This might be one of my first new years that I haven’t gotten excessively sappy or awkwardly nostalgic. It wasn’t as big a deal to me this year, and I’m grateful. I’m not as desperate to escape the last year, wipe my slate clean, or start again. In fact, I’d prefer to bring as much of this last year into the next as I can. I’m in the middle of too much. My lessons aren’t learned yet, and now is not the time to start over.
So here’s a letter from me to me because sometimes you need to speak truth over yourself. I hope some of you find yourselves with me, and please let’s learn together.
This year you fell in love with what you do. You’re practically smitten. I don’t think you’ve ever fit something more perfectly. I hope you can look back and remember how you found the heart in your work, how it became your daily worship offering and you knew that it was good. But more importantly, I hope you know that you won’t always be so infatuated. When that fades, work hard anyways. You don’t get to choose when and where to work hard. Earn trust and keep at it.
This year you loosened your grip on an old self. I’m proud of you actually. I know that you’re terrified to leave her behind, and I know that the new people you meet won’t know her. But Heath, everyone has an unknown backstory. Everyone’s childhood is special, and on the flip side everyone’s past has its pieces we simply don’t discuss. We’re all clutching grief somewhere, and we’re all terrified to lay it down. Unfortunately, there is no future in resentment, no future in grudges, no future in bitterness. But at least you have a choice here. So choose forgiveness, keep choosing it, and then please choose it again. When your pride breaks and you’re humiliated, choose forgiveness. When the people you can’t face are sickeningly happy, choose to have joy with them. I guarantee, hurting people back never fixed anything. Decide to forgive, and patiently wait for your heart to catch up. She’s out of shape, but she’ll get there one day.
You found out what friendship is, and what it is not. It is not finding mirror images of yourself. It is not ganging together with the others Heathers and giggling about the things you think make you guys great. How then would you ever learn a thing? It is resolving to grow with the people you’ve been given. It is a commitment to discovering who they are, and learning the things that make them so different than yourself. Let their strengths hold your weaknesses, and do the same for them. Let them show you your mistakes, and help them see theirs. Edit their papers. Let them give you hugs, and turn it into a slow dance just because you can. Listen to their words. Take them to heart. Pray together, sing together, love together. Hold one another in grace, and again I ask that you choose to forgive. Show up and show up and show up.
It’s ok that you’re not done learning, but don’t give up now. By the grace of God, you can do it.
Lean on truth, learn in patience, love instead.