To My Younger Self
You’re not who you think you are. You are not worthless or powerless or a coward. You are priceless, and powerful, and actually quite brave.
The things that happened to you – the things that made you feel so small, dirty and discarded – were not a reflection of anything you deserved. They happened because the world is full of broken people. Our broken places are like shards of glass, injuring those who come in contact with those places. You were not the cause; just the recipient.
But you are not the wounds you receive. Life is what happens to us and around us, but it does not define us. You are not what was done to you, or even what you may have done as a result.
You, little girl, are amazing. There was a time – a long time – I was so angry at you. I held you to an impossible standard; I held against you things you could never have controlled, and punished you for things you never did wrong. I’m so sorry for that now, and I really do see how brave and smart you were. You did what you had to, and, largely because of that, I’m here today and I have an amazing life. I’m so sorry I didn’t know how to have compassion for you, or to appreciate what you actually did for me. I know it now.
You were never wrong to keep hoping, or wishing, or imagining, or trusting. What others did in response was not your fault – it was theirs. You were just a flower, trying to bloom.
I’m sorry for what happened to you. I’m more glad than I can say that you chose to open it back up. To trust one more time. To hope. To love.
It’s turned out okay. The pain that closed you in and made you hide, it’s gone. The fear that took your breath and made you still? You faced it and pressed through it. It’s not there anymore. The power you thought you lacked? It’s taught me how to overcome.
The God inside you is so big, and so strong, and so bright. He carried you through, and put all the pieces back together again. And he made it so that we’re good, you and I. I think out of all the relationships I treasure and regret the most, it’s ours. How I mistreated and disrespected and hurt you. And how you just hung in there until he fixed my shards of glass. How he made us whole.
You’re beautiful. You’ve always been beautiful, and powerful, and good. God inside you is good, and I see him in you. Because of you.
Thanks for not shutting down, or embracing hatred, or giving up. None of it has been for nothing. I think you’d be proud of the way things have turned out. I try to do the things you loved, and I get to do them to help other people heal. Pretty amazing, right?
I’m proud of you. And, I think, you’d be proud of me, too. We’ve done okay, you and I. We’ve gotten to see the grace of God in an extraordinary way, and you started it all. I can’t repay you, but I can try to live a life marked by grace, and love. I think I’ve learned that from you. You and God inside you.
Thank you for your courage most of all. Your decision that something else was more important has been my chance to prove you were right.
And you were right.