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Letter to my teenage self: Merinda

Dear worried young teacher,

Thank you for your worries of 4am, but do try to sleep as the days at study and at school will all be easier if you feel rested - advice that will help you all through your life.

To your three main anxieties, you already have the answers inside you, if only you recognised it.

Yes you are gay and deep inside you know it; you’ve known it for your whole life. It’s good that you don’t seem to think that makes you peculiar, but you will face a bit of a fight with the church, and you will have to travel around a bit to find places that are as liberal as you are already. Make those journeys. In time you will be able to help others if you hang onto your faith and know you are loved. You already know that your friends will support you, and you are obviously going to take your time to be sure before you tell them, but don’t be afraid. You are right that some people will disappear because of it, but you struggle with intolerance anyway so let them go; others will come. Call for the Holy Spirit to guide your steps each day and you won’t go far wrong.

Yes, you are loveable, don’t be so negative. There is someone wonderful out there for you, so don’t rush and don’t be misled by people who tell you that a real relationship cannot happen. Go and join a choir, and look for the most beautiful alto you can. Love can happen at first sight, and if you are true to the person you meet and you offer your whole heart, generously and kindly then you will have your happy ever after.

Yes, you were born to be a teacher, stick with it. Stop burning the candle at both ends and knuckle down to your trade. The children in your care will thrive, and do so because of the time and example you give them, so make it the best you can, every day. Don not be afraid to stand up for the weak and the lost, and remember what a good education can do for society. Hang on to that, it will be useful later!

So, my worrying self, hang on to what you already know. Your family love you, your faith will sustain you and your courage will enable you to be useful to others. You need to work hard and remember that your life and work has a purpose and can make a difference to the people you encounter. Learn to listen more, and to hear the still small voice of calm. And you will always have friends, so try not to be so impatient... it will all unfold...

All the best

Your older, slightly wiser self.

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