Several weeks ago on Facebook, an administrator from the seminary I attended posted several pictures of a group of us back in 2005 and 2006. It was a “Free Church” retreat (or otherwise known as a time for all the Baptists and Pentecostal Women to get together and out of the Methodist bubble of Duke Divinity School). I loved this event and its diversity. My third year I was even the student preacher. Many of my dearest friends from seminary were there to hear. Great memories!
But, as I looked at these pictures that I didn’t even know existed and from a time in my life that I hadn’t looked at pictures of in years, all that could come out of my mouth was, “What innocence!” Because whoa, did that girl in the pictures not know what was coming to her!
That girl in the pictures had no idea the pain, the rejection, the tears that would be as much a part of her story as all the celebration and joy. Life was not about the destination of graduating from Duke Divinity School. Life was about facing so many more giants!
Yet, there’s something about being in your 20s (single and unmarried kind that is) that makes you obsessed with things like, “What grade will I get in this class?” or “Will I get a date this weekend that might lead to marriage?” Or, “When I am going home for fall break?” Your world spins and falls on answers to such.
And as you enter your 30s and find yourself with a career, a spouse, and thoughts of having children one day that life gets all the more complicated.
Life in the big girl world is a lot more messy than you could have imagined on your 25th year while on a women’s retreat.
Some friends who stood by you and you thought would be in your life forever are not.
Some friends who desparately want to be married or have children are without still.
Some friends who you were sure would go through with their ordination vows quit ministry altogether.
And there’s you. You find yourself not loving the job you paid so much money to be certified for in graduate school.
You get everything you thought you wanted but it is not what you wanted at all.
God bless our innocence– the 20 year old kind.
God bless the light in our eyes.
God bless the brightness of our faces without too many scars.
God bless 25.
As I prepare to have another birthday this week and being another year farther from that 25 year old self, it’s ok that my innocent years are long past. Innocence can be exchanged for wisdom? I’ll take some of that please!