Turn the Page

Are we confident that this is the best solution, or are we still exploring alternatives?  That’s a great sentence, I think.  It’s the kind spoken by articulate, “pc” types.  I’m the sort of person who would, in the same context, blurt out, “That’s a horrible idea!” 

Allow me to provide an example.  On Christmas eve, our resident (and self-described family “Scrooge”) came out from the bedroom with a big cheesy grin, wearing a teal-colored quarter-zip. It was unzipped to reveal a bright orange T-shirt underneath, over a pair of white and black gym shorts.  My face immediately got this quizzical, swished up kind of confused vibe, and I was honestly wondering if Tom was trying to make us laugh by putting on an outfit which clearly did not match itself?  So, I believe I poured forth with something witty like “What on earth are you wearing…” just seconds before I realized that he absolutely thought he was wearing festive red and green.  Oops.  Thankfully, he was in good humor and received it well. 

When I hear myself speaking, that’s me processing out loud.  I keep talking until I’ve found the proper edits and my actual position is clarified.  Extending my heart before realizing I should guard it a bit is also a charming pattern of behavior.  Trusting my own judgement when my vision is cloudy because I’m unwell, blue or just extremely fatigued is another among my great volumes of work.  Non-verbally, I’m a billboard on I-465.  These are qualities I loathe, and which seem to me to be virtually impossible to rectify.  It’s almost like God got His wires crossed when He created me.  Maybe He was tired that day and forgot to add the proper helping of tact and He totally left out the volume control panel?  Those flaws are just my opening act.

Here’s the thing.  I’m nearly 52 years old.  Tick. Tock.  The Lord of life is whispering sweet nothings.  They sound a lot like, “Stop screwing around. I made you to travel this journey just the way you are—loving loudly and with your whole heart.  Quit thinking about yourself so much and get to work!”

That’s just it, am I right? 

All this insecurity. We all suffer it. Some of us struggle more than others. It’s pretty much universal with young people, especially teenagers. I’m in year 12 of 14 with at least one teenager living in my midst. Of late, he’s been struggling a bit as ladies and gentlemen of this age bracket are pretty much required to do. Adolescent angst is practically a right of passage.

My sons (l to r): Zach, 18, Drew, 23, and Nick, 25.

It might seem like I wrote today’s entry to just share with the world that I’m still a hot mess and I need to FIO, but really, I wanted to write down some pieces of advice for my kid, and the other high schoolers who are in the middle of a rocky part of their own adventure.  So, here I go.  This is my Top 10 list for Teenagers on Friendship.  Use it or toss it.  Hopefully, it helps someone.  Thank you to my mom squad, who are chiefly responsible for sharing their wisdom as we’ve navigated parenthood together the last quarter century. I know I could have used some of these golden nuggets myself in 1987 or so.

  1.  If you have to walk on eggshells around them, they aren’t your people.
  2. You get to choose your friends, so choose the ones who choose you back.
  3. God didn’t screw up when He created you. Be Yourself.  You’re a big scoop of AWESOME.
  4. Bad day?  Be intentionally kind to someone. Anyone. It will be a blessing to you both.
  5. Show up for your people—even if they don’t ask.  Apologize when you screw up, and be there when they need you, even if it feels inconvenient or awkward.
  6. Don’t say something behind someone’s back that you would not say to their face. 
  7. Put NOTHING on social media that you would be embarrassed to read aloud to your mother- or your pastor!
  8. Notice, smile, say hello.  BE THE LOVE. These kindnesses are Christian joy– and are always free.
  9. Some people aren’t going to like you and sometimes you’ll be left out.  It’s okay. You are not responsible for their version of events or perceptions. You know who you are, and so does Jesus.
  10. WHEN you get hurt, and you will, take some time, talk to someone you trust, and sit with Jesus.  Your worth doesn’t come from others, it comes from the Lord.  You, are the child of the most high God.  Don’t you dare shut down that beautiful heart! God has BIG plans for you. TURN THE PAGE.

“Christian joy is contagious because the Gospel makes us go beyond ourselves to share the beauty of God’s love.  We cannot keep Christian joy to ourselves.  It multiplies once we start spreading it.” –Pope Francis

2 thoughts on “Turn the Page

  1. Spot on advice, Shelly. Every teen, young adult, middle aged adult, child, and senior citizen needs to hear your 10 points. Oh, and to quote a very wise lady…”You are a big scoop of AWESOMENESS!”😊❤️

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