Before You Go…(The Words I’d Give My Children As They Left Home)

Before You Go…(The Words I’d Give My Children As They Left Home).

 

My Children (has there ever been a more affectionate word?),

 

Always know how much you are loved. The world can be a mean place. That is an understatement. The world can be a terrible place. In it you will find people who do not know your worth. Or people who know your worth, but not their own, and wish to cheapen yours. Knowing how much you are loved will help you keep your balance in a shifting world.

 

You are loved. Beyond words or explanation. Beyond ability and reason. You are worthy of love. You are smart. You are strong. You are brave. And, you are seen. I see you. In all my dreams, I never could have imagined how wonderful you are. I have seen your heart in little and big ways, stretching to love and comfort others. Have seen you risk yourself to show others kindness. It takes courage, doesn’t it, to love so much?

 

That’s what makes it worth it. Everything worth doing takes courage. It takes courage to hold on when you want to let go. Courage to let go, when you want to hold on. Trust me on this, the easy thing, is almost never the right thing. If you will not fight for it, you can live without it.

 

You are growing. You are growing up away from me and into yourself. Keep going. Know that I will always be here to come back and visit. But, keep going. Find out who you are. How do you take your eggs? What color makes you feel radiant? What music makes your body move to its rhythm? Keep finding out. Let it change. Enjoy the journey of life. Embrace the good things. Learn from the bad before letting it go forever. Be kind. Always. To everyone. Be brave enough to be the light in a dark and lonely place. Never let anyone extinguish you. Shine, no matter who welcomes you or not. Be yourself. You are great at it.

 

Love as only you can. You are free. Bask in that freedom. Wade out into its water’s and find its limits for yourself. Live your life. Refuse to engage in behavior that places shackles around your feet or hands, or mind. The only one who can enslave you is yourself. You have all the choices in the world. The only one who will have the rewards or consequences for your actions is you. Choose, but choose wisely.

 

Do things that scare you. Move, if you have to. Don’t hold your breath. Find out what you want and go for it. Forgive. Forgive quickly. Forgive freely. Forgive your spouse, your children, your boss, your neighbor, your friends, your mother, your father, and especially yourself. Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the cage of the deepest hurts. He that forgives is no longer a victim. Forgiveness is the greatest act of rebellion a person can commit. Commit it often.

 

Hold on. To God, to life, to love. Tangle your fingers in the ropes of dignity and grace, humor, and love. Entwine your hands in them, so that even if you feel like letting go, they will not release you. Never give up. It is okay to not know. Be humble, but keep going. There is something that you were born to do that can only be done by you. There are lives waiting to be changed by you. People need you to be yourself. People need what you have to offer.

 

There are no accidental lives. You are here for a reason. Find what you are passionate about and never apologize for it. Have a good attitude. Look up from your phone long enough to see the world. Seek beauty. Look around you. Be careful where you go. Be patient with others. We are all on a journey. We all brought different things with us for the journey. Be gracious. Heal hurts when you can. Know the difference between empathy and sympathy. Learn how to be there for others without saying a word. Always keep your word. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Never lie to children. Never lie to yourself. Live an honest life.

 

 Put things in proper perspective. Know that nice things are just that, things. Be a good steward of what you have, but remember that people are more important. Money will not love you back. You may not fully realize these concepts until you have your own children. When you hold them, you will know that you would give up everything you have to keep them healthy and safe. Things are just things. Spend your time and money on people. People matter.

 

You matter. You have been and continue to be my greatest joy. You have taught me how to love and give and keep giving. The best thing I have ever done is to be your Mommy. It has been my greatest pleasure to take care of you, my greatest challenge to raise you right. Even on the hardest days, I have cherished our time together. You are lovely. You are wanted. You are accepted. Even if you forget everything I have ever told you, remember this: you are loved. You will always fit in my arms and in my heart. You are what makes me want to come Home.

 

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Before You Go…(The Words I’d Give My Children As They Left Home)

My Children (has there ever been a more affectionate word?),

Always know how much you are loved. The world can be a mean place. That is an understatement. The world can be a terrible place. In it you will find people who do not know your worth. Or people who know your worth, but not their own, and wish to cheapen yours. Knowing how much you are loved will help you keep your balance in a shifting world.

You are loved. Beyond words or explanation. Beyond ability and reason. You are worthy of love. You are smart. You are strong. You are brave. And, you are seen. I see you. In all my dreams, I never could have imagined how wonderful you are. I have seen your heart in little and big ways, stretching to love and comfort others. Have seen you risk yourself to show others kindness. It takes courage, doesn’t it, to love so much?

That’s what makes it worth it. Everything worth doing takes courage. It takes courage to hold on when you want to let go. Courage to let go, when you want to hold on. Trust me on this, the easy thing, is almost never the right thing. If you will not fight for it, you can live without it.

You are growing. You are growing up away from me and into yourself. Keep going. Know that I will always be here to come back and visit. But, keep going. Find out who you are. How do you take your eggs? What color makes you feel radiant? What music makes your body move to its rhythm? Keep finding out. Let it change. Enjoy the journey of life. Embrace the good things. Learn from the bad before letting them go forever. Be kind. Always. To everyone. Be brave enough to be the light in a dark and lonely place. Never let anyone extinguish you. Shine, no matter who welcomes you or not. Be yourself. You are great at it.

