Taylor Smith was 12 years old when she died on January 5, 2014, from complications from pneumonia.
Her parents were devastated. But when they sorted through her belongings, they found a curious envelope with the words, “To be opened by Taylor Smith on April 13, 2023.” Inside was a letter Taylor had written to her future 22-year-old self. The words were simple:
How’s life? Life is pretty simple right now … Congratulations on graduating high school! If you didn’t, go back and keep trying. Get that degree! …
How’s your relationship with God? Have you prayed and worshipped, read the bible, or gone to serve the Lord recently? If not, get up and do so NOW! …
Now, have you gone on any more mission trips? Have you been out of the country yet? How about on a plane? …
Well, I think that’s all. But remember, it’s been 10 years since I wrote this. Stuff has happened, good and bad. That’s just how life works, and you have to go with it.
I’m not sure about you, but Taylor’s words grip me in so many ways. It is the optimism of youth to look forward, and we hear her values come through: education, God, and outreach to people. We hear her humility as well—“remember, it’s been 10 years since I wrote this.”
And finally, Taylor writes with wisdom: stuff happens, good and bad. “That’s how life works, and you have to go with it.”
I find myself applauding Taylor. Life is hard. Good stuff happens, and so does bad. We just have to keep going—anchored in our values. So often we lose sight of the shoreline, and we quit before we arrive.
What’s your letter to your 20-year-old self?
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Published June 9, 2016
Topics: A Life of Faith