I woke up this morning and realized it was the last sunrise I would see as a teenager. It's a strange feeling, and has prompted a some reflections. I read once that at the end of a century people tend to look back on its history, just as at the end of a life people tend to reminisce. Well, at the end of teenage years, I think back.
I vividly remember my last day of being 12. I realized the importance of what I was leaving behind - anything pre-teen - and wanted to make sure I ended that section of my life correctly, and start off the next one properly. I decided that the last words I would say before I turned 13 were "God is good". I felt that that phrase summed up my life as it was and as I wanted it to be. At the time I shared a room with my sister, and we kept on talking, so I said it over and over to be sure it was the last thing I would say before I fell asleep.
I took a practice LSAT this morning - checking to see what I need to learn to prepare for law school. I don't ever recall even considering law school for more than 15 seconds (it was a joke once that caught my attention) until my junior year of high school. Now I am preparing to take the entrance exams next year.
Even earlier this morning, I translated a passage out of Greek to try to figure out a theological question my dad had that we were trying to see if looking at the Greek could clarify. I was interested in Italian at this point in my life, having no interest in Greek. (That interest was planted in 2009 when I went to Ukraine and my translators urged me to learn the Biblical languages for my personal growth.)
At the time I wanted to go to Ukraine, because one of the pastors from the church over there had come to speak to us and had sparked my interest. However, I would not go for five more years, and my extent of language knowledge there was limited to trying to learn the (Russian) Cyrillic alphabet that I found in a Russian-English Dictionary - far from the last time I was in Ukraine, where I was okay with the simplest conversations, and picked up a good deal of what was being said.
Let alone Ukraine, I had never been in a different country or even in an airplane. As of today, I have been on 23 flights and 9 countries (plus the Vatican City ... does that count?). My city experience was limited to a few days at a time visiting my Grandparents, while now I have lived in London for a semester (and actually managed to fall in love with it, not have anything stolen, etc ...)
I played the piano and really enjoyed it. I also wanted very badly to start playing the cello, but wouldn't begin to learn for more than a year. I had no way of knowing just how influential that would be, how deeply ingrained the desire to be a classical musician would become, and how painful it would be to have to let it go.
I wasn't even thinking of college much at that point - focused on my own business of writing songs and poetry with my best friend, and training my oxen. Now ... yes, I am in college, for better or worse.
Just a few reflections on how my life has changed!
Now, looking back on my teenage years, I marvel at how much has changed, and yet that one phrase that I consciously entered into this section of my life is still true. God is good. He has always been good, and I trust that He always will be. As I go into my twenties, a chapter from the Psalms that I particularly like is 103:
1Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
7He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
8The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
9He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
10He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
12As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
13Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
14For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
15As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
16For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
17But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;
18To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.
19The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
20Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.
21Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.
22Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.