Disclaimer: this is not a disclaimer. Just a word of encouragement that I disguised as a disclaimer to tell you to dedicate the time to read this whole post. Thank you.
There are matters in my life and your life that we cannot simply comprehend. I wholeheartedly believe that God created our beautiful minds to be able to understand certain things and to also respect the fact that we will not be able to understand certain things. There are among a few individuals that try to destroy the respect that we are supposed to have for the incomprehensible aspects of our lives. There are just some things in life that we are never going to be able to fully understand. There are some things in life that we will grow appreciation and understanding for as we evolve from youthful and naive adolescents into experienced and knowledgeable adults. This is such a beautiful process. I am just 18 years old, but there are things that I have already reflected on in my younger years and grown an understanding for. There are things I think I know now, but deep down I know I will look back with a full comprehension of why things are how they are and why the events exchanged places in my life at the point they did. I cannot wait for these moments of realization. They are what confirms that life grows only more complex, but drastically more deep and important, the older we grow with age.
This past Sunday during church, my preacher mentioned that God had created some things that we’ll never be able to understand. This, of course, got my mind rolling. God and the concept of Him in itself, is something that the mind cannot fathom. He is wholly everywhere and real, but only through the way we express our undeniable and sincere faith through Him. God is kept real in the world through His followers, and that in itself is so under appreciated. Christians are so often ridiculed, judged, misinterpreted, and criticized. While it may be hard to be so different in a world full of those who constantly critique, we have kept something alive through our words and actions for longer than most “theories” have been kept alive. I think this is something we should be humbled by and gently reminded of when others are throwing rocks at our lives for believing in something greater than ourselves.
Sorry guys, this post is everywhere. My brain works this way, if you haven’t noticed. It honestly follows no train of thought. Just a bunch of complicated, intertwined thoughts that I would love to be able to fully express without confusion. My apologies.
My first thoughts about writing this post was to list the things I cannot fathom. Things such as God, why there are so many exceptions to the English language (this annoys me so greatly), how a microwave can cook my food so quickly, how we are expected to fall in love with someone and spend every single day of our lives loving them, science (science blows my mind, which is why I love it so dearly), why our parents will honestly go to extreme measures for us, why those with foreign accents always sing in American accents, PREGNANCY/FORMATION OF A BABY (honestly, how can you not believe in God when you see (or read/hear about rather) someone go through the stages of forming a life inside of her belly?), and soooOoOOOoo many more things that I cannot SIMPLY wrap my mind around. I can try and try and try and I just cannot explore the depths of these things to the measures needed to understand them. This is where I develop the respect for being unable to comprehend every aspect of my life.
So those were my initial thoughts about writing this post; however, I have now decided to take a different perspective on this post. Sometimes my mind decides to do this. Naturally I feel urged to follow the somewhat-organized-and-developed train of thought happening here.
I am eighteen years old. There are so many things I do not know. There are many, many things I think I know that are so very wrong compared to what I will know some day. This is the bliss of being young and “uninformed” (or dumb…I don’t prefer that word though). I am very blessed with an older sister, brother in law, and parents who can guide me in my life and always be available when I make mistakes and need some encouraging. Never ever take those who care for you for granted. I pray that my little sister always makes the best decisions and can learn from the choices and decisions I have made (good and bad). I honestly wish I could just shelter her from the cruel and demanding world, but of course I cannot. Just another raw and real aspect of life – it can be challenging and will change you.
I have decided to compose a letter to myself when I was just entering high school. I was 15 years old when I was a freshman. A young, but excited girl, anxious to grow up and experience high school. I have learned so, so much along my way.
Dear fifteen year old Mary Catherine Barber,
I am 18 now, and about to begin my last semester of high school. I honestly do not know where the time has went. When I reflect back on the past four years of my life, nothing but happiness enters my mind. High school has been everything you expected it to be and more. You have created some of the most beautiful and life changing friendships, lost some friendships along the way, and indefinitely created and found who you are as a person. As a 15 year old, I know the world looks so big and bright and encouraging.
I am here to tell you that at 18, the world is still so big and bright and even more encouraging.
I know that there are many things I could tell you to avoid. Some mistakes to dodge, but I would not change those things about the past four years. Those flaws are some of the most impacting aspects that molded me to be who I am. I will give young Mary a few pointers though.
- Not everyone is as they seem. People are imperfect, and so are you. Always be encouraging, understanding, and reliable. Offer a hand to the hand that says they don’t need it the most – they do. These are also the same hands that will reach out to you when you are in need.
- Previously mentioned, don’t forget that you are imperfect. Life is going to challenge you over the next four years. Embrace the moments you would rather not experience, and be grateful for the moments you are proud of. You will experience both of these different dimensions a lot in the next four years.
- Hang out with your friends more. Never forget who makes you happiest and never forget who is always there for you. Make new friends, and talk to people you would never expect to talk to. These people will uncover parts of you that you didn’t know existed.
- Never let anyone bring you down. Girls are going to not like you for a number of reasons, always be sincere in your words to them. Be nice to them, Mary. You will thank me later for this. Being mean is never a rewarding thing. Fight the urge to give into those who are gossiping about the girl that nobody likes.
- Read more. Trust me. The reading and science portion of your ACT will thank me for this. As will your desires to be an excellent writer. Start now.
- Thank your teachers, your friends, your family, your peers, your principal, and every single person that has extended knowledge to you. Knowledge is so important, and without these individuals you would not become the person you want to be.
- Don’t wear those holey jeans to the freshman year Homecoming Pep Rally. You are going to have to change because of dress code (and your brother in law will be the one sending you home, only he won’t be your brother in law yet, ha ha). Actually. Wear them anyways, they are cute and it makes for a great story.
- Be nice. To everyone. Be apologetic when you aren’t nice.
- Tell others about God and always stand firm to your beliefs. At 18, I can say that we have performed a pretty good job of remaining true to what we believe. There will be times you are tempted by everyday life; never lose sight of what matters in these moments.
- Experience the next four years entirely. Open up your heart, your mind, and your perspectives. Experience every basketball game, football game, friendship, relationship, fight, talent show, late night ride, early morning exam, study session, hilarious yearbook moment, bad lunch day, scary experience, family gathering, lonely night, and especially relish and embrace the moments you are surrounded by your classmates. They are some of your best friends, and you will realize this a little too late. Embrace everything. High school is going to be awesome.
When you panic Mary, everything is going to be fine. Your grades are fine. Your life is fine. Everything is better than fine…everything is great. You just don’t know it yet. Don’t be afraid to admit to others your flaws and mistakes. Take advice, give advice, and take your own advice. Love endlessly, love wholly, and love the next four years of your life. I promise, everything works out just the way it should.
An equally as uniformed about life, a little more educated about school, and just as excited for the future, 18 year old me,
Mary Catherine Barber