I am writing this note three weeks before your 18th birthday, mostly because I can still force you to read it now, under threat of grounding.
This would be harder to accomplish after you are 18.
Just kidding. Mostly.
I am writing in this very public forum because A – it’s what I do and B – if you don’t read it, at least someone will!
I know the countdown is on. The time until you cross that child/adult threshold can be counted in days now, instead of years. You are toeing the line. And I know you are excited. Before you crossover…I have a few things to say.
First of all, well done. You made it. Between sports, driving, and stunts pulled by you & your buddies – I had moments of doubt.
It seems like you were just sitting there, four years old, madly indignant, explaining how mashed potatoes were your number two enemy..with Barney already occupying the slot for number one. Now, suddenly, you are almost “adulting” like the rest of us.
Time itself sometimes feels like my number one enemy, with fear looming close at its heels. For now, I can fight my enemies – one and two – by taking the time to write out some things I want you to know, before I miss my chance to say them .
I decided the easiest way to sum all this up would be to talk about the three things people will tell you never to discuss in social settings – politics, love and religion. Forget that. Life is short.
Talk about them all.
Oh, son. What a time you have been made to “adult” in.
My best advice? Vote your heart on the issues that matter the most to you. You will never find the perfect candidate… vote anyway. You might find yourself living in a State that will never be won by your candidate of choice…vote anyway.
So many lives sacrificed.
So many gave everything, so that you could vote..so..vote.
But that’s just my advice for inside the voting booth. Outisde of there? Live your heart.
See the need and try in small ways to meet it. Never turn a blind eye to any sect of society that feels rejected or neglected or broken. Reach for them. Reach across party lines, across race, across gender divides and religious differences.
Love thy neighbor..even the ones who voted wrong (haha)
You’ve had a taste of it now.
You’ve seen the ups and downs, the good and the bad – always choose love.
It will hurt, it will cost, you may want to shy away from it, shut down or self protect. Don’t. There is a plan for your life in this department and the only thing I can say is that real love seems to just show up in our lives the moment we let go of the search for it, or the running from it. The moment we embrace the solitary, learning to savor the season we are in (without looking forward or back) love walks in.
Don’t hunt for it, don’t hide from it, but always be open to it. And within love? Love kindly, fight fair, tell the truth (always!). Remember that the person you are with is real, with a real heart that your words or actions can tear down or build up. So let your words be gentle, even when angry. That person is the sister, aunt, cousin, best friend..of someone. Someone’s daughter, and a child of God. They belong to Him. And to all the others who love them..respect that. Don’t be a jerk.
Lastly, on this love topic? Don’t lose yourself in the loving of someone else. Still keep perspective. Keep your family ties and your friendships. Pursue your own talents, goals and plans. Any person, with single minded devotion on someone else, becomes a very boring person, indeed.
They likely already have a mirror, son, so don’t show them another reflection of themselves..be you.
What an overused and super abused word. No wonder polite society dictates it not be discussed! I agree…so let’s talk faith. I saved the best for last and yet in this, I will say the least because this is the simplest of all the three.
Find your foundation on this and stand firm. Let all of your life flow from knowing who you are and Who you belong to. You are a child of the King.
You will never need to fight for His love. It’s yours..how cool is that? Never let this thought cease to amaze you: the King chose you…love Him for that. And love Him enough to show love and compassion for others. I once heard it said that every person you see is a soul – eternal, one way or the other. Because of this, no encounter is chance, no person worthless, no moment unaccounted for. Make the most of every chance you are given to show that you are a man of faith who believes in a very much living and very much loving God.
Own what is right, just, merciful and good – and fight for it.
Fight the good fight of faith.
I love you, child.
You will always be my boy who hates Barney and loathes mashed potatoes.
Enjoy these last days of boyhood.
Once you cross through the “adulthood door” you will spend the rest of your life remembering how cool it was to be a kid. But my prayer is that you always believe that the best is yet to come.