By Joseph J. Mazzella • May 11, 2015

My daughter and I finally got around to converting all of the electronic pictures stored on our computers and cell phones into printed ones that we could actually hold in our hands and put into photo albums. It was amazing looking through decades of our lives. There were proms and graduations, birthdays and Christmas, playful pups and napping cats. I looked at myself and saw my wrinkles disappear, my hair darken and regrow, and my waistline shrink. I looked at my children and watched them grow younger and younger. I looked at my dogs who had passed and wiped away a tear or two. I even looked at some pictures from 40 years ago that my relatives had e-mailed me.

There I was not even 5 years old with chubby cheeks and innocent eyes. I looked at that boy and all those younger versions of myself for a long time. I wondered too what I would say to all of those Joes if I had a chance. I knew that I would tell them to relax and not worry about life's troubles so much. I would tell them that they would solve all the problems they could and get through the ones they couldn't. I would tell them to enjoy and cherish each day as it comes. I would tell them that everyday has its own delights and simple pleasures and they should appreciate them all. I would tell them to hug more, laugh more, and say "I love you" more. I would advise them to take in more sunsets and to turn off the television every so often and go watch the stars. I would tell them to sing along with the radio and read a good book every chance they get. I would tell them to never pass up the opportunity to pet a dog or help another human being. Most of all, though, I would tell them to just love, because that is what God put us here to do.

Of course I know that none of us can go backward in this life. Life can only go forward. After I put the photo albums down then I went into the bathroom and gave all of that advice to the man in the mirror. I think that he appreciated it too. He may have been 48 years old, with graying, balding hair and a face full of wrinkles, but when he smiled his young soul shined through and I could see the loving light of God in his eyes.

As you go forward in your own life then always take with you the wisdom you have gained, the kindness you have shared, and the love God has given you. As you go forward always strive to be the best Child of God you can be. As you go forward always remember to just love and have joy in that love.


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