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Shot Of The Day

Note to my 18 Year Old Self

With love for Spencer on the 30th anniversary of the day we met. Inspired by a piece by Emily Freeman, author of Grace for the Good Girl and Graceful.

September 11, 1982

Dear Kathy Clark:

Later on tonight you will meet a boy named Spencer. You’ll be dating a GQ model at the time you meet, but that won’t matter, because you’ve never met anybody like Spencer before. You’ll drop the GQ guy like a bad habit and spend every waking moment thinking about this guy. You’ll be so taken with him that you’ll want to do everything you can to impress him. You’ll make yourself seem better than you really are because you’re afraid he won’t love you if he really knows the real you. You’ll do your very best to hide all your flaws and to pretend that you don’t sin or get mad or blow deadlines or procrastinate. You’ll pretend to be a scholar and to have skills that you really don’t have because a guy as perfect as this isn’t gonna stick around for any ole gal. All your silly efforts to hide the true you will come to a crashing failure three months after you meet. You’ll be lying in an ICU ward with most of your head shaved fighting for your life and he will be right there with the real and broken you. You’ll go back to school with a crew cut and he’ll walk around with you on his arm like you are the queen. It will take most of your life together for you to finally realize that you can be known, deeply known, and still loved. You’ll have to go through hell and heaven to get to this place but you’ll get there. You’ll laugh harder than you’ve ever laughed with this man and cry the deepest tears you’ve ever cried. You’ll disagree and debate and beat dead horses again and again until they are really dead and can’t whine from the grave. You’ll learn how to ski and scuba dive, dry wall and dance with him. You’ll walk on the Appian Way, The Via Dolarosa and the Appalachian Trail with him. You’ll sleep in caves, bear cages, cars, tents, boats and hammocks with him. You’ll find yourself at home no matter where you go because he’s with you. He’ll spend the rest of his life with you. He’ll sit next to you at weddings holding your hand and at funerals weeping. He’ll pretend not to listen only to repeat your words years later. He’ll eat thousands of your undercooked, over cooked, uninspired, underspiced, too-hot-to-eat meals. He’ll stick with you through multiple weight shifts, moves, careers and first names. He’ll forgive you. He’ll listen to you repeat yourself thousands of times because you think he doesn’t understand what you’re saying unless he unequivocally agrees. He’ll hold your hair while you throw up and he’ll tell you the truth about things that you absolutely can’t admit to yourself. You’ll fight like hell to prove him wrong and in the end you’ll get on your your knees and weep because people who love you speak truth even when you bite. You’ll be grateful after you apologize for taking his head off. He’ll make you mad and crazy and nuts and happy all at the same time. He’ll remind you to exercise, take your vitamins, walk the dog, and eat veggies. He’ll commute 80 miles a day and be an awesome provider. He’ll love your mom and your family like his own. He’ll bear a child with you and the two of you will long for a future that only parents can understand. He’ll be able to finish your sentences and you his. You’ll know what he’s thinking and you’ll be able to predict his moods. 30 years from now you’ll be writing this letter and wondering why you couldn’t embrace the fact that we are all broken, just different broken. That your fulfillment in marriage isn’t about making him perfect or yourself, but from the mystery that we can be known and STILL LOVED. Like God loves us. He sees our deepest flaws, pushes us to walk toward him and away from our brokenness, but still takes the flawed us as we grow. He knows us yet still loves us. Dear 18 year old Kat, don’t pretend with this guy. Tell him that you’re hopelessly broken but that you believe God’s promise that we can be known and STILL LOVED as we grow toward Him. And remember that you can’t microwave KNOWING someone. It took 30 years for you to be able to write this. Imagine the letter you’ll write after 60 years! Enjoy your time with him Kat. He’s a gift from God.

Posted: 11 September 2012