Have you ever had one of those moments where it feels like you’re transported back in time? When your memory is sparked by either a photo or a song or a smell, and all of a sudden, it’s like you’re right back there, fully embodying that memory, as though it was happening for the first time?
Well, that happened to me over the weekend.
It rained literally all weekend in NYC. 100% precipitation, 62 hours straight. So much for Memorial Day Weekend. But actually, it was really nice, because Steven and I spent most of the weekend hanging out, watching movies, and making food. (4pm pancakes anyone?)
Well, that afternoon, while eating said from-scratch pancakes, Steven wanted to see if any of my old acting stuff was on YouTube. Unfortunately, being a nineties kid, all of my child acting footage just missed the digital age. And so it’s all on VCR video tapes, collecting dust, and therefore, “don’t exist” on the web.
I’ve never been able to find anything online. However, apparently, someone got bored during quarantine and uploaded the grainy VCR footage of one of the movies I was in to YouTube during lockdown in 2020!
And wouldn’t you know…Steven, being the tech pro that he is, he found it…first try.
I had no idea what to expect. I mean, I hadn’t seen this film since, gosh — 1998?? So not only did I not remember it very well, but I also — spoiler alert — get shot and killed in the film, so yeah — definitely set myself up for a great first impression for Steven to my acting work. Haha
But I’ll tell you what – it was a really incredible experience, watching it back – especially with him. Yes, it had all the cheesy 90’s-afterschool special-dramatic electric guitar fade music – a la Saved By The Bell – that made us chuckle. But more than that, it was really powerful for me to see my little 9 year old self – pre-anorexia, pre-Ulcerative Colitis, pre-messed up thinking about worth or body image — just little Caralyn, projected on his 65 inch tv, doing what I loved most in the world: acting.
But here’s the incredible thing: had you asked me…even just in 2019…to watch little me on screen, and I would have been filled with so much sadness. I would have mourned for the life she missed out on, due to the development of anorexia. I would have grieved for the enormous potential that little girl had, that was robbed by an eating disorder that nearly took her life. Seeing that would have made me really sad for the life that could have been.
And though that thought did cross my mind for a nanosecond, I had a beautiful perspective shift, sitting there on the couch next to my special gentleman.
Yes, my anorexia completely derailed my life in every aspect of the word: from my health, to my relationships, to my emotional and mental and spiritual wellbeing. It was the most horrific season of hell that nearly cost me my life — a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on anyone. And yeah, that little girl on screen was like a field of fresh fallen snow: pure and completely untouched from any of that.
But sitting there, in 2021, I no longer mourned for her and what she was about to be blindsided with. And I no longer longed for the life that could have been. Because as it turns out, the life I have now is the life God created me for.
Every single thing — every tragic moment and hellish season, every heartbreaking twist and turn that my story took — God used every single second of it.
I am who I am today because of it. I am the young woman, here today, because of those lessons I had to learn the hard way.
And sitting next to Steven, who has helped me unlock the last and arguably most important chapter of recovery: opening my heart to receiving love, I was filled with ironic gratitude for the difficult journey God has brought me through. Because I am here today, in this moment, in this situation, in this life — because of that journey God walked with me through.
And instead of thinking about the horrific trial that little girl was about to endure, I found myself thinking, Oh what a beautiful life you have in store, waiting for you.
I no longer thought of the sadness of the past, but rather, the overwhelming joy in the present. In the here and now. In the overflowing abundance of love and peace and happiness and gratitude God has blessed me with – a by-product of the full circle adventure God has seen me through.
Friends, that is possible, no matter how dark the present may seem. Because believe me, I know how dark things can get.
God can redeem even the most broken of broken. He transforms even that which we are most scared to surrender.
“Lord, you lifted me out of the depths…You turned my wailing into dancing…and clothed me with joy.” Psalm 30
That is what I pray for you, friends.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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