To You, Today.
It’s been ten years since today. A decade since you slipped away from a childhood that held on unexpectedly. Everything you think today is wrong, and isn’t that the best news?
There’s so much I want to say to you, but it takes me ten years to find the words. I want to say things that you shouldn’t hear. Maybe I would say, like a cliche’, that he’s not the one. You would hear it and pretend that you didn’t already feel it. And yes, seeing him fade into your past will hurt more and for longer than you expected. Perhaps I should say to you what you need to know, and it is this: this year is just the beginning of a season of lessons. The first lesson comes in November, just as the leaves start to change. This lesson is that love isn’t all that it takes, and trust costs truth. Truth that may feel a lot like betrayal.
One thing has always been real about you. You adapt. These coming years will not kill you, or rather they will not kill all of you. These scars will serve as armor. You will learn how painfully long an arm’s length feels. You will learn sleepless nights when the sun seems such a myth. Most importantly, you will learn to tell the truth to yourself and to others.
The church that is your whole life today? Your family? It does not want your adulthood. It sees you as a perpetual child, a fairytale it’s telling itself. A story to write. A piece of an impossible puzzle. A chance to rewrite their own histories. This same church body will pretend not to notice while your heart breaks into a thousand pieces. It will cast judgement on the ways that you struggle to gather the pieces, alone and away from home. So far away. Ultimately, they will cast you out, as if you had asked to be there. And then all of those adults that you truly love and trusted, they will just be people in a couple of years. You won’t remember the last time you talked to them.
Amidst all this, you will find the one thing you didn’t expect. This doesn’t sound like your love story, but it will be. You will fall in love with the one who sticks by you even when you try again and again to save them from the mess. You will feel Christ in your conversations. The boy with blue eyes will hold your hand as everyone else accuses you. Their callous words will be said in what’s meant to be your happiest season, pressing you to your knees on the very day of your wedding. Imagine struggling to breathe on such a gorgeous summer morning. But then, after a time, you will stand up. And in the afternoon, you will walk down the aisle. Nothing will be as you planned, but it will be perfect. You will learn real love while you learn real loss, and isn’t that the perfect story for you?
Truth sounds like this: you will never get used to the pain of detached pleasantries after confidence is gone, the clanging of small talk after familiarity is gone. You will work to thrive, but still struggle with a brain that scolds you endlessly, but makes excuses for everyone else. A heart that will not soften to normality.
Today, I sip coffee and I survey the healing that you have done. It still unfurls before me, with so much left to do. I am endlessly tired from the miles it took to get here. A lot of it still feels like yesterday. I look down at two blue eyes that truly trust me. I look up at two blue eyes that completely love me. Ten years later, I look back on the girl walking alone on a hot summer night. I want to hug you. I want to cast you away. I am still shedding your skin. I know you are still back there, and I know that you used to be me.