My sweet son, the other day I saw the wheels turning in your brain when your dad and I were explaining to you what happened on 9/11. You stared into space for a few moments afterward reflecting on what had been said; you’ve done that when learning something new since you were small. I could see that in your beautifully logical mind and sensitive heart that the explanation just did not make sense. I’m not sure how it came up; your dad and I have tried to be vigilant in guarding your heart. But it made me realize that the time is fast approaching when you will make the revelation that life, as you know it, is actually just a silk screen of reality. A reality that is as terrible as it is magnificent.
I still remember the first time you emphatically covered your ears at a loud sound. It was in that moment I knew you were destined for a life of sensitivity. A part of me rejoiced because that view of the world is unique and one you come by quite honestly. Few on the planet feel as deeply as you do, and that, although it may not always seem like it, is a special gift. Everything is a little more vivid and the world has a bit more wonder attached to it. It’s full of magic and mystery at every turn. The goodness in everyone outshines the bad in your big blue eyes, and you are so quick to feel empathy to those who are treated unfairly. Your heart, my love, is as pure as they come.
But a part of me also grieved because I know how devastating the truth of the world will be for you. It will seem confusing how people can be so senselessly cruel to one another. The pain of life will be as strong as the beauty of it, and it is going to be a challenge learning how to live in the same space as the two. But it is possible.
Here is what you need to know.
As you grow older the world will seem to lose some of its vibrancy. There are parts that will remain so, and they will absolutely take your breath away. Keep them close in heart and mind and visit them when the weight of the world begins to push down. But there are many parts that are messy and muddy, shades of ugly colors that you have yet to explore. Sometimes you can go around them and other times you just have to pull up your bootstraps and trudge right through them. You’ll get dirty and it will be uncomfortable, but you’ll make it back on solid ground and hopefully learn something in the process.
I admit, I am guilty of putting you in a protective bubble at times. But I’m not ashamed because I know your heart. You still refuse to watch the part in Despicable Me when Gru is a young boy being made fun of on the playground because you can’t stand to watch people get hurt, even if it’s fiction. But the truth is that you will find a lot of hurting people in the real world. Everyone hurts throughout their lives, and you will too. It’s normal and part of being human. Sometimes people hurt inside their hearts, some in their bodies, some in both. And you will find that those that hurt others are usually the ones hurting the most. Unfortunately, though, you cannot fix them. That may be one of the hardest things for you to understand because every problem up until now has had a logical, clear-cut solution. But the world is full of open-ended problems that we are incapable of fixing. There is only One who can can do that. We just have to try to trust Him and love others the best we can through the hard parts.
But here is something else you need to know.
Somehow, in God’s miraculous and mysterious way, it is because of all of this muddied mess that the good parts become so much more magnificent than they once were. When you experience the bad, appreciating the good is an inevitable consequence. You cling to it a little more and take a little longer to soak it all in than you once did. And somehow, in all the ashes of hardship, gratitude and beauty begin to emerge. That, my child, is the true wonder and mystery and beauty of this world.
I wish I could say that when times get rough that your dad and I will always be here for you, but that is not true. We won’t always be here. Oh, I wish more than anything that I could follow you through every twist and turn in life and be your remedy in time of need, but that is just not how things go in this life. Fortunately, God will, and it is my ultimate prayer that you that you will seek Him and find Him and follow Him through the good times and the bad. Because even in the dark He is still there and will never ever give up on you.
So although you may get discouraged as the real world shows its face over time, rest in the fact that there is love and beauty all around you and try, if you can, to pass that on to others. You have so many amazing attributes, my son. Your sensitive nature will afford you the desire to care for and help those in need. Your logic will help you discern your way through tough decisions. Your desire to do right will propel you forward into achieving your dreams and goals. Keep all of that in mind when this world takes on new meaning, and remember that there will always be hope, and there will always be love.