Monday, June 8, 2015

A Letter To My Younger Self

Michael,

  It's 2005 where you're at, and if memory serves me, you have two kids and another one the way; a daughter.  You left California a couple of years ago and returned to Georgia and you are currently living in a crackerbox house where everything is broken.  You're working two jobs,sometimes three and on the rare occasion you aren't overdrawn, you have about 5 bucks to your name.  You have a black Lab that always escapes.  You finally bought a mini-van after the wreck.
  Relax, as your older self. I'm going to make this easy.  I'm not going to give you any hot stock tips or tell you who the next president is going to be.Trust me, you don't want to know.  Also, I've seen enough science fiction movies to know that such plans always backfire.
  I will tell you this.  You won't always work those two jobs and you won't always live in that tiny blue house.   Someday there will be enough money to pay the bills. The minivan will eventually give way to an SUV.  In the next ten years you'll have opportunities in the ministry that you can't even fathom now.  That's the good news. You'll also watch people die, and you'll have church folks turn on you. You'll spend a lot of time trying to fix cars. You'll write one book that lots of people will read and then lots of books that nobody will read.  You'll have friendships in the ministry that are highly unlikely.   You'll say lots of stupid stuff.
  So here is  my advice to you; calm down.  Seriously. Not everything is a fight, although I know better than anyone that's exactly how you're wired. Don't get me wrong, I didn't get old and become a pacifist.  Some things are a fight,  but  not everything is. It will be all right. Your kids will be all right, although they will always be a little weird.  Quit worrying about having a daughter.  Daughters are wonderful, and  trust me, you won't ruin her, at least not so far.
  All of this is possible not because you're tough, although you are.  And it won't be because you're smart, because you aren't.  It will be because God is faithful and God in his mercy has been putting up with  knuckleheads like you since the dawn on time.  Just keep getting  up every time you get knocked down, and keep asking God for help.
  Oh, and be nice to your wife. Remember what Bro Fisher told you all those years ago in his office and be mindful of the fact that days are coming in which she is the only friend you'll have.   Those days will come, and those days will pass, though at the moment  when you're in the thick of them it won't seem possible that they'll ever end.  So be nice to her now.  It's worth the money you don't have to buy her something now and then. It's  a big deal to her.
  There you go.  That's my sage advice gleaned from about 3,600 more sunrises than you.  You were probably expecting  more, but tough, that's all you're getting.  My only concern is that you won't listen to me and that somewhere  up ahead of us in 2025 there is a grizzled old man writing a letter to me telling me to  calm down and be nice to my wife.  Even so, come Lord Jesus.


Michael S. Alford
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