A love letter to a younger self: featuring poetry, mosaics, and other bits and pieces

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It’s been a minute, well, several. I’m sitting here a little wide-eyed and out of breath, five days into a summer where (for the first time in my life!) the next few years are wide open. Wide open for me to dream, to meet new people, and to make big plans and continue to make make make. My learning will no longer happen in a structured environment, and I will no longer be enclosed within and committed to a few square blocks of intense academic and social stress. I am also grieving the loss of the gift of closeness to people that I don’t have to explain myself to, and that speak the familiar language of a close-knit community.

This summer I am working at an art museum and a french bakery, with people with experiences much different than my own. And it’s sometimes frustrating and difficult and wonderful. In October, I am marrying the love of my life and best friend! And we will get to live together in the very same apartment and live side by side for the rest of our lives! How beautiful is that?

And after that? Who knows! Yes, who knows. What a delightful and frightening and freeing thing to say.

I am leaving my undergrad experience with partially-mostly-learned-still-learning lessons: and I think that’s exactly the point. The important lessons we must learn over and over again, and every time we gain new insights or layers into the truth of them.

For my final piece of work in Arena, I revisited the poem On Being Considered Shy by Meggie Royer. (You can find more of her poems on her blog and in her poetry collection Survival Songs). The first time I spoke the poem my freshman year, I was mostly trying to convince myself that my quietness isn’t shyness. I am now able to speak the poem with a kind of clarity I was incapable of four years ago, with a confidence and belief in myself that just didn’t exist in my eighteen year old self.

One of my all time favorite quotes from writer Maya Angelou is the reminder to “forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.”

Makes sense, right? But can still be so, so hard, right?

If someone had told my eighteen year old self that I would be who I am and where I am now, I wouldn’t have believed them – seriously! My life is truly a miracle. I am thankful for the people that have loved me through their words and prayers and actions, who saw something good in me. I have never felt this joyful to be living, to be a maker. I find myself noticing color more, enjoying the intricate details of stitching.

Here’s to more re-learning, searching for and celebrating goodness, and finally having the time to begin reading the pages upon pages long book list I’ve collected over the past four years.

A few visual bits and pieces from these past few months:

The Final Beast, Frederick Buechner: Read the play for my Church and Theater class, and was stunned in the best kind of way – Can’t wait to finally read the novel.

NICK: But whatever this is we move around through – reality, the air we breathe, this emptiness – if you could get a hold of it by the corner somewhere, just slip your fingernail underneath and peel it back enough to find what’s there behind it…

I think a dance goes on back there, way down deep at the heart of space, where being comes from. There’s dancing there. My kids have dreamed it. Emptiness is dancing there. The angels are dancing. And their feet scatter new worlds like dust.

If we saw any more of that dance than we do, it would kill us sure. The glory of it. Clack-clack is all a man can bear. It’s holy ground. The whole earth is holy ground.


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