I miss this girl. But, also… I don’t.

I miss that body that didn’t ache, that felt small and agile, and ready to jump out of a bus—and run across NYC’s Times Square with Jacqueline to try to beat the sunset to the top of a building for someone’s once in an all too short lifetime memories—at a moment’s notice.

I miss her ability to absorb the pain of others and not be crushed.

I miss that tiny fierce black jacket and those leather boots that made her feel like she was wearing her super suit. I miss seeing life through her lenses, both internal and external.

But I’m glad I’m not the same version of her anymore. What has changed is more than I can wrap words around. It may be easier to talk about what hasn’t changed.

I still love God who rescued me and is slowly restoring my mind, body, and soul. I still love finding beauty. I still fiercely love my family, my husband who holds my hand when I’m trembling and cheers me when I take a bold new step, who is still learning with me as we sharpen and soften one another, who asks for forgiveness and forgives.

The girl in the picture thought she knew more than she did. She never thought she knew the future, but thought she could reasonably predict it because, despite various trials, life and love and work and motherhood made sense.

Until it didn’t.

And she was undone.

But the girl in the picture has grown. She sees what she didn’t see before. She falters, fails, breaks, and is broken. Tears that rarely surfaced for the girl in the photo live right at the edge of the cliff more often now. What is broken and may have never been seen or acknowledged is recognized, named, and called out.

I wouldn’t go back to being that girl (though I won’t complain when I can fit in her pants again) for many reasons. But I’m so thankful for what I learned and am still learning from her. The wisdom she had then has been refined and refined and refined again.

This will go on until that girl is in the ground.

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