Ponder this:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Little June, Old June

How timely I find Sunday Scribblings' suggestion for this week:
Dear Past Me, Dear Future Me .

Dear Little June,

You don't know me yet, but in time you will. I am you almost fifty years from the time you're reading this! I know how afraid you are of so many things, but you know what? The fear that freezes you in your tracks now will make you courageous and strong.

I know that: It is true.

I know how you tremble at new things . . . remember when you thought you would be the only one in your class who never would be able to do the Australian crawl? Remember the night you went to bed and thought through how this arm moved and your head turned one way and then that arm, and your head turned the other way, and your legs kicked all the time? ...and the next morning at your swimming lesson, you did it!

You're going to have sad things happen to you that will be beyond your control. You will feel lost and alone. But from here I can see how, in time, you lifted your chin and figured out how to carry on.

I see how courageous you are, even if you don't yet know your strength.

Courage isn't not being afraid, you know. Courage is putting one foot in front of the other despite being so afraid that you tremble and cry. Your courage is going to be your Very Greatest Strength in life.

I love you, and I am very very proud of you.

Big June


Dear Old June,

I wish I knew how you see me, with one foot poised to step into old age, and the other foot with the toe of its shoe still dragging in barely-attained adulthood. I hope you're looking at me and nodding and smiling, approving of my late attainment of the knowledge that my life is not in my hands, but my happiness is.

I hope you're a wise and wry funny old lady.

I have a feeling that you will look back at Little June and me and think of the last stanza of the Millay poem, "To A Young Girl":

For there came into my mind, as I watched you winking the tears down,

Laughing faces, blown from the west and the east,

Faces lovely and proud that I have prized and cherished;

Nor were the loveliest among them those that had wept the least.

Sometimes I think I can feel your comforting hand on my shoulder, telling me that I am okay, and that it will be all right. I know you're right: I've said the same to Little June. I've learned that all those things that I thought would bring the sky crashing down were simply temporary discomforts. I've learned so much, and only in the past few years.

I hope my acquisition of wisdom accelerates at the same pace as the seasons are beginning to pass. We aren't that far apart, you and I, after all, and if you're going to be a funny and wise old lady, I need to get a move on.

My most fervent hope is that you will be proud that I finally saw the worthiness of me, just as I am.

With love,

June, Aging Gratefully


Rinkly Rimes said...

I can assure you (and I'm REALLY old) that self-acceptance gets easier with the years.

Anonymous said...

That was really beautiful! I love the poem, too.

Your way of describing courage is perfect, and it's something I've struggled to get across to my boys. One, now in his twenties, still doesn't quite believe it. He still thinks that courage is absence of fear. Hopefully he will learn, twenty-something isn't so old after all, is it?

I want to be a wry and funny, wise old lady too. With a purple dress and red hat. And a stick to drag along the railiings.

susan said...

Beautiful. And I really would like to meet my old me. So many complaining about ageing but I find it far more attractive than the alternative. Thank you.

TJ said...

Give yourself a hug! That was wonderful...TJ

June said...

Thank you so much, all of you!
This was a self-helpful thing for me to write. God knows poor Little June needed all the love she could get, and it is so good to look back and see how far I have come.
It's good, too, to look forward to being Old June and envisioning how to grow into her.

floreta said...

this feels so personal. "Courage is putting one foot in front of the other despite being so afraid that you tremble and cry." So true!

Tumblewords: said...

Wonderful! Wonderful! The self-love and acceptance are so clearly shown! I loved the way you learned to swim 'in bed'. That's a gift that few have...

Tigerbi said...

Beautifully expressed, June...........you surely have come a long long way from that scared little girl <3

Granny Smith said...

Re learning the crawl: And to think that even in my old age I lie awake at night trying to get the kinetic image in my mind of how to do a cartwheel! I never managed it even though I could do handsprings and backbends - feats that would, at my age, put me in the hospital!

I like you "courage isn't not being afraid." So true!

Carolynn Anctil said...

That was beautiful. I think I may give that a go, too. I think it has the potential to be a very cathartic experience.