A while back the Christian group, MercyMe released a song entitled “Dear Younger Me”. The song talks about writing a letter to your younger self. From the very first time I heard this song on the radio I began to think about what I could tell my younger self.
Dear Younger Me:
I could talk to you about our constricted aorta, a congenital heart condition that was caused by the rubella syndrome.
I know that it impacts your young life. It limits you in how fast you can run compared to your peers and is probably one of the reasons why you are always picked last to be on a team. I could tell you that you will play on a youth soccer team before junior high – but I won’t
I could talk to you about your cataracts, another birth defect that was caused by the rubella syndrome.
I know that your vision will never be better than 20/200 in your left eye and 20/300 in your right eye. I could tell you that despite our vision limitations, you will drive a car and fly a private plane before you graduate from high school – but I won’t.
I could talk to you about your severe speech impediments.
I know that because of your speech impediment you are so self-conscious that you do everything you can to avoid saying your first name out loud. I could tell you that after you graduate from high school you will fulfill your childhood dream of working in radio – but I won’t.
I could talk to you about your behavioral problems caused by ADHD.
I know that your ADHD was the cause of you getting expelled from high school and again in college. I could tell you that not only did you return to the high school that expelled you two years afterwards, but you also returned to the same college that expelled you to teach a very successful community education course – but I won’t.
I could talk to you about your severe depression.
I know that your depression has driven you to a couple of suicide attempts and several psychiatric hospitals admissions. I could tell you that for the last twenty-five years (and counting) you have managed your depression without medication and without even a single thought of suicide – but I won’t.
I could talk to you about your verbally abusive father.
I know that when your father said things like; “With grades like yours you are not going to be anything but a dumb garbage man or stupid janitor”, “How are you ever going to get into college if you cannot even spell college correctly?” and “I wish I never had children” throughout your childhood and most of your adult life, it impacted you.
I could tell you that despite what your father may have said to you at times, you will turn out to be a good man of integrity – but I won’t.
I could talk to you about your fear of being alone for the rest of your life.
I know the pain you feel as girls pass you by because you use a white cane. I could tell you that you will be celebrating 14 years of marriage this year to your dream girl– but I won’t.
I could talk to you about your frustration of being a disabled person searching for a job.
I know you feel people do not see past that disability and give you a chance to earn a living and contribute to society. I could tell you will talk an Internet Service Provider into hiring you when they were not hiring anyone – but I won’t.
I could talk to you about your ischemic stroke to your spinal cord.
I know that the ischemic stroke robbed you of the ability to run, walk, stand, dress yourself, feed yourself or even control your own bladder. I could tell you that you will regain control of your bladder (for the most part), feed and dress yourself, and will again walk with a rollator – but I won’t.
Younger me, I could spare you from the mistakes you will make, the worries that will race through your mind, and all those sleepless nights in your future by telling you about your future that you cannot see now. But I have a good reason as to why I won’t tell you any of those things in this letter.
I fear that if you knew that everything is going to work out during your darkest hours, you would not know the uncertainty that I endured while I fought and worked hard to overcome adversity, limitations and oppression.
You see, all those struggles that you will go through and I have already gone through, were placed in our life by God to make us into the person we were meant to be.
I can tell you that every setback you must endure, and all the difficult times that are in your future, will be worth it. Because when you get to where I am today, you will see that those struggles have molded you into an awesomely compassionate person who knows that his struggles have made him strong and successful.