I was having a conversation with a friend whom I’ll call Linda. Linda was sharing with me how she had to go back into her past and make amends with her younger self. Linda wanted to apologize to her younger self for allowing her to die every time life showed up. Linda shared that her younger self was vibrant and full of energy. She was outgoing, fun and the life of the party. She had big dreams and was raised to go after those dreams. But with every heartbreak, every setback, everything life could attack Linda with, a piece of her would die; until eventually Linda did not recognize who she had become.
Linda encouraged me to take a journey into my past and make amends with my younger self. Linda said the person she sees in my photo albums is not the person that she sees today.
I pondered that for a moment and then began to look through my many photo albums. I looked at the 20 something year old staring back at me and asked myself the question, “Where is she? What happened to her?” Linda asked me at what point did my younger self leave and my answer was hurtful but truthful. My younger self left when my long term relationship ended. That revelation brought tears to my eyes. But it didn’t stop there; life would eventually cause her to pack her bags and retreat.
I’ve given careful consideration to that conversation. I’ve played it back in my head over and over and over again. I’ve stared at the photos and remembered those moments in time. I’ve considered that 20 something woman and the woman I am today and drew a firm conclusion: I don’t need to find her. She’s not lost. She just grew up.
Twenty something Shannon was something alright. She was fly! She was cute! She was free! She was wild! She was outgoing and loved to party and have fun! Twenty something Shannon also did not have a shortage of admirers. There were many who yearned for the opportunity to cross her threshold. Oh yes, she was hot, and she knew it.
But twenty something Shannon can’t hold a candle to 50 year old Shannon. Sure, she may not be considered fly by today’s standards, and she’s more of a homebody than a party girl, but fifty year old Shannon is a woman of substance. Fifty year old Shannon has been saved, sanctified and redeemed. She loves God and has a personal relationship with him. She’s no longer trying to discover herself. She knows who she is and who she’s not, and she’s comfortable with both. She has a faith that is unshakable. She’s strong and resilient. Though she makes mistakes at times, she handles her business. When life tries to break Shannon, she stands flat footed, stares life in the eye and says, “no weapon formed against me shall prosper.” Since twenty something Shannon packed her bags and retreated, fifty year old Shannon experienced job loss, she buried her parents, she was homeless, she was evicted, and she’s had her heart broken…again. But she handled it all with grace. Fifty year old Shannon knows how to love. She knows how to forgive. Shes a prayer warrior. She’s open to new experiences. Fifty year old Shannon is passionate and compassionate. She’s settled and she’s fine with who she is.
The tale of two women is about one woman who has grown through the storms of life. Twenty something Shannon, girl you were the bomb! But you are a moment in time. A fond memory; strong in your own right. But, fifty year old Shannon, girl……you are God’s masterpiece, his calling card. You are fine as aged wine and graceful to boot. Keep shining girl! Because God is not through with you yet!