“We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.” ~Charles R. Swindoll
I had a dream last night. One of those dreams that are so real that you wake up disoriented, trying to remember where you were and what you were doing, so real that for a second you feel like the dream was real and the real world is just a dream.
I dreamt that I went back in time and met myself as a child - very young, old enough to talk but too young to know it was strange to meet your future self. She (I?) was walking around in the dark, looking for something or someone, I'm not sure...I didn't ask. I knew that this was my chance to tell her all of the things I wish I had known when I was her age, the things that could have helped me through the hard times.
My first instinct was to tell her all of the things about the world that are wrong. I wanted to warn her about how dangerous the world really is. About rainy days and dark nights. I thought of telling her about strangers with candy, mean classmates and bullies, people with hidden agendas, of broken hearts and broken promises. I considered warning her about things I knew she would go through - of the impending divorce, the moves, the new schools, leaving behind friends, leaving behind family, growing up and growing apart of the accident that would cause her to lose 3 of her teeth leaving her with a fear and dislike of dentists, of the haircut that would leave her looking like a boy and would cause the kids at school to make fun of her, of hiding in the library to avoid the bullies, of people who would hurt her, people she would hurt and everything in between. I wanted to warn her that her heart would be broken many times - not only by boys but also by friends, and in fact that the friends would hurt her more than any boy ever could. I thought of telling her about the dangers that lurk around every unknown corner and in every dark room - even her own. I thought about telling her all of this, I considered it and the words almost came pouring out of my mouth.
But as I prepared to tell her these things I thought about what I was about to do. And I realized that if I told her all of these things she would spend every waking moment worried and scared, expecting disappointment and heartache and sadness and anger, fearful and hurt, terrified of everything and everyone. And I knew then what I had to do.
I pulled her close to me and wrapped my arms around her. I looked her in the eyes. I smiled. And I started talking. I told her the things that I wish I had known when I was her age. Things that even now I sometimes forgot. I told her about the wonder and beauty of life. I told her about jumping in puddles and rainbows, about days at the beach and nights by the campfire. I told her about Almighty God watching over her and keeping her safe. I told her about teachers who would inspire her, challenge her and push her to work her hardest. I told her about friends who would stand by her and hold her hand when she was afraid. I told her about books that she would read that would open her eyes to worlds beyond imagination. I told her about days spent outside playing with her little brother and baby sister. About bike rides and walks in the valley. Of walking for hours and singing for days. Of dancing at clubs and dancing on stage. I told her about first love and first kisses. And of second love and second chances. I told her about all of the good times she would have growing up - all of the fun and laughter, the happiness and joy, the adventures and scavenger hunts that would fill most of her days. I told her about the many people who love her and who she loves. I told her about her mother, her father, her uncle, her brother and sister, her baby twin. I told her about all of the wonderful friends she would have throughout her life, of all the wise people she would meet who would guide her and teach her to be a better, stronger, kinder person. I told her how blessed she is and would be all the days of her life. And when I looked down she (I?) had fallen asleep in my arms, a smile on her face, comforted by dreams of family and friends and the happy days ahead.