Since 2014, when Lara starts school I’ve written her a letter to encourage her, remind her what matters in life, and assure her she’s extravagantly Loved exactly as she is. I don’t know about you, but the messiness, stresses, and hurts in life make it easy to forget kindness, courage, worth, vulnerability, our own unique beauty, and the like. So, I wanted to share Lara’s letter as a remembrance to each of us … and perhaps an inspiration (I got originally got this idea from Glennon Doyle):
WOWZA! I can’t believe you’re starting high school. How exciting is that? You’re a marvelous, magical, miracle of a person … and I hope you never forget it! When I was in high school, I thought getting good grades, scoring high on the SAT, being in the smart kid clubs, having the highest score on tests, and getting into great colleges was the point of it all. While those are good things, I was totally wrong. The point, I think, is learning to Love asyour uniquely amazing self, in your own distinctively beautiful way.
Truly, I’d say all of life is a School of Love, wherein we continually learn to better give of ourselves, and receive from others, for the thriving and flourishing of everyone. One of the keys in this, which I think you do exceptionally well, is staying true to yourself. While it’s definitely important to listen to and learn from others, it’s equally vital we don’t turn into chameleons who just become who others think we should and/or want us to be. I LOVE that you stay true to your own sense of fashion, taste in music, delight in books, views on politics, care for the environment, view of others, delight in comics/Marvel, and understanding of God, when others disagree with you and/or tell you you’re wrong or should be like them. Well done! Keep it up … while remaining open to the feedback and views of others. Life, after all, is a team sport. I know it’s difficult balancing simultaneously being true to yourself andbeing open to allowing others to change you, but YOU can do hard things! I believe in you!
As Oscar Wilde said: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Part of this is recognizing when we need help, admitting when we’re wrong, and really taking to heart the advice parents, teachers, friends, and family give us, because no single person or group is self-sufficient or 100% right, we need and belong to one another. Something I struggle with, but am working on, that I encourage you to join me in is continuing to listen to, be curious about, and act kindly toward those who believe, act, look, and/or speak differently from us. That’s what Love does.
I’ll leave you with some advice from Dave Matthews Band I’ve found to be True: “Above all things: If kindness is your king, then heaven will be yours before you meet your end.” Heaven is already on earth. Love is all around and within us. God’s Light is already IN you! YOU are incredible and fantastic exactly as you are! I’m STOKED to see how those things play out in and through you this year. Yay, Lara!!!
I Love You 3000,
Grace and peace,