Thursday, December 13, 2012

Open Letter To My Children

On 4/15/2011, I wrote an open letter to my children.  Now I post it here.

My dear children,
Today as I sat down at my desk and prepared to begin my day, I looked up at the walls of my cubicle and saw the pictures of you that were taken on the day you were born: Logan looking up at me with wide eyes, and Lilly sleeping peacefully in your mother’s arms, wrapped up safe and sound.  I began to think of how right now you cannot understand just how I love you and I thought of how one day when you are grown circumstances in your life may have brought you to a place where you can maybe understand better.  I thought of how my own journey in life brought me to this place.  I thought of how there were times when I did not understand my own parents and felt oppressed by them, how there were dark times in my life when I felt that no one truly loved me, and I wondered if you would go through times like these.  I thought about what an imperfect example of love I am.  And I thought of how, despite being imperfect, you truly are the greatest joys in my life, your births are the most important events of my life, and bringing you into the world is my greatest accomplishment.  I remembered the day I became a father, how I realized with fear and trembling that somehow, having only known you for scant moments, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that protecting you was the most important thing in the world.  I learned an important lesson about love when I realized that on the one hand, if anything were to happen to hurt you it would hurt me far greater than anything that could happen directly to me – and that was a very frightening realization.  On the other hand, I also realized something wonderful that I hope I never forget: that if anything were to physically happen to me, such as losing an arm, as long as you were safe it would be insignificant: nothing can truly hurt me as long as I have love in my life.  I know there will be times in your lives when you feel completely alone, unloved, misunderstood.  I know there will be times when I act very human and set a poor example of what love truly is.  I know you will experience hard times, and it hurts me very much to know that.  But I hope and pray that one day, you will emerge from the fog, and you will look back and see that all throughout these hard times you were very much loved, and loved deeply.  Maybe you will see the evidence that during these hard times, someone was weeping for you – wishing you could see clearly what lay ahead, and understand how insignificant the pains of this world are.  I pray that one day you will love and be loved deeply, and that through this you will understand how much you are loved by your father on earth, and your Father in heaven.  And I hope you will understand that love means that all those times you looked at your Father and denied his love – they have been washed away and forgotten, never to be brought up again.  Don’t ever let shame cause you to hold back and avoid your Father’s arms – there is nothing you could possibly do that would ever cause him to stop loving you.  Just like the father in the story of the Prodigal son – he will stand at the edge of his driveway watching and waiting for your return no matter how long he has to wait and the moment he sees you he will run to embrace you, never waiting for or requiring your apology before he wraps his arms around you.  I pray one day you will know this love, and learn how to give love of the same kind to those around you.  I pray you will understand that love is the greatest accomplishment and the most important task in this life on earth. 
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
In this life I know I will never be a great example of Love.  But I love you, just the same.
Your father on earth

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