When I was at home over the Christmas holiday, I began digging through boxes and drawers and browsing the shelves of my old room. Not much has changed since I lived there twelve years ago, which is one of the things I love about my mom. Our rooms are still our rooms and remain “as they were” when we three girls lived in them, although she has commandeered part of my room to use for furniture storage.
My swimming trophies and Care Bears still line the top shelf, my toe shoes on the shelf just below. My desk drawers are filled with the notes and letters of my adolescence, yellowed newspaper clippings and office supplies (I had an addiction even then). My jewelry box is still stuffed with handmade earrings, covered in gems and jewels, too big and neon for anyone’s good–a collection even Cyndi Lauper would envy. On the wall is the plaque I received for the highest academic average in AP History my senior year. And next to that is the plaque for the 1997 Citizenship Award from Hilton Head Preparatory. Behind my dresser is my art portfolio with every painting, pencil sketch, and pastel drawing since my first art class at age 8. Just outside my door are my awards for completing all four years of early-morning Seminary with 100% attendance. And next to those, framed in gold, is my acceptance letter to BYU. To the right of my bed is the nightstand that held my bubble-gum pink stereo, the stereo on which I would record radio shows onto cassette tapes so I could play and replay my favorite songs.
In fact I remember one morning. It was about 5:30 a.m. and I was getting ready for Seminary. I had the radio dialed in to the country station because although I’d not liked country music until then, Carlton Elliott (who I had a big fat crush on) liked country music and I needed something to talk to him about, so I forced myself to listen to it until I did (ay ya yai, the things we do when we’re 15 and like a boy!). So anyways, it was about 5:30 a.m. and the song “Please Don’t Take the Girl” by Tim McGraw came on for the first time and my tender 15-year-old heart couldn’t take it. I sat at the edge of my bed, my dim lamp barely making a dent in the dark of morning, crying my little eyes out over that three-and-a-half minute love story, willing God (right along with Tim) to not “take the girl.”
To the left of my bed sit my “missionary shoes,” duct taped and superglued, with holes in the soles and only half a heel left on each shoe. And sitting beside the shoes, stacked in chronological order, are my yearbooks.
I was never “popular” by any means. At least not after 6th grade when Adam Schwartz and I broke up. We’d been “the” couple ever since 4th grade, and with that came some measure of popularity. Actually, come to think of it, it was Brian Hollingsworth who called “on behalf of Adam” to ask if I wanted to “go out” with him. Mind you we never talked to each other, let alone “went out” anywhere, at least not that first year. But like I said, I wasn’t “popular” in the traditional I’m-ultra-cool-and-everyone-wants-to-be-like-me way. But I was friendly and I knew everyone. And everyone knew me. (Is that a correct assessment Meghan? I think you’re the only person from grade/high school that reads my blog.)
So anyways, over Christmas I spent the better part of an afternoon flipping the pages of each book. Scanning the faces. Reliving memories I’d almost forgotten. Remembering friends, and boys I was certain I “loved.” Feeling the flood of emotion that inevitably comes when you swim through any sort of reminiscense. Thinking about who I was. And who I am. Where I’ve been. And where I’m going.
I could see my personality taking shape even in my round 10-year-old face. I could see my life path being laid with every accomplishment and honor of high school. And I could see the truth in the scripture, wherein God says, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.”
I need to get back to that place. That place where I inquired more. Where I counseled more with the heavens. Because if I’m going to get where I’m going, I need that instruction. I need that guidance. I need the assurance that I’m in the right place at the right time today, so that tomorrow I can say the same.
This photo is for you Meghan. I do love it so. A seriously fantastic signature. Definitely the most creative one from 6th grade. :)