Dear High School Self,

Yesterday someone I went to high school with posted a bunch of photos from old yearbooks and high school memories that she found.  One of these photos is one of me during my Junior year of high school…

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Pretty stellar.  Someone I was pastor to in Corvallis posted below it that I look exactly like I did in high school. Her comment was that either I looked older for my age then or younger for my age now.  When she made that comment I laughed out loud.  I commented back that there are many grey hairs and lines on my face that didn’t exist then and much more experience but I thought that girl was pretty great.

I have been thinking about this interaction all yesterday and into this morning.  I have been thinking about how this world wide crisis is making us nostalgic but also allowing us to reach out in ways we haven’t reached out in a long time.  I have reconnected with a few people from high school that I haven’t talked to in like 20 years and others along the way.  I have been intentionally trying to connect to people to say…hey, you’re not alone even in the midst of physical distancing.  This time is allowing us to look back on our lives and think about things…for better or worse.

But this picture made me think about myself as that girl and about me now.  She was a pretty great teenager who saw the world with optimistic eyes.  If I met her now, what would I say to her? What would I warn her of or encourage her to pursue? Would I tell her to do things differently or just go for it? Would I tell her about things to come that I might have regrets about or different paths I might have chosen? Many movies are based on this premise and how we can’t mess with history, right?  Many people have these thoughts as they look back on their own lives.

So far, I wouldn’t change a thing. I might tell her to go ahead and dance more, you won’t regret it even if you don’t know the moves. I might tell her not to fret so much about not getting it all right. I might encourage her to come out a bit sooner…but who could actually know what they choose and why and how.  What I did was right for me when I did it.  Sure, I have been through painful stuff but that means I get to be in this place here and now.  If I am my future self, would I want to hear from myself now about the path I should choose? No, because I am living it now…fully….and need to learn what I need to learn.

I may have told that girl not to compare her body to others, it’s dangerous and never helpful. But that lesson comes in time.  It all comes in time.  In the meantime, I will live in the present moment and try to learn from it fully. Certainly this moment in time has much to teach us and has ramifications for so much to come.

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