No one taught me how to be happy. No one. Not my Mom or Dad. Not my siblings or grandparents. Not my cousins or teachers or friends. No one.
Happiness, contentment, joy – these aren’t things I can teach you. They are things you already have inside of you.
We tend to look for something newer, better, more exciting to woo us or distract us from the yucky parts of life. This isn’t because we are made to be adventure addicts, it is because we are created to live fully, love creatively, and laugh continuously. Unfortunately, this world is far too full of muck and anxiety. The trick is to decide to pursue life to the fullest anyway.
We are made in His image. We are created to experience all manner of emotions. These emotions – even if they are sadness or anger or anxiety – these are what make us grow. Like the way a tree is strengthened by the tossing of the wind. Like the way life-sustaining oxygen bursts out of waves as they crash and tremble and die on the shore. Like the way you and I understand each other and ourselves better when we collide sometimes. This is why we are put into families – so we can grow before we go.
It’s this part – our clashing – that made me pause my work and write to you this afternoon.
You see – I don’t really mind it. It means you’re one day closer to being who I’ve imagined you to be. It means you get to find yourself in a mess on this side of life – on the safe side – instead of in the world where it’s too often dark and damp and scary.
So I’m inviting you to sit with me and laugh and love and rise and fall and fail and succeed and learn what it means to live. I’m inviting you to work through your emotional ups and downs in this “training environment” instead of in a “published environment”. Here you get do-overs. You get the joy of being safe enough to play.
It’s been an honor, these years, to spend my life watching you find your wings.
If you’ll trust that the process of learning flight means falling, striving, and unexpected flight-path corrections, you’ll find that my past experiences (and failures) will enhance your success rate exponentially. You WILL fall, but I promise I will be here for the getting up and beginning again.
Just focus and keep trying.
Remember the song we’d sing in the car on full blast on the way to elementary school:
I’m not afraid to fall
It means I climbed up high
To fall is not to fail
You fail when you don’t try.
My whole life has led to this window of time where I get to watch you unfurl.
And this is exactly where I want to be: in this moment.
The ability to climb this mountain, jump off, and find the elation of exercising your wings is in you.
Embrace joy and gratitude.
I love you more,