Dear Me at age 16,

You can stop worrying now.  The bass player is interested, believe it or not.  And godly and smart and kind, articulate, thoughtful, and brave.  He makes you laugh, will eat your burnt grilled cheese and rice with biscuits, and makes great pancakes.  Just be careful when you open car doors.  Put his needs above your own, and never take a minute with him for granted.  He is a rare one.

Speaking of worry, don’t let worry drain you of yourself.  Spend that energy in a way that matters.  Love people.  Be a friend.  Don’t worry about what they think.  Work hard because it’s worth it rather than because you think it will make someone like you more.

Even though Mrs. Metcalf’s class is a fun place to see the girls, pass the journal, hear about how much you owe Adrian for Yessenia, talk about your code-named boys, and plan for your award-winning Renaissance Magazine {both Emily and Bud will one day see “St. Catherine’s Ambrosia”}, take this time to learn.  Learn about the world; learn its great stories and failures and patterns.  Learn about why Napoleon mattered and not just the palindrome that reminds you he was exiled to Elba.  Remember why Machiavelli is worth remembering.  One day, it will not matter how heated the debate became.  You will still {mostly} believe that the end does not justify the means, but you will wish you knew what else made him so important.  You won’t have another world history class and you will really wish you had.

You have a family who love each other very much.  You are still figuring each other out and everybody, even you, will change and grow.  Cling to each other.  Notice what is so amazing about your parents, Emily, and Bud.  Your family has years of memories behind and ahead of you.  You won’t always live close by, so learn from them and let them know how much you love them, even now.

Take lots and lots and lots of pictures with them.  If you move to New Orleans in 2005, send your pictures to friends in Texas.

Learn to be thoughtful and sincere.

Your friends are a treasure.  Learn from them, love them; they will walk with you through life.  Others may come in and go out, but the girls are two special and unique relationships that many can’t say, at 30, are still so dear.  Enjoy being in the same state while you can.

Look outside of yourself.   Make it a habit.

God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.  That is in Psalm 103 and you will need to know that.

Don’t get a haircut at the beauty school, even if it is free.  Especially the week before your freshman year at Baylor.

Several foods that you will not eat are actually really good, including but not limited to:  potatoes, tomatoes, shrimp, avocado and all of its forms, and several vegetables.

Enjoy Baylor.  Keep your eyes pealed during Welcome Week, because the girls that look so familiar will become your roommates, bridesmaids, and kindred spirits.

It is okay that Baylor’s football team is not very good right now, and that your cousin’s team beat them so badly this season.  Their day is coming.

When you are planning your wedding, make it beautiful and thoughtful.  And do ask that seventh dear friend to join you as a bridesmaid.

When your husband is in Seminary, forget about the things you do not yet have.  You will, one day, have an income and a house.  You will be able to afford pineapple and will even buy two pairs of jeans on the same day.  Instead, relish in the things that make seminary a wonderful and unique season of life.  Learn and savor everything you learn and don’t rush it.  You will really miss Waco.

Most importantly:  There is a lot coming at you.  Some incredibly beautiful things and some really, really hard things.  And this is what I want you to do:  expand what you believe about God.  When you read or hear a Bible story, sermon, or text, ask yourself: “What does this tell me about who God is?”  And keep proving to yourself that He is more than you will ever comprehend.  Forget the burden of hearing the stories as a way of telling you how you need to be better.  Know God better instead.

{And for goodness’ sakes, when you write the letter to yourself at the Chicago airport, and you’re talking to the nice man about your trip to Chicago in 1998, it is Illinois that you’ve only been to once, as Chicago is not in Michigan.}

Love,

Katie

Graceful

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4 Responses to Dear Me…

  1. Cassi says:

    Remembering to enjoy each season of life is a good reminder.

    • katie says:

      It is. I was just thinking today, after visiting my new nephew, how my mom always says she was determined to enjoy every phase of life…for they are all temporary! A great lesson…

  2. Emily says:

    I loved this, Katie! Tim and I started dating as he was finishing up seminary. I can only imagine how tough (but beautiful) that season was for you.

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