Dear Sweetheart,

You’re now three months into adulthood since having walked across the graduation stage with a four-year degree the world told you was necessary. You are beginning to panic, as you’re still unemployed, and all you’ve seemed to accomplish is professionally discarding rejection letters. Bills are starting to come in the mail more frequently, and somehow have all been addressed to you instead of your parents as you look at the growing stack accumulating on your desk in your parents’ basement.

Right now you’re beginning to think that everything up to this point has been a mistake – maybe you should’ve studied science instead of art and gotten a nursing degree, and maybe you should’ve stayed at the technical school you were attending, because now the private college thing seems way too expensive as the college bill glares at you. Maybe you shouldn’t have upgraded your cell phone, which seemed like a good idea fall of senior year, and saved that money for an apartment. Maybe you shouldn’t have gotten a better car (because Lord knows it isn’t even new) and continued to drive your beater.

Perhaps maybe you should’ve continue to talk to the guy from junior year again instead of shrinking into the shadows when he said no, and maybe by now the two of you would be dating once he realized you had a sparkling personality. Maybe it would’ve been a good idea to talk to that girl who sat in front of you in all of your Communication classes, because now she’s one of your best friends and you’re wishing you’d had more time with her. Was it a good idea to stop saving for that trip to Israel your theology class was taking, or should you have garnered the two thousand dollars and gone?

Or, maybe you’re thinking you should’ve kept that receptionist job that paid at least some of your bills, even though they treated you rudely. Maybe you’d have a raise right now, because you’d be past your thirty day probation period. Should you have stayed at your manager job at the fast food restaurant, even though you felt like you were treated unfairly and it was tempting you to do things you didn’t want to do? Maybe you’d have a raise there, too. Then there was that job that was an hour away that wanted to offer you ten dollars an hour that you could have taken, but would have barely covered your gas to actually make the commute from your parents’ house.

What about your writing? Now, there’s an idea! Maybe if you were a better author, you’d have a couple books written by now. Maybe if you’d stuck to your screenplay, you could be directing a movie. If you weren’t so worthless and had willpower  and actually finished something, as people have told you before, you could be published at twenty-one and selling novels. Instead, you write fanfiction and a blog and dream of making it to Hollywood. Perhaps if you were stronger and smarter you’d be there right now instead of eating fruit snacks and watching a Sylvester Stallone movie from 1986 (it’s Cobra, just to clarify).

Oh, and the gym! That was such a grand idea, wasn’t it? You’ve been going three months, sweetheart, and the results are slow. Instead, you sweat like a fiend and work hard and feel good about yourself while everyone watches you. You tell yourself it was a good idea and that this is why people join gyms, but when you go to the bathroom, you check yourself in the mirror as if your cellulite is just going to fall off after fifteen minutes of cardio, and then hate yourself when it's the same sight over and over again.

And then there’s ministry. What exactly are you doing for God? Hardly anything, as you’re afraid to go back to church after the way the pastor treated you and your family, and basically told you that you wouldn’t get the job you wanted if you didn’t work hard enough. You haven’t explored church since graduating college, and it makes you feel like an awful Christian, especially after getting into a fight with your cousin-in-law and being called the most offensive person ever. You feel like God is a million miles away from you and that your prayers hit a brick wall, because everything in your life is at a standstill.

While considering these things, sweetheart, remember that you are amazing. You are strong because you quit the jobs that treated you poorly, and because you’re trusting that things will fall into place through faith. You’re incredibly gifted in the fact that you have so many stories floating around your head that it’s impossible to stick to just one sometimes, and that you push yourself to be better with every revision. You’re healthier because you go to the gym and work hard and are concerned for your health, despite what people say and how they look at you. You have faith because you keep praying when the Savior feels so far away. You are human for feeling scared after being rejected by the guy you liked.

Sweetheart – someday you will look at all of this and laugh at yourself. When you’re fifteen pounds lighter and driving a nice(er) car, working the dream job you’ve been so patiently praying for and in a ministry that you are passionate about – all while preparing a pitch for a movie you have slaved over. You are going to wonder what you were thinking, worrying all the time – going to wish you’d spent your time laughing and living instead of worrying and crying. Someday, you’re going to look back on all of this and realize it was who you were and not who you are.

Someday, sweetheart. Just hang in there.



Published by Miriam R. Orr