it gets better.

One thing that drew me to our church was the bulletin. When we visited, there were a list of celebrations in the bulletin, things like, So-and-So got his Eagle Scout badge and This Person just completed a marathon. I wanted to be part of a church that cared enough to celebrate those things. In high school, I was the valedictorian of my class, and my church never bothered to mention it. I don’t know if it was anti-intellectualism or the fact that I was a girl or the fact that not many at my church were in public school. But I always wished that they had wanted to celebrate with me.

That caring has extended to other areas as well. I have posted a few things that I have written for church: an Advent devotion, some thoughts on prayer, my credo statement. I think my church family senses that I am able to work things out by writing about them, and they have given me space to do that time and again, for which I am grateful.

My most recent assignment was, as part of our fall sermon series, to write a letter to my 16-year-old self. It was supposed to be an It Gets Better sort of message. I agreed to write it and then found myself with almost nothing to say. Because sometimes it doesn’t seem as if it gets better at all. Sometimes it seems as if I am still that 16-year-old girl who feels left out. Sometimes I fight the same old battles. Mike read the first draft and declared it too sad. He was right.

Three drafts later, I finally had something that was both honest and not too sad. It’s a delicate balance, thinking about what to say to your former self. I don’t go in for a lot of regret, and I obviously do not want to break the space/time continuum by giving my former self information I should not have (nerd). I will be reading my letter at church on Sunday, and I will post it here on Monday. Meanwhile, I would love to hear what you would say to your 16-year-old self. How has it gotten better? What do you wish you had known? Where do you see redemption?

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