For my daughter: be brave

Be brave, little girl.
Life is hard
but it is also sweet.
You could rock this world.
Some days, I know, you feel weak,
but you, my girl, are a nevertheless.
These days are the ones
that prove you are strong
so shake the earth
climb a mountain
break a wall
write a song
cross a sea
tell a story
for words
Little girl, listen to mine.
Treasure the sunrise
and fear not the night,
for night
is the only time
we can see the stars shine.
A million miles away,
they burn with a fury
we can’t always see,
but they’re at their brightest when the sky is darkest so
I know
You will be afraid
You may feel ashamed
Your heart, it will break
You’ll lose what felt safe
And you’ll grow tired of the days
upon days
lived in a haze
You’ll keep trying to chase
what you wanted to say
But when you can’t find your way
be brave
because you’ll be surprised
by grace.
That’s the best thing about it–
it’s surprising.
Bare your colors to the world
fearless, unashamed,
exuberant in becoming.
Let loose your mind
and release your grasp
on all that holds you still behind
and fly.
Don’t be afraid of impossible falls or unscalable walls
You have the gall to withstand the squall
so stand tall!
Leap into the mountain air
Feel the feathers in your hair
Brush the treetops with your fingertips and
hold the dewdrops, golden-kissed
and live.
Feel the fullness of creation and
be whole,
realizing the beauty of it all.
Be a star amid the dark
and be brave,
for there will come a day
when all of this will fade
and I want you to be glad
that you made
a difference.
Be different, and unashamed.
Become the truest version of yourself
and learn to be a path-maker
It’s in the small things,
the little things in the quiet place.
For the silent people, you will speak,
And you will whisper in their ears:
Be brave.

From My Journal

I’m reading Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl (Read it. That’s all I can say. Read it.), a girl born with HIV virus and who was bullied for it by her best friend in middle school. Her story is inspiring–it made me cry–it’s gut-wrenching, it’s heart-breaking and heart-warming and hope-lifting. But that’s not the reason it’s on my mind tonight. There’s a question it stirs in me, an uncomfortable one: What about me?

It sounds selfish, put like that. And maybe it is. In fact, it’s surprisingly close to a feeling of envy, as I read about her rollercoaster experience, because, because of it, she’s been able to, in a way, change the world.

And I mean, I can relate to the feelings she describes. Yeah, I don’t know exactly what it was like for her, and I’m not meaning to downplay her experiences. It took incredible strength to go through what she did and come out of it on the other side. But, I’ve had my battles too. In a way, I’ve been there, that same dark pit of hopelessness and aloneness. But even while I’ve been in these dark places, I haven’t had the same external, circumstantial manifestation of it that she had. I don’t have the same surprising, unique story she does.

It makes me wonder hopelessly: What story do I have to tell?

I feel like I’m wasting my time here. High school. Mundane teenage years when I could be doing something amazing. The years speed by in a blur. Time passes, and I go with it.

The days are long gone when I believed I had the power to change the world.

I wish I could.

I want to so desperately I can taste it. I want to be like Paige. I want to make a difference.

Paul’s words come to mind:

Three times I prayed…But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”

Oh, God. I am so weak. I know that. And oh, God. Your grace is sufficient. It’s so sweet, so poignant, so beautiful, washing over me like the sweetest rain and sweeping me away. You have a path for me, and it’s specifically mine, no one else’s. God, I will go, I will go where you lead. I am yours, use me, in my weakness.

Remind me of what’s really important. Help me not to seek to be great by the world’s standards, but by yours. Show me what that really looks like. Stay by my side.

Love you,