Dear 14-year-old Stacey,…

Due to the last month of crazy paper writing and lots of grading and insane coffee drinking, this poor blog has been neglected. I thought of many ideas for things I wanted to write in a post but had deadlines staring me in the face! So, here’s to a happy return after finally finishing yet another semester of grad school! 🙂 Not surprisingly, this post has something to do with one of my papers…

In an effort to work on a project for Arabic, I decided to write out some ideas to help me plan it. My project was to write a letter in Arabic to my 14-year-old self. The result is this blog post…in English. I assure you, my project didn’t turn out quite this deep or humorous, but it is a nice reprieve from all the craziness to be able to write all this. 

This letter is written to the Stacey who’s greatest worry in life was passing Algebra 1…

Dearest 14-year -old Stacey,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI know the book you’re reading right now is probably of more fascination to you than this letter, but I thought you might enjoy an update from the future Stacey. Yes, I see you putting down that book and looking up with interest. Before you ask it, no you’re not married, and yes, you’re still in school. Before you slump your shoulders with disappointment, let me explain.

In one year, you will begin studying this fascinating language called French. Study it well because it is about to become the main focus of your studies and will basically shape your life and provide you with amazing opportunities. However, it will also annoy you, follow you everywhere, take away your time and sleep, confuse you with its crazy grammar and verb tenses, and yet, you’ll keep coming back to it to learn more and improve. Crazy? I think not!

Yes, you’re probably thinking “What?” (really you should say “Comment?” or perhaps sparingly even “Quoi?”)

How did this happen? you may ask.

Simple: You fell in love….

with a language. Not quite what you were expecting, right? 🙂

Then, at age 16 you will find out that you can actually major in that language and you will know what you want to do. I won’t give away everything much like you hate it when Justin (older bro) or Jesse (younger bro) give away the ending of a movie. However, you do get accepted to Texas Tech with a major in French. Don’t look so surprised. You do survive math all the way through Calculus, so no worries on that end and you will love French. You even go off to France for a while at one point.

Why am I writing?

Because I know you! You’re a dreamer! You do build castles in the sky despite how much you claim you don’t. My point in writing is not to discourage you from dreaming. My counsel is that you need to realize that not every dream will come true. However, from the pieces of those broken dreams, you will build and discover new ones that will often exceed the ones you had before.

For example, this is a pic of you just two days before you will leave for France for the first time! Exciting, or what!?

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You see, dreams are important. But, you have to learn how to control them and realize that God is the one who ultimately guides your life. When you recognize His hand in your life, it becomes less of a crushing experience when things don’t work out like you wanted them to. Then, He takes your dreams and your hopes and will show you something even better than you imagined even if you don’t see how it is something better at the time.

Yes, disappointing things will happen and your heart will be broken. People will hurt you and let you down because, well, we’re all human. But, even when family or friends hurt you, you must never stop loving them. Yes, it will hurt and life will seem unfair and cruel. However, no matter how much you’re hurt, you cannot let that hurt determine your life. Just as Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress, you have to keep moving forward ever onward towards the Celestial City. Let the trials and hurts you face help make you a stronger and wiser person! Don’t let the hurt and the disappointment make you into a bitter and unforgiving person.

By the way, these people become some of your greatest friends and allies in life.

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11540_198715852501_5689400_n396248_623374052010_634838792_nI actually can’t even post pictures of everyone who will have an effect on your life because it would take up so much space. That’s the other thing, I wanted you to know. Life is not all about you. If you think that, you need to take a step back and rethink things. When you realize that life is not all about finding out what makes you happy and what you want to do, but instead how you can help make others happy and help others, that is where you will find true happiness. You will find that a lot your success in life is actually due to others setting aside time and energy to help you.

Just a couple more remarks:

“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth…” Ecclesiastes 12:1

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

Now, is the time to serve the Lord. Not later! Yes, I may be few years older now, but I still know this to be true. When you ask God to lead you, He will. His answers may seem late or not what you were looking for, but that’s not the point. The point is that you follow where He leads. This is the answer to life’s questions. I am also writing this to myself presently because I am facing some very important decisions that will have an effect on the rest of my life. Who knows? Maybe 10 years from now the older “wiser” Stacey will write a letter to the present me with similar or better advice.

Enjoy growing up though realize that even being a grown up isn’t all you think it is. 😉 There’s that little thing called bills and then responsibility, but I won’t get into that. Enjoy life and the journey!

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