Attics are amazing places. Every once in a while, I visit my parents’ attic, and in spite of repeated cleanups and giveaways, it’s still full of hidden treasures. Once I pulled out some of my school notebooks, and that was quite an experience! The neat first to fifth grade workbooks caught my attention first. Such innocence permeated every page, and the pictures and handwritten cursive sentences were adorable: “I love my mommy and daddy!” “My house is the best house, and I wouldn’t trade my family with any other place in the world!”
Then I found what looked like a diary. The pages were slightly torn and the calligraphy wasn’t so neat. My teenage writings had taken on a more rebellious tone toward school, toward the world and its injustices, and even toward my parents. My poor parents, how could I have been so disrespectful and unloving? God knows how many sacrifices they made for me, and they certainly didn’t deserve my harsh words. As a mother of several teenagers, I felt indignation toward my haughty past self and empathy for my parents. I couldn’t for the life of me remember what had motivated me to write or even think that way. In the end, I could only feel a whirlwind of mixed emotions and general confusion. Whatever had happened to the sweet little girl who used to write her parents such nice poems and cards? I felt so ashamed of myself I think I crumpled up some pages and threw them in the garbage bin.
For a few days, I carried this heaviness in my heart, till I happened to read a quote that shed a lot of light on the matter: “Your future self will always see your present self as unwise and immature. That means you are currently a fool right now, but won’t realize it until tomorrow.”1
Reflecting some more on the matter, I eventually had to make peace with myself, with that old self that I now perceived as rather unpleasant. I’m not the same person and have hopefully matured!
The truth is, life is a journey, and one day I’ll probably realize some of the things I’m doing right now are foolish and see my present self as immature. I just have to do my best and keep moving forward with God’s help.
- Timothy Keller