Thanks to my friend Jordan T. Hansen for the spark to write this.
Hey, you, starry-eyed 14-year-old Laura! I don’t want to dampen your spirits or startle you, but you might want to know about a few things that are ahead for you. Or maybe not.
See that guy you’re sitting next to? Gene Warfel. Well, you’re going to marry him. In about 26 years.
Between now and then, you’re going to date several guys, get serious enough about one to marry him, get divorced, and spend more time single than you ever dreamed possible. And one day, you’re going to have to say your final good-bye to Gene.
I know you love kids and that you’re dreaming of a big family ― 12 children, I believe it is. Well, you won’t give birth to any children. But you will help Gene, that guy from your high school speech class, parent his 3 teenagers. Now, don’t get scared! It will be way more fun than you think. And you’ll get to be Grammy to their kids.
You’re going to write a lot of poetry. You’ll get to see some published, and even get to read some of it aloud to some large and not-so-large audiences. But the best part about your poetry is that it will give you a place to be the real you and express your real feelings. Regardless of whether anyone reads it. Some wonderful poets will be your dearest friends. At one point, you’ll believe that you can make a living as a poet. Be prepared for that dream to evaporate!
You’re going to work at a lot of different jobs. Some you’ll enjoy. Many you won’t. At first, you’ll work because it’s a new, fun experience. Then, you’ll work because you want a career. Even though the career you want will change several times! Then, you’ll be working to support yourself. Your favorite job, the one you were sure God had designed just for you, will last for less than 3 years.
Money will always be a mystery to you.
You’ll have the most fantastic friends! They will add so much meaning to your life. Some will stay for many years. Some will be there for only a short time. Some will die before you’re ready to let them go. And some will outlive you. Some you’ll meet on the internet (Wait until you get to experience that!). Some you will meet through God encounters. Some you’ll meet at work and at church. Some you’ll meet in your college dorm (And yes, you get to go to U of I!) and stay connected with for life. Your friends will be the spice of your life, the spring in your step, the reason you keep going on many dark days. And you will treasure each one of them.
But the best thing that’s going to happen to you will happen when you’re 40. You’re going to meet Jesus. No, you’re not going to die then. But you’re going to have an undeniable encounter with your Lord and Savior. You will surrender your entire life to him. And that’s when the real adventures will begin!
I know this is a lot to take in, and I know I’ve left out a lot of details. But trust me on this. You’re going to have a wonderful life. There will be hard times. There will be good times. And there will be great times ahead!
So go back to that meeting you’re at right now with Gene and your friends. Enjoy every minute of it. And don’t be afraid to move forward. Ever.
Laura Warfel is a widow, writer, and follower of Jesus Christ. Her greatest joy is to bring others along with her on her faith journey. In 2015, because of the encouragement of the Launch Out Conference and Jon Acuff, she launched More Than A Widow on Facebook and Twitter. Today she blogs, tweets, and posts to help widows (and those who know them) find encouragement, hope, and resources for the journey. Her goal is to help all widows live beyond the label and live as more than a widow.
Copyright © 2016 by Laura Warfel