I’m not sure where 33 went, or 34 or 35. But today I turn 36 and it probably shows.
I’ve got gray hair underneath the Clairol medium brown. Wrinkles settle against my eyes. And it was now 20 years since I was sweet 16. Twenty years.
Who knew back then this would be where I am now? Who knew I’d be learning how to be a wife to a jungle pilot in Indonesia, be a mom on four hours of sleep a night, make a home on a remote island, and be a friend to people who don’t speak my language?
Who knew that I’d never have gone to Disney World, but have climbed a volcano in Bali? I’ve never owned a home, but I share one with wild geckos. I don’t belong anywhere in the States anymore, but I’ve got a passport—actually two passports—stamped full of notes of my journey.
Who knew I’d still feel young and unsure and when I’m in a big city in America? But I feel old and wise and at home when I’m hanging with Indonesian orphans.
Who knew I'd have fallen in love, learn how to be loved, and experience it again and again every day, constantly surprised by its depth?
Who knew this doubter would have a faith that grows deeper in the hard things?
I still don’t know how this whole thing has happened. This getting older. This mom and wife and adult thing. This making life in Indonesia. This becoming both somebody and nobody.
But I do know that I’ve messed up, hurt people, have regrets, been wounded. I know I've seen big things happen and been granted forgiveness and made many right choices and have been healed.
I know I’ve said many, many goodbyes, endured much loss, cried for things I won’t ever have. I know I've been loved by friends all over the world, been given much more than I deserve and have celebrated over amazing riches.
And I know I’ve got one life to spend, and many moments to invest. And sometimes the investing happens in the middle of the night, or in the beginning of much pain, or with sweat pouring down my face and my hands trembling with fear. Sometimes the investing happens in places no one will ever see, or doing things that will be gone by tomorrow, or be done for people who never say thanks.
And many times, the investing is done in me, through others’ love and commitments, with their time and money, through their grace and forgiveness.
Who knows what tomorrow brings? Pain? Hardship? A dream come true? Another exhausting day as a mom? A painful thing said by a friend, or unfortunately by me, to a friend? Yet another wrinkle in my hesitant smile? A sickness? A gift? Another happy year of marriage? Room-filling laughter?
By God’s grace, I hope tomorrow brings life, and everything with it.
But as for today, I am 36 years old, and thank God that it shows.
photo credit, Jordan Eadie