I wish we could be having this conversation over steaming coffee or hot tea, surrounded by dimmed lights and hushed voices. I wish I could reach across the table and take your hand and speak these words out loud to you. If you ask me, things like this are not said aloud nearly as often as they should be.
The older I get, the more clearly I recognize that we do not have long here on this tilted earth. Our lives are like vapor, none of us being promised tomorrow. Having that knowledge can lead you to one of two places: fear, or fervor. For me, I landed in the first camp. When I realized my own fragility, I might as well have decided to never leave my house. Fear took over, and even something as simple as walking through a shopping mall became cause for panic to race through my heart. Not only was I afraid of the horrors I saw on the news, but I was scared that I would never have any sort of positive impact on our hurting world, so I just didn’t try. Sure, I reached out to others and told my story in small ways, but when it came to the things that felt big and important, I was perfectly fine with hiding myself away.
I was trying to protect myself, but what I found is that in my jaded effort to keep myself safe, I was wasting my one shot at this life. And I realized that in the end, nothing is small about reaching out and telling our stories. Even the seemingly mundane is significant.
What I want you to know, friend, more than anything else, is this: the world needs you.
The world is filled to the brim with people who will tell you to keep being afraid. I’m here to beg you to be brave. Make no mistake, it is okay to be afraid, but don’t let your fear overshadow who you were created to be.
Oh, yeah, the world is also full of people who think they have the power to tell you who to be. Tell those people to get lost. My friend Hannah once said that “when you live to please the world, no one wins. The world doesn’t need to be pleased, it needs to be changed.”
And I believe, deep down in my soul, that you are the person for the job. Will you show up?
Ask yourself, what makes you come alive? What brings you the greatest joy and sense of fulfillment? What is that dream buried deep within the confines of your heart that just seems too risky? How can you intentionally pursue a life of beauty and purpose and invite other people to participate? Consider this your own personal starting pistol, your permission slip to get off the sidelines of your life and into the action.
Sure, you may trip and take a tumble. But you have to decide to show up, and keep showing up and keep laying it all on the line, because someday, something will spark, and it only takes one tiny spark to ignite a wildfire. In the meantime, I will keep showing up.
I give you my word. You won’t be in this alone.
With a whole lot of heart,
Part of the “Dear You” Letters Project.
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