I am 16…going on 49

I continue to be amazed at the way life works; how seemingly random threads can begin weaving themselves into a perfect tapestry right before my eyes.

pembridge house
Who got to keep the punch bowl?

Recently I had an opportunity to take my daughter to Toledo for a voice audition. I spent several high school years just outside Toledo, and hadn’t been back in 30 years. My mother made the trip with my daughter and I, and after the audition we managed to find the house where we used to live.

Of course it looked small. And forlorn. But then this was the last place my family lived before my parents divorced. I remember a fight on the front lawn involving a wedding punch bowl that my dad was taking. Shortly after, my mom, sister, and I moved to a tiny apartment.

I was 16, and did not have a place I felt at home.

As I focus on this theme of HOME this month, what keeps appearing before me is my 16-year-old self, beckoning me back to something. First it was the house. Then I saw an old friend in Nashville who knew me as a teenager.

“Do you remember how you used to make up those skits for youth group?” he asked. I didn’t remember. But his words reminded me that there was once a girl inside me who was silly and creative and outgoing — a girl I’ve been missing.

Next my daughter and I started watching The Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Hmm…a story about a 16-yr-old girl and the mother who had her when she was 16. I’ve been unusually captivated, and more than a little aware of certain threads coming together.

In the midst of this, I took a time-out from being a grown-up to have an unheard-of fight with my mother, in which I yelled and screamed and basically acted like a teenager. As Cheryl Richardson says, sometimes a temper tantrum is the best form of self-care.

But why do I need to care aboutI will come again and receive you to that long-ago part of me? What does she want?

Curious now, I took out my high school yearbook and read the inscriptions, mostly variations of “I’m so glad I got to sit next to you in French, English, History, etc.” But there are also observations or compliments about my character that strike a chord. These are qualities about myself that I’ve only lately, in my 40’s, begun to embrace. And yet they have been there all along, waiting in the wings.

Or knocking on the door, wanting to be let in. Wanting to be welcomed home.

Jesus said “In my Father’s house there are many rooms.” There are many rooms within you, as well. Which ones do you need to visit, or air out, or simply sit in? Is there a room that you haven’t thought about in 30 years?

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