A note comes along that evokes memories twenty years old and to my surprise, they are wrapped in sentiment. Crinkly, and a bit fragile. Don't overthink these, I say to myself, or they will crumble away and you'll wonder what the fuss was about. But glance briefly into this past chapter of your life, and you'll find a smile.
In that chapter that was the transition between the little girl I was and the grown woman I would become, I see that it was a season of the brightest possibilities, the purest friendships, the sharpest lines. Nothing was known, and I was certain of everything. Alternately, I second-guessed my every move while throwing myself into irrevocable trajectories. The future stretched ahead long and promising, the past a rosy glow, the present a fleeting gift held tenderly in my heart. I didn't want to grow old while I intensely wanted to grow up. Anything seemed probable, possible, eventual. My world was not defined by past choices; it was an open delta with a thousand paths, leading to any sea.
I love that bright-eyed, shiny-hearted, zealous girl-woman. She is a girl who would not recognize, understand, or maybe even approve of the woman she became.
But this is ok.
How could she have known that cracks can be cherished, that a broken heart grows larger, that being thrown from her high horse would allow her to take her first shaky steps toward grace?
My friend put it well saying, "I find God can take idealism and forge a stronger alloy with mercy and compassion."
I may not be as bright and shiny as I was twenty years ago. That girl might even call me a bit tarnished. (Yeah, she leaned toward negative labels like that.) But I'm defining myself as an alloy: a mix of idealism, mercy, compassion, and a few of the broken bits that have gotten left behind along the way.