16 December 2013

Letters to my teenage self {Part 4}

The year is 1998 and you’re about to turn 21. You’ve just secured your first ‘real’ job working as a receptionist at the Museum Hotel. Ideally you’d be actually using your many years of studying Japanese and be working in the Japanese embassy or doing some translation work but this type of role is proving hard to come by so right now it’s about making ends meet.



You have made one close friend so far, from your short few weeks working at Burger King but you still feel the loneliness of living a 7 hour drive from your family and the daily ups and downs of this seesawing relationship of over three years. The bunch of people you work with at the hotel are an eclectic lot, but mostly young and friendly and the work shifts (either 7am-3pm or 3pm-10pm) pass quickly enough amongst the banter.


There’s still plenty of time for self-reflection though, mostly when you’re on your own in the flat during the days when you work a late shift. It’s times like these when you wonder how on earth you got from a respectable P.K. (pastors kid) to this. The days of attending church twice on a Sunday and going to youth group both mid week and socially on the weekend seem a very distant memory. Some days you convince yourself that you are glad to have experienced life and are grateful not to still be caught up in that insulated and inward world where so many of your old friends eventually end up marrying each other from within the group. Other days the regrets threaten to overwhelm you so you simply try to shut them out.

There are days when you find yourself angry. Mostly angry at God for making your family move to Morrinsville in the first place, it feels like nothing good came from it. Having come from a vibrant and thriving church in Papakura, the move to Morrinsville felt like you’d been posted to Timbuktu. Your dad had very little support within the tiny church, they were a needy and sometimes lazy bunch and it wasn’t uncommon for him to have to put out all the chairs before the service, lead the worship while you play the piano in support, take communion, give a sermon, and have to pack up everything up again afterwards. It’s not surprising that he eventually faced burn out from the struggle of making ends meet as a poorly paid pastor having to supplement the family income with a variety of jobs from selling insurance and real estate to relief teaching at the local high school. You wonder what in God’s name He (God that is) was thinking bringing you all to that place.


You want to make excuses for how these past few years have panned out, blaming the path you’ve taken on the lack of Christian friends and peers around you to support you instead of feeling completely adrift on the ocean, but deep down you know they are just that…..excuses. And always you come back to the fact that if you’d really been close to Jesus and had a strong faith in God to carry you through these times, it should have been enough….shouldn’t it? Guilt rears its head often.

At your 21st celebration back home in a local hall in Morrinsville, many of your old friends come to celebrate with you. It’s bittersweet and in part only serves to remind you of a life that was stolen from you or slipped through your fingers, you’re not sure which. You return to Wellington afterwards with a heavy heart feeling trapped in your current situation wondering if this life is actually all you will ever have and all you can expect to deserve having made these choices.

But there is a change coming, a Sliding Doors moment. You’re not even aware of it yourself yet but it is coming.


to be continued...


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