“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
My husband and I were heading down the highway the other evening when a memory stuck me of driving down this same road certain nights in my 20’s.
In those days, a restlessness and discontent rattled around inside me. Some nights, I hopped in my Colt and drove, often going for long stretches at a time. I had no specific destination in mind except away from the day-to-day reality of my life. Just being in the car, alone, felt like breaking free and reassured me there might be more “out there” somewhere for me. But there was always a tinge of loneliness mixed in. I’d glance out at the lights I’d see in neighborhoods that I passed, and wonder what it was like to have a house and family, to be settled and needed at home.
Reliving those moments, I began feeling sad for that 20-something who felt so full of angst. But then, a new and sweeter thought popped into my mind. I would not be surprised at all if it was the Holy Spirit intervening! Here was what I pictured:
Me, as I am now, standing in front of the me I was then. I put my hands on my younger self’s shoulders and say, “I know how unhappy you are now. But you won’t find your life speeding down a road by yourself. Things are going to get a lot better for you. You can’t see that yet, so you’ll have to trust me. For right now, though, hold on to hope. That has carried through so much already – let it keep you going now.”
It’s true that no matter how discouraged or angry or depressed I got in that time of my life, I never totally gave up hope. The smallest flicker of it always appeared when I needed to be pulled out of a funk. Was it the power of my own positive thinking? Hardly!
If I really could go back and talk to my younger self, I’d tell her that God is waiting for her. He loves her, and has always had a plan for her to be in a family – His church. And He has always wanted her to feel safe and settled – under His wings. Only one thing will calm the restlessness she feels, and it won’t be a longer road trip, but coming home.
I shared my musings with my husband, who smiled – he knows the journey I’ve been on. And I realized how wonderfully God has met my longings in ways I would never have imagined.