This past week I have been living on the campus where I was a university student thirty years ago. I’m rubbing shoulders and talking to students who are the age I was when I was here. I’ve been speaking in various forums and chapels, and I’ve drawn on some of my experiences from long ago.
It’s been interesting, this trip down memory lane. As I look back on myself it’s easy to be dismissive, or to discount some of the things I went through; “Why did I make such a big deal out of that?” or “Why did I agonize about that so much?” “Why did I make those choices…that was stupid!”
In our congregation we are people of different ages…we have twenty year olds whose memory lane is pretty short, and ninety year olds who have miles of memory lane to remember. Yet the task is similar…can we look back at ourselves and love the person we were, and forgive the mistakes we made?
I think working on that, digesting our memories, and finding some love there, is an important part of our community today. Loving the teenager we once were, helps us love the teenagers we know now. Remembering the struggles of being a directionless young adult, helps us empathize with the hard choices our young adults make now.
This week’s prayer: As we remember the past, give us grace to love ourselves, warts and all. Let this be a road that leads to a present where we have compassion for people of all ages.