Dear Me in High School,
It’s hard for me to face you at all. I see you on stage in that play, your nervous bones, all the fire to be loved, to be called beautiful, your reaching out in art to feel the world beyond your long chert driveway. I’m writing to tell you that you’re right about a lot of things, but your perspective is incredibly short. You’re right. There’s more. There’s more. There’s more.
There are babies, and when they come out they’ll rip a wormhole straight into your spirit. You’ll pour out, and you’ll meet God inside yourself, where everything burns. There’s a man who isn’t dark in his heart, and he’ll want to kiss you when your breath smells bad. He’ll have broad shoulders and wrap his arms round and round, and he’ll forgive you even when it makes him want to die. There’s a church, and she’ll come to know you and show you how to love and how to eat Jesus’ words. There’s singing with the church until you die, and this may be the most important thing Mama and Daddy ever taught you.
You are good at empathy in love, and you like to save the boys. You’ll always be this way, think your works can save, your body and the way you move, the way you give yourself. I wish I could tell you to see beyond. There’s more. There’ll be people step in, unlovable, and God made you fast to love that way. You’ll learn the art of yoke again and again. You were never meant to carry the weight of another heart. You’ll never grow out of feeling deep and heavy. You’re a whiplash of emotion for a reason, but it may take you a lifetime to figure it out. I still find myself crying for the boys, only they are my own. Amber. You will birth four boys. You will walk around your house and say how did I get here?
One day you will “get saved,” as stupid as that sounds to you now; you’ll be picked up off the floor and given a new mind. Your story gets really dark before that. One day you’ll wake up and lay your body on the ground and offer up your breath. You’ll die that day. You’ll leave the room addicted to resurrection.
You never confused yourself for the good girl, not ever, and that will prove to be a good thing, because your callings are lowly. God will never not meet you low. I wish you could see far enough down the road to stop pitching fits about not being first or best, but apparently that’s a lesson that takes a while to learn.
The people who like to talk about our otherness and the deeper things for you are the potheads and soon-to-be junkies. I laugh when I say that these conversations were meant for the church, and oh there’s more. Wait for it. You’ll meet men from Ethiopia who descended from the eunuch. You’ll have friends who have seen the goodness of God even as their babies slipped away. The church is magnificent. Scripture is living. It will put on flesh and lay in the bed with you in hospitals. You’ll see miracles and filter the world like a poet, and you’ll have poet friends who believe with you.
It’s coming. Jesus is coming. Just hold on.
Yourself, Mary Amber, age 33
My dear friend Emily Freeman of Chatting at the Sky has written a book for young women. I flipped through the pages of Graceful, and I stood in my kitchen and cried. I actually cried for myself, my story, and I haven’t done that in a very long time. Oh that I would have learned from women like Emily about being graceful, pure, real, and free. If you have a young woman in your life, please buy this book for her.
In the meantime, would you want to write a letter like this to yourself? We would love to read it. Simply write it on your own blog and go to Chatting at the Sky this Friday, September 14 to link up!
This video makes me bawl. The end.