When real life begins

Dear sweet young self,  

    I remember you, dancing across the quad at one of the prettiest school campuses in the country. You were probably counting down the minutes until you got to see your fiancé again, getting ready for a class, or smoothing out your aria before your next lesson (spoiler alert: your lesson is going to end in tears. Again. ) I wince when I look back on how you bemoaned how gross the cafeteria food was as someone scooped food onto your plate FOR you, after fixing it FOR you, only to clean up and wash the dishes later FOR you. (I would give anything for Ms. Velma to hand me a piping hot plate of red beans and rice again, then put that plate on the magic conveyor belt that made all the dirty dishes disappear.) I'm sorry you're having trouble "finding time to exercise" as you walk everywhere with your friends in your single-digit size jeans. I'm sorry your Friday night plans aren't any more exciting than watching a movie with and kissing that cute boy you're going to marry. (My most recent date night with that same boy consisted entirely of an emergency late night run to Walgreens for feminine products and Preparation H, which I had to explain the purpose of to the 20 year old employee who was trying to help us find it.) I know you've received quite a shock recently in learning how much it's going to cost you to put blonde highlights in your hair, but swipe that card merrily, my naive self, for one day you're going to drop an even prettier penny buying Canine Crotch shampoo when your dog gets pelvic ringworm (Bonus question: who do you think gets that lovely chore?).

Remember when you said to that boy of yours "I'm just ready for real life to begin"  before you walked back to the eternal slumber party that was dorm life? That was sweet. And stupid. You had a lot of those moments. 

The thing is, sweet young college self, you still have those moments at 30. I still find myself thinking that "one day" holds something magical that today doesn't. I buy the lie all the time that one day, when the kids are older, when our day isn't ruled by naps, when we have family in town, when we can "abc", we will finally be able to do "xyz." It's a matter of what we put our hope in, really. Are we hoping in our circumstances or are we hoping in the good and perfect plan of our loving Father and enjoying the ride as much as we can, whether we're in that first slope, middle flip, or final tunnel? And the best part, at the end of the ride, real life really does begin. In the presence of the Author of our Story, we'll know real joy, real peace, real perfection beyond any ideal we could dream of in this world. And that's really worth holding out for, don't you think?