(Photo by Lindsay O’Neil)
By Melissa Valle
During the car ride home from college I tried my best to remember what it was like to be in high school and middle school. I had only been in college for a year and yet all those years seemed so foreign. It felt like my life hadn’t started until I moved out. I forgot what it was like to be younger.
As I came home, I realized how cluttered my room was and started spring-cleaning, which was two years overdue. I opened my trunk and found my talking stuffed Elmo. A rush of flashbacks came running through of videos of me sharing this toy with my cousin. I put it aside gently. I was so small and it used to take a giant hug just to make the toy speak. Now all I have to do is press my palm against it.
I looked through and found my old jump rope. I remember I would spend hours just jumping no matter how many times I got lashed on my legs. Now I can barely stand doing it for ten minutes.
I looked deeper and found a pin that I received from one of my junior high teachers for being the star pupil of the month. It’s funny how happy I was when I received that award because now I can’t even remember which teacher gave it to me, or the subject for which I received it.
I kept cleaning and I found these boots.
These black boots with golden lace clips.
They still fit me.
I remember why I bought these.
I was fifteen and in a stage where I was trying to win my boyfriend back. These boots were in style then and I thought that if I wore them with my black leggings, a denim top, and my hair tied up in a bun, I would be back in his arms. These black boots didn’t do the job. And I cried for months because I felt so alone.
But these black boots remind me that someone was comforting me that whole time.
Someone was listening and comforting me and yet I had no idea who they were.
I placed my hands on these black boots and I remember that this was the trial that brought me to that person. I remember when my life really began. I remembered what it was like to be fifteen: A lost sheep, a lost soul. I was searching for some meaning in my life.
And it was him.
It was him all along.
And it wasn’t until a few months later, when I turned sixteen, that I realized who was had been wiping my tears and listening to my cries for help.
These black boots did not bring me back to my boyfriend.
But they definitely brought me to someone greater.
“Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.”
– John 16:32 (ESV)