I was fifteen once

by Jonathan

I was fifteen once, in 1996.

In 1996, Bill Clinton was president of the United States, the Olympics happened in Atlanta, Tupac died, Apple Computer purchased NeXT Computers from Steve Jobs, and my mother didn’t have cancer. My father was still alive too. It was a good year.

In 1996, I was getting to know Elizabeth Hunzinger, a super-smart, donut-hating, couscous-loving, opinion-sharing girl. It was a good year.

In 1996, I created a time-capsule. I don’t remember why I did it. But I did.

To be opened in 2016, twenty years later.

I used one of my dad’s old checkbook boxes and taped a 3×5 card on it. With electrical tape. It was fancy.

I wrote: The “desires of my heart.” ~ October 21, 1996 ~ To be opened in 2016 ~ Committed to the Lord, given to Him for His safe keeping. ~ Psalm 37:4


I placed a piece of paper in the box. And I waited.

I started law school. I worked a temp job doing data entry. I got married, and I lugged that little box to Rolla, Missouri. We wrapped up one school and moved. The box came. We moved again, and again. We moved into a parsonage, and the box came. And then we hopped on a plane and moved to Asia. Again, the box came. And then I opened it.

And the little booger surprised me.

I was fifteen once, in 1996. Little did I know that in a year my life would be shocked with the shell of a dying mother. Cancer. Horrible, terrible, no-good, Cancer.

I didn’t know that life would change. A lot.

I didn’t know my dad would change as Cancer attacked his brain, stripping personality and neurons. And then he died.

But I was fifteen once, and I did write a list. I wrote:

Desires of My Heart ~ Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

~ To become a pilot
~ To be a husband and a father
~ To have many godly children
~ To be a missionary
~ To have a harmonious home
~ To have a loving wife who greatly loves the Lord
~ To keep myself pure for my wife
~ To be a proclaimer of Truth
~ To have many grandchildren [I told you already that Elizabeth was the smart one. I’m now    thinking my math was a bit off.]
~ To develop law skills


Life doesn’t always turn out. Sometimes the straight and narrow doesn’t seem so straight. I know that. I know heartache and heartbreak, and deep, echoing loss

This time-capsule shocked me. To be honest, it sort of bothered me too.

But it also reminded me. He is good. He is faithful. And he is worth it.

And it got me thinking…


7 thoughts on “I was fifteen once

  1. Hey, Jonathan!
    How cool that you made, kept and finally got to open your Time Capsule twenty years later. I’m curious why you say that it bothered you, though. Haven’t you been granted nearly all of the desires of your 15-year-old heart (except for lots of grandchildren!)? : )

    • Hey, Bethany! Yeah, it was weird. I don’t know, I mean, this is my story, this is my life, and it really has been awesome. At the same time, though, I’m in a place (Cambodia) doing a job (counseling) where the folks I’m talking with and ministering to are dealing with dashed dreams and lives that didn’t turn out like they wanted or planned. Sometimes as a result of a mistake, sometimes as a result of sickness, sometimes because of someone else’s mistake, and sometimes who knows why. Does that make sense? I don’t think my feelings of guilt are necessarily healthy, but still, you asked. : ) There’s a certain sense of dissonance that only resolves with a larger view of God and time. That larger view is something I’m still working on…

      • That does make sense, Jonathan. Thanks for taking the time to clarify!
        I’m sure you know this, but many (including those of us who read these blogs) are blessed by you using “your story, your life” to reach out and bless others by listening to *their* stories and to offer Christ’s hope and healing in the midst of what didn’t “turn out as planned.” Keep on keeping on!

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