May 4, 2011


"Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12

I'm home now. Been  home for several days. Life is sort of a haze right now, but reality is starting to sink in. I can't believe it's been over a week since I left Pagudpud. Part of me feels like it was just yesterday, but part of me feels like it was a lifetime ago. And I guess in a way it was a lifetime ago: I've passed into a whole different life since then. But I remain the same person.

I hope.

Perhaps I'll explore that more another day, another entry.

I had my 20th birthday in the Philippines. It was Easter Sunday and also our last Sunday in Pagudpud. When I woke up at 5, I decided to change my venue of morning worship. I walked down to the beach, the stars still shining above but the light of dawn brightening up the horizon. I sat on the sand and watched the boats push off into the sea. I had brought my journal, and as the sky lightened up, I flipped it open to the first page, the entry I had written during the outgoing SM retreat last May. I read through it, and one line caught my attention:

"God, I don't feel comfortable to lead, to be regarded as an adult."

I laughed as I read it. I had felt like an adult my whole time there. Turning 20 sounded too young--I felt so much older. I had experienced too much to just be 20: the things I had been asked to do, the things I had witnessed, the stories I had heard, the people I had met, the words I had said, the decisions I'd had to make, and the actions that had come so naturally over time--they did not belong in the life of someone my biological age. When people asked my age, they were usually surprised. But then they would say, "Still young!"

And I would agree. That number that used to sound so big as a child felt so small now, so young. It felt even younger than me.

One night I was talking with a dear friend of mine. At the time I was 19 and she was 21. She was thanking me for the kindness I had shown her. "You've been more of a help to me than even my relatives." I smiled at that and asked, "Well, can you consider me like one of your relatives?"

She looked at me with a serious expression on her face. "You're more than a relative, Katelyn."

"Then what am I?"

"A sister."

A lump formed in my throat as she looked away and said, "I always wanted an older sister." I laughed. "But I'm younger than you." She assured me that I was too mature to be considered her younger sister. I found that amusing.

I think people are ageless when they're working for God. I've certainly felt ageless. And if you think about it, that kind of makes sense. If we get our guidance and direction, our very words even, from a timeless God, doesn't that kind of make us--timeless too? If we're truly partnering ourselves with God, we relinquish our youthful fears and gain wisdom beyond our years. I find it quite amazing, quite fascinating, and quite perplexing.

And it makes me wonder how old I'll feel next year.

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