Maybe it is the fact I am a new grandma – but I found Taylor Smith’s story to be particularly profound. Taylor died last week of complications from pneumonia. Her parents took good care of her, the doctors sent her home – but like her letter said things happen “good and bad. That’s just how life works, and you have to go with it.” Taylor’s letter is why she is the subject of this blog post.
After Taylor died her parents were sorting through her belongings. They found a letter she had written to herself. The instructions on the envelope read: “Confidential. To be opened by Taylor Smith on: April 13, 2023 ONLY! (unless said otherwise)” The back envelope flap read: “If it’s before 4-13-23 don’t open this!” I’m sure Taylor’s parents wish the envelope had remained closed until that time. The only reason they know what her letter said is because Taylor didn’t live to open the envelope herself.
This letter will bless this grieving family for years to come. I thought it would be a blessing for everyone who read the contents, so I wanted to write about it. Taylor wrote a letter to herself, to be opened ten years in the future. She reminds herself, “Don’t forget Allana’s 11th birthday today!” Allana had just turned 1 and Taylor missed her party because she was on a mission trip. Her next words reveal what a special person Taylor was.
She writes, “Speaking of, how’s your relationship with GOD? Have you prayed, worshipped, read the Bible, or gone to serve the Lord recently? I don’t care what point in our life we’re in right now, do it! He was mocked, beaten, tortured, and crucified for you! A sinless man, who never did you or any other person any wrong! Now, have you gone on any more mission trips?”
Her letter continues to mention several other things like traveling, a trip to Dollywood and her desire to grow up and be a “lawer.” She even encourages her future self to watch a couple of episodes of her favorite tv show, Doctor Who, “later though, you gotta finish reading your own words of wisdom!” Taylor wrote those words of wisdom when she was 11 and knew she would still need that wisdom when she was 21.
And we still need that wisdom at whatever age we find ourselves today. Taylor knew she needed to pray, worship, read the Bible and serve the Lord. Taylor’s priorities at 11 would have been great priorities for 21 as well.
I can’t imagine the grief her parents feel every day knowing they won’t ever get to see their daughter turn 21. But coupled with their grief is the joy of knowing they will see their daughter in heaven, and be with her for eternity.
It has been a couple of days since my last blog post. I spoke about the goal of helping my new granddaughter to know Jesus as her savior. I’m sure that Taylor’s parents are grateful to everyone that helped them teach their daughter to love Jesus.
Whose life are you investing in today? If you are a Sunday school teacher, how might you guide your class to write a letter like Taylor’s to their “future selves?”
If you wrote a letter to yourself today, what would you want to make certain to remember?
I like to picture Taylor in heaven, enjoying the beauty, the peace and the family she found there. I’m sad she wasn’t the one to open her letter on April 13th, 2023. I am glad her parents had that letter to open when they needed it and I’m glad they found a way to share their daughter’s wisdom with the world.
So, let’s ask ourselves the question Taylor asked of her future self…”Speaking of – how’s your relationship with God?”