Love as only you can. You are free. Bask in that freedom. Wade out into its water’s and find its limits for yourself. Live your life. Refuse to engage in behavior that places shackles around your feet or hands, or mind. The only one who can enslave you is yourself. You have all the choices in the world. The only one who will have the rewards or consequences for your actions is you. Choose, but choose wisely.

Do things that scare you. Move, if you have to. Don’t hold your breath. Find out what you want and go for it. Forgive. Forgive quickly. Forgive freely. Forgive your spouse, your children, your boss, your neighbor, your friends, your mother, your father, and especially yourself. Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the cage of the deepest hurts. He that forgives is no longer a victim. Forgiveness is the greatest act of rebellion a person can commit. Commit it often.

Hold on. To God, to life, to love. Tangle your fingers in the ropes of dignity and grace, humor, and love. Entwine your hands in them, so that even if you feel like letting go, they will not release you. Never give up. It is okay to not know. Be humble, but keep going. There is something that you were born to do that can only be done by you. There are lives waiting to be changed by you. People need you to be yourself. People need what you have to offer.

There are no accidental lives. You are here for a reason. Find what you are passionate about and never apologize for it. Have a good attitude. Look up from your phone long enough to see the world. Seek beauty. Look around you. Be careful where you go. Be patient with others. We are all on a journey. We all brought different things with us for the journey. Be gracious. Heal hurts when you can. Know the difference between empathy and sympathy. Learn how to be there for others without saying a word. Always keep your word. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Never lie to children. Never lie to yourself. Live an honest life.

 Put things in proper perspective. Know that nice things are just that, things. Be a good steward of what you have, but remember that people are more important. Money will not love you back. You may not fully realize these concepts until you have your own children. When you hold them, you will know that you would give up everything you have to keep them healthy and safe. Things are just things. Spend your time and money on people. People matter.

You matter. You have been and continue to be my greatest joy. You have taught me how to love and give and keep giving. The best thing I have ever done is to be your Mommy. It has been my greatest pleasure to take care of you, my greatest challenge to raise you right. Even on the hardest days, I have cherished our time together. You are lovely. You are wanted. You are accepted. Even if you forget everything I have ever told you, remember this: you are loved. You will always fit in my arms and in my heart. You are what makes me want to come home.

But Was There Kindness….

I read an article this morning that can only be described as horrific. I knew when I clicked on the link that my own heart hung in suspension and that reading the words that followed the title would undoubtedly change me. But, still, I read on. By the third paragraph I could only skim through to the end. At least 800 bodies of babies and children found in a septic system. Unmarked. Unexplained. Unacceptable.

So there it went. The lightness of the day, gone. My heart shrinking heavily into a corner of my chest. My Mommy-heart bruised by this tragedy. The tug of war between rage and sorrow that something this terrible was allowed to happen, did happen, and cannot be undone.

I have thought about the unwed mothers these children belonged to, the people running this house of horror, and of course, of these babies that should be holding their grandbabies about now, all day long. They have been with me as I vacuumed, swept, tidied, and went about my day. My heart has hurt for them every time I have looked at my own babies, watching them play , oblivious to any suffering in the world.

This is the kind of story that I can never share with my husband. “Unicorns and rainbows”, he always says to me when I try to share the burden of my heavy heart by sharing the burden of what I know. Unicorns and rainbows, keep it light and happy. My husband, who turns off any movie where children or mothers die, no matter how far into the story we are. If I want to bask in tragedy, it will not be with him by my side.

But, maybe he has a point…. So, I’m thinking, and maybe trying to apply first aid to my soul, by looking at things a little differently. I am not big enough to contain the knowledge of how these lives were taken, what came before or after. What I want to know is this: was there kindness? Was there some nun in this catholic home that meant her vows? Did she work there because she loved her God and loved her people? Did she light up any corner of this dark place with a smile, a hug, a whisper of encouragement? Did she care for skinned knees or go without dinner so that a child could for once feel full; did she sing or speak softly, or rock a scared toddler to sleep, cradling them in the safety of her arms?

I am physically and metaphysically an ocean away from this depravity and will probable never know. But even here, there is suffering. There is lack. There are people being told that they should live in shame because of their circumstances or lifestyle. There is pain that is raw and real and nothing like unicorns and rainbows, and it’s all around me. I see it in parking lots as people jerk and twitch, unable to control their bodies, now covered in sores from meth. I see it under the bridge as I drive past people who have set up camp under what the city meant to be an overpass. I see it, have seen it for the last 9 years, working with foster children who have nowhere else to go.

Need is all around. But so is kindness. As many times as I have thought I have lost all faith in humanity, it has been restored. For every evil in this world, there is at least one kindness. Usually more. There are people who give up their wants to help others with their needs. People who give and do not take. We are a triumphant people. So used to victory that we feel entitled enough to keep going until we find it. Life is not for the faint of heart. No matter who you are, you will be battered and bruised and someways broken, but you will learn to walk again. Anne Frank was not wrong to believe that goodness overcomes evil. Her legacy still inspires, still lives on. She must have known kindness. I want others to know it, too.

I have seen fear tear down, and kindness build up. Kindness continues on, long after fear has run out of steam. If we are brave enough, we can all be kind. To everyone. We can light a matchstick of kindness that darkness cannot snuff out. We can work together so that our act of rebellion is that the light finally overtakes the darkness. So, who is with me?