Dear Me at Seventeen

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You’re 17 years-old now, and you’re on your senior year. Congratulations on making it thus far!

At this point, you may feel like you’ve grown up so much and that you know everything you need to know about life. You look at your juniors and you think, ‘How little they are, how vacant they look!’ And you laugh and look at yourself and your classmates, and you think, ‘How great we’ve become!’

Yes, how great you’ve become. But you will be greater. What you are now is not your fullest self.

But we both know that already, right? What I want to say is, the path to greatness will be very different from where you are right now. In fact, some time in the future you will have to climb down. You will have to stoop so low to get underneath the fence which separates you now from you in the future. There’s much humiliation and lots of challenges ahead. But you won’t be destroyed. What will be destroyed are the parts that can hinder you from living the great life you’re designed to have. Yes, it will hurt, but you will be grateful.

You are used to questioning stuff, heavy stuff. That is good, but you must learn to listen to the answers. You know you can’t just keep asking, just as a ship cannot keep sailing and a mouth cannot keep gaping. Eventually, the ship has to throw anchor, and the mouth has to shut. There are answers, believe me.

But wait; I know what concerns you: you’re popular now, and that’s quite an achievement in the high school life. Will this stay?

Dear me, you will learn that when God seems to remove certain people from your life, it means they’re just not for you. It’s neither their fault, nor yours. They can be really good people, and that’s why you always want to be with them. But then they have to move somewhere. They take classes or get new friends that change them. And suddenly, though you still talk to them, they become disconnected from you. The bond is no longer there. When this happens, it’s a sign to move on. Maybe they’ll be back later, maybe not. If they don’t, then I assure you, you will find that you’re glad they don’t come back.

And what about those who come and stay? That will be unexpected, too. You will connect to strange people from strange lands. You will see that, by God’s grace, it is possible to have the farthest people as your closest.

Also, don’t worry about beauty. I know you’re self-conscious sometimes, because all the other girls already look so mature and you’re… well, you seem to be a little late. All those advices about inner beauty, no matter how convincing they are, we both know the truth. But oh, just you wait! You will not only become beautiful, but you will also feel beautiful! Actually, you’re already beautiful even now, because that’s how God created you. It’s just that the high school world has a silly idea about what beauty is. Don’t buy into it.

Why do I keep talking about God, you ask?

Dear me at seventeen, this is the core of everything I’ve said to you: you will learn to trust God. I may sound like that little preacher girl who quotes Bible verses in the locker room. But I’m serious. Sometimes you worry so much, and you can be so prideful. Later, you will learn to listen to God’s subtle whispers and read His ways. His ways are much safer than your own understanding.

There is another form of greatness that you haven’t discovered yet. This greatness only He can provide. That’s all I can say.


You at twenty-three

Anna Elissa

Anna Elissa

Anna is a budding Lay Dominican from Indonesia. She's a medical doctor with a wide range of interests including language, art, theology, culture, and history. She loves sharing her experience and reflection through writing and social media (memes included). She blogs at her personal blog Bent Bow, and tweets at @a_elissa about faith and life in general, in a style that is hopefully both informative and entertaining.

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  1. Pingback: Dear Me at Seventeen - CATHOLIC FEAST - Every day is a Celebration

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