Yesterday morning I was writing a recommendation for a friend who is going to start working on his doctorate soon. I was blown away by how much time has passed since we were college classmates. We are now both married and live on different coasts. And while I'm proud of what he has accomplished and excited about where I am in my life as well, part of me longs to go back to our college days. Back to the days when studying was the biggest worry in our lives. Back when we served the poor on our missions trips and fed the hungry on Friday nights. Back when we naively thought we were invincible and were going to single-handedly save the world.
I finished the email, pressed the “send” button, and turned to get on with my day.
Later, the same feelings of longing washed over me again. This time as I was putting away the tiny onesies and socks Lydia had worn in those first few precious days she had been in the world. She would never wear these little clothes again! I could only save them in a keepsake box for her to look at when she was older. Oh how quickly time flies!
For a split second, I wished that I could just freeze time and keep Lydia small forever. Just as I had wished I could have held on to those college days forever. But the Lord spoke to me in that moment and I saw how foolish those thoughts were. My friend and I have grown and done so much since our days in college. We have touched the lives of so many people and deepened in our understanding of who we are in Christ. We have married the loves of our lives and both look forward to children and more children. None of this would have been possible had we stayed in college forever.
The Lord told me to cherish the memories I've made with others, to put them in a box in my heart where I can pull them up whenever I wish. But he told me to not long for days that have already been. Each day is new and full of possibility. Every moment I am different than the moment before. I am stronger, wiser, more caring now than I ever have been in my life. Going back would mean going back to a self that is less than the self I am now. My old habits, worries, fears–they don’t fit the new me anymore. Just like my daughter's newborn clothes don’t fit her bigger and stronger body. I am a new creation. Each day I am being transformed more and more into the image of my beautiful Jesus.
“If anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation–the old has passed; look! what has come is fresh and new!”
2 Corinthians 5:17
“You have stripped away the old self with its ways, and have put on the new self, which is continually being renewed, in fuller and fuller knowledge, closer and closer to the image of its Creator”
Colossians 3: 9-10