I told you last week about a cause that I feel incredibly passionate about called More Love Letters. In addition to leaving random letters in places to be found by strangers who need to know that they are loved and that they matter, there is also an opportunity to send letters to a specific person.
People can nominate another person to receive a bundle of love letters by sharing just a bit about that person’s current situation. I’ve written to teenage girls who need to know that they will never be defined by belonging to groups that they will never belong to. I’ve written to people who are fighting a chronic illness and who will soon be exchanging their tired and weary and sick bodies for one that has been made new. I’ve written to college seniors and armed forces veterans and single moms and widows. I’ve written to wish happy birthdays and to celebrate anniversaries of sobriety.
The other day I was writing a letter to a high school girl who was nominated by a family member because she was having a hard time fitting in at school and making friends was difficult. She was being made fun of, made to feel less than enough and all I wanted her to know was that those kids were wrong. That when they look at her and see anything other than a girl that was created in the image of her Creator, they are wrong. When they can’t see past the exterior to see her heart, it’s because they haven’t looked hard enough. I wanted to tell her to hang on and to hang in there and to hold her head up. I wanted to tell her that she mattered. That she was special. I wanted to tell her to just be her, because she is amazing. In fact, that was what I was doodling out when Luke came into the kitchen.
He asked me what I was doing and I explained it briefly and then, in 8 year old boy kind of honest, he asked me a question.
“How do you know?”
I wasn’t really sure what he meant at first, so I asked him and what he wanted to know was how I knew she was amazing. What he wanted to know was, if I’ve never met this girl, how could I possibly know that all of these great things that I had just written were actually true of her.
And in that moment my heart broke because I realized that, at 8 years old, life has already modeled for our boy that things like love and honor and respect are conditional. At some point he has watched me treat someone in the way that their behavior deserved instead of treating them in light of who they really were. And way more than once he has heard me speak of someone in words that were anything but uplifting and I’ve wrapped insults and remarks that cut deep into someone’s character with the disguise of “just telling the truth”.
So when he asked me how it was that I could know that this girl mattered, that she was deserving of love and that she was given a heart so that she could use it love others, I told him the only thing that I could think of that would possibly make sense to him, that she was all of those things because he was all of those things.
I told him that just as I believed that God created him to do incredible things, I believed that for her, too. I told him that it’s impossible to really believe one without the other.
And then I told him something that I frequently forget myself. I told him that I believe those things to be true of him and of her, because I believe them to be true of myself.
And the truth is, I believe that for you, too. I believe that you were dreamed about and thought about and planned for before you ever came to be. I believe that you were born with a heart that is innately good.
I believe that you were created to do incredible things. To do really loud things and really quiet things and things that will change the whole world and things that will wholly change just one person’s world.
I believe those things about that teenage girl, whom I’ll never meet and lives hundreds of miles from me, I believe those things for my own boys, whom I’d walk to the ends of this earth for, and I believe them to be true for you.
And what I didn’t say to him but I’ve been saying over and over again to myself is that more than believing this to be true, I need to live like it is.
Maybe today you are the one that needs to hear it. You need to hear that you matter. That you are loved. That this world needs you. That you have a voice that needs to be heard. That God is for you. That we are for you.
And maybe today instead of you needing to be reminded, there is someone who’s path you will cross that needs you to remind them.
Today, be you because you are amazing.