting my time on worry. Worry didn’t give me any more days to life, money in my pocket, photos in my albums, or stories in my heart.
On the return trip to my city yesterday, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw our new family car, filled with my dreams fulfilled. My amazingly patient, tolerant, and wise husband. My charming, athletic and goofy son. My precocious, adorable, and beautiful daughter. There were going to come to me in their time anyway. In God’s time. Nothing I did made them happen any faster.
My dear, precious, youthful peers…don’t waste your time as I did. You will fall for the wrong person a couple of times, probably. You will cry a lot, probably. You will wish someone was a little different so that he would be just perfect for you, often. You will wish that it was all really up to you…but it’s just really not. No matter how hard you hold on to the control of the situation, you can’t really control it. It’s in God’s hands. That’s maddening, I know. But guess what…the rest of life is too. You will always find yourself waiting for something…a new job, a new house, the money to do whatever…The sooner you accept the harsh, inevitable truth that you can’t do anything about the timing, the easier the waiting will be.
You are beautiful. You are charming. It’s not you…it’s the timing. So use the time wisely. It’s the only time you get. Where will you travel? What will you create? Who will you befriend? What will you learn? I’m excited for you because I already know that your dreams, which may look different in a few months anyway, are going to come true…in their own time.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)
(Notice it doesn’t say ‘the same desire being fulfilled that you hoped for’…‘
a desire fulfilled’…so go fulfill some of your desires!!)