When we were kids, my siblings and I created a time capsule. We put in pictures of ourselves, favorite phrases and sayings of 1989, magazines and newspapers, and a list of the books we enjoyed reading. And we included letters to ourselves, declaring what we wanted to be when we grew up and grand plans for the future. Who knows exactly where that time capsule is now…I am not sure if it even matters. It feels special looking back, remembering what felt important to freeze in time, wondering what our 30 something year old selves would say to their childlike counterpart.
Imagine speaking to your eight-year-old self. What would you say to describe this time, where you are in life, who you’ve become? Would you try to explain the oddities and tragedies of 2020? Warning yourself about what’s to come? Sharing the happiness, sorrows, unimaginable events, major life transitions or pivotal moments?
I don’t think I would share any of that. Instead I would look at the child and let her know, “Many moments will be hard, many will be filled with unbridled joy. But most of all, I want you to know, you will get through this. You may only see a mountain before you. But I promise, you’ll climb to the top. One step at a time.”
If my 80-year-old self could reveal my future, I don’t think I would want to know many details. Rather, I would hope to hear the exact same sentiments of, “You’ll swim this vast ocean, you’ll leap over the mountain, you’ll walk through the valley. You will get through this. One step at a time.”
Rabbi Yochanan told his students, “Go out and discover what is the good path which one should adhere to in life.” Meaning, keep walking in this world, discover goodness, follow it, and live life built on a foundation of blessing. But don’t let the bumps in the road or even, the wells that may seem indeterminably confining hold you down. Keep walking.
I see visions of myself as a little girl and again, as an older woman. And it fills my heart with a palpable peace knowing that the advice and guidance is the same. No major revelations of the future. Just a bit of wisdom, a sweet reminder that we will get through this, all of this, together.
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