I don’t consider myself wise by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve made mistakes upon mistakes in my life and I’ve certainly been fooled a time or two by fake friends, foolish crushes, and an overactive imagination. But I was thinking the other day that being young and naive can sometimes be a positive thing. I haven’t been crushed by the world. I’ve never lost my job or ruined my life or been jilted in love.
But being young and unspoiled does give me a unique perspective on the world and the way it works. I’m still at an age where I feel like I’m viewing a lot of things from the outside, tentatively dipping my toes in and mustering up the courage to just jump into life. To experience this world at its highs and lows and praise God through it.
I’ve been writing things for myself, to clear out my head and figure out what exactly is important to me. I don’t just want to stand by and watch myself growing up at a distance, fearful and nervous about what’s going to happen. I want to be an active participator in my life. Even when things are crazy and spiraling and unclear, I want to have a firm grip on my own decisions.
One of the things I was thinking about while I was writing and thinking and dreaming and praying this week was what my life will look like when I grow up and fall in love. It’s such a huge part of your life and sometimes it happens once and sometimes twice and sometimes three or four times before it finally lasts. But it changes who you are and I know that one day it will change who I am. So I wrote some notes to remind myself of what’s important and what type of person I pray I’ll be.
Someday, when I fall in love with a man…
I hope I don’t care whether it was a long time in the coming or whether it happened overnight. That it feels just as heart-throbbing either way. I hope I don’t make the mistake of loving with my eyes shut, but that they’ll be wide and open and burning with the newness and realness of holding someone’s heart. I hope I’m not afraid of sin and of imperfection and of uncertainty. That I give more grace than I could ever expect to be poured upon myself. I hope I abolish the cliches and do away with the ivory towers. That I remember that I’m not a princess, I’m a sinner. I hope that real, actual romantic love opens my eyes to my own need of God before anything else. That the man who gains my trust will be a man who values it and sees it for what it is. A small but important piece of me, and one that I give with risk but joy involved. I hope that love means a lifetime of imperfect but beautiful days filled with moments of soapy dishes and sticky day squabbles and late night kisses.
Someday, when I fall in love with a child…
I hope that its heart beating under my fingertips is an anthem of God’s faithfulness toward me. That every dip and dent of its head and crook of its arms and soft spot on its tummy is new and exciting and beautiful. I hope that my love for my kids is a deeper flood that undercurrents the arguments and the snappy comments and the days when I want to ship them off to Austria. I hope that my love for my Father is increased through my love for my children. That I realize grace and love and acceptance in new ways through my relationship with the soul that sleeps behind those blue veined eyelids. I hope that every black spot in my heart is exposed and washed clean as God continues to sanctify me through those “I hate you, Mommy” moments and “You don’t understand me” stages. That I can love my child through the sin and the tears and the beautiful moments that I’ve yet to even dream of experiencing.
But most of all, someday, when I fall in love with this life…
I hope that I remember it was a good one. Whether I’m twenty-seven or forty-five or eighty-six, I hope I’m happy. I hope that my years aren’t measured by the loads of laundry I folded or the total mileage I put on my cars. And I hope that they aren’t measured by the countries I visited or mountaintop experiences I felt or adventures I had.
I want to fall in love with my life for what it is. A dizzingly imperfect path cluttered with sinners and piled with gifts. I want to marry a man who sees my heart and cares about me anyway. I want to drive my kids for miles and miles and listen to them ask me a million questions and roll my eyes two million times and know that they are mine. I want to fall into bed at the end of each night and bump knees with a husband who loves me and pray for little hearts who have yet to fully know God’s love and know that my small but significant life is worth something.
I’m young and I love very deeply already, but I know that this love will only grow and change and mature through the years. And that the love I’ll know when I’m thirty and forty and eighty will be radically different and changed than it is at eighteen. But I’m not afraid of the future. I’m confident that trials and slopes and surprises and kisses and moments and prayers will make my life so much better than I could ever imagine.