Letter to myself in 1987

Viqui and Keith Dill September 27 1987

Viqui and Keith Dill September 27 1987

September 27, 1987

Hi honey, it’s yourself, 25 years in the future.

I’m writing you this letter on your wedding day to let you know that everything is going to be all right.

I know you’re confused and I know you’re scared. So I want to tell you a few things that will help you have courage in the coming days.

But first of all, I gotta tell you girl, you are rockin’ that dress and your hair looks perfect today. When I think about how you could go bra-less today in that backless gown, I am so envious. Enjoy that while you can because it will not last.

Now, about the next few years: they will be challenging. Your new husband will wound you deeply and it will be about relationships. I don’t want to say too much about the ways he will disappoint you in the early years, but I will say that you will work it out. You have the stuff, girlfriend. You will not be alone and you will not be abandoned. Don’t be afraid to get help wherever God provides it, because He will provide it, and in surprising places. On this road, your friends will forsake you but you will find new sources of support. Your greatest strengths will prove to be liabilities and you will have to learn to lay them aside, finding new ways of living and loving. But don’t be discouraged. You will find everything you need just at the time you need it. And hang in there, it will all be worth it.

Now before you start thinking you’re going to become some kind of passive victim, let me say this:  inasmuch as you will be disappointed, you will also be a disappointment as a wife. And it will be about money. Sorry honey, but your fear will get the best of you and you will commit your share of transgressions. When it happens, don’t be too surprised. Accept the anger and eventual forgiveness that you will be given with grace. Forgiveness is the best gift ever. And hang in there for this, too, it will all be worth it.

As I write this letter, you will be happy to know that 25 years from now, my biggest problems are trying to find money for putting your kid through college and trying to deal with the sadness of having an empty nest. See? That’s not such a bad problem set to have. There’s a happy ending in your future.

So smile, pretty girl. Enjoy this day surrounded by the love of your friends and family. There will be time enough to deal with tomorrow’s problems tomorrow. And when troubles come, you can say “Bring it on.” You’re up to it.

Love you,

Viqui

 

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Blessed Are the Poor

I did not grow up poor. We were an upper middle class family. My dad, our primary bread-winner, was an engineer in the chemical industry and we never went without anything.

Once when I asked my dad, “Daddy, are we rich?” he told me “Yes, because we are rich in LOVE.” And that was that. We were indeed rich, rich in love, and pretty much rich in material things, too.

The Talent Show

Fast forward to 1973. I am sitting in the dark multi-purpose room of my junior high school, watching the spring talent show.

On stage is a girl with a guitar. I don’t remember her name but I knew her to be one of my classmates and the daughter of our school janitor. She sang a beautiful song she had written herself, set in a minor key, and with a simple message: don’t judge based on appearances.

I remember as I sat there, I could feel her own personal pain being poured out into the words and music of the song. She must have had a tough road, attending the school at which her dad was employed. We weren’t overtly cruel to her, at least I don’t remember being cruel, but we must have been distant and judgmental. I could hear that in her song.

Even now, 40 years later, I remember every word of that song. I remember her pain, and how she turned it into beauty which she lavished on all of us that day in the darkened auditorium. Here is what I remember:

Hey Hey Simpson 

  1. When I was just eleven, there was a fat boy on our block.
    His name was Leonard Simpson, and we laughed at him a lot.

    Singin’ “Hey, hey, Simpson. Fatty, fatty, two by four.
    Hey, hey, Simpson. Saw you hug the ugly girl next door.”

  2. He wore torn and tattered clothes. His old man cut his hair.
    He wore high-topped army boots, and sleeveless underwear.

    Singin’ “Hey, hey, Simpson. Fatty, fatty, two by four.
    Hey, hey, Simpson. Saw you hug the ugly girl next door.”

  3. That was eighteen years ago. Now I’m twenty-nine.
    Simpson died a while ago, a hero of some kind.
    They say a small young colored boy was pestered by a gang.
    Simpson helped him get away and was beat to death by chains.

    Singin’ “Hey, hey, Simpson. Fatty, fatty, two by four.
    Hey, hey, Simpson. Saw you hug the ugly girl next door.”

  4. Funny  how the years go by, success so lit by loss
    Reminds me oh so long ago of a man, some blood, and a cross.

    Singin’ “Hey, hey, Simpson. Fatty, fatty, two by four.
    Hey, hey, Simpson. Saw you hug the ugly girl next door.”

Blessed are the Poor

So thank you to that long-ago singer/songwriter. Your song still echos in my memory.

More than that, thank you for showing me the truth about who was really poor, who was really rich, and who was truly blessed.