Dear younger me, it’s hard to believe we’ve made it this far. Who could’ve imagined you would end up being a steelworker living in the cornfields of northwest Indiana? The plans you had for our future have turned out totally different than you envisioned. How did that happen? How did those dreams get away from you so quickly? While it isn’t the future you dreamed of, it’s turned into a blessing. We’ll get to that in a moment, but for now, let’s reminisce for a moment.
It all started out so promising. You went to a wonderful church with a fantastic preacher that truly cared. Between him and mom, you had a great foundation in that church in which build a great life on. How about your love of playing baseball?
I’ll never forget those West Suburban baseball fields. How about those summer days at the mound in Old Westmont with Kevin, Mike, Tony, Scott, and “Beef”? You played baseball with those guys for years from sun-up to sun-down.
In the West Suburban summer leagues, from age 8 – 17, you won a team MVP, played on multiple league championship teams, including a team that won regional championship. You made five all-star teams and likely had the strongest arm every year. How many runners did you nail at the plate from centerfield, 18?
You had all that potential and wasted it. If you hadn’t gotten in trouble you could have played baseball at Slippery Rock University. If you hadn’t been drinking and left the scene of your accident, how much different could your life could have been?
Instead you had to enlist in the U.S. Navy. Do you remember how you felt getting that acceptance letter from Slippery Rock in Bootcamp? You served on the aircraft carrier USS America CV-66. While you ended up enjoying most of those four years, you’re lucky you didn’t get an OTH (Other Than Honorable) discharge for more alcohol issues early on.
God was looking out for you then and protected you during Operation Desert Shield/Storm as well. You didn’t ask God to help and protect you, others did. Why didn’t you thank them? How come you didn’t reach out to God to thank him? Why didn’t you ask him into your heart? You knew better.
When you got out of the service you went back home to Johnstown, Pa and wasted another five months of your life. So much so, I can’t remember much between moving back and leaving again. Still, God blessed you with a good opportunity in Atlanta, Georgia.
While in Atlanta, you started going to church with a girl you got engaged to. Did you go for her or because you needed to? That one is pretty obvious since you stopped going when the relationship ended. She may have left you but God didn’t. Still you ignored him. Once again, in spite of you, God blessed you with another great opportunity in Valparaiso, Indiana working for Bethlehem Steel.
After the job, God led you to a wife and two wonderful kids. After all these years however, it finally looks like we’ve gotten it right.
Younger me, I might ask why you made some of the choices did. I might think about what it may have cost me, but the fact is I wouldn’t have it any other way. God has given me the wonderful family I might not have had if things worked out like you planned. You knew right from wrong but were too immature to consider much more than yourself.
Because of the trouble you got into and the consequences that followed, you finally learned.
It would have been nice to avoid a lifetime of learning things the hard way, but now I’m where I should be. Although I’ve come a long way, I know I still have a long way to go in my walk with God. While I may stumble from time to time, I’m going to keep getting back up because my focus is now always on him. I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for taking me from who I was to who I am and who I want to become. I want to thank him for all of my blessings and the one’s to come. With Jesus all things are possible.