This letter is for You… Yes, YOU. I have something deeply personal and intimate to share with you that might make you feel like you have just eaten too many sugar-free gummy bears but I must tell you anyway. I’m too shy to say it aloud when I am with you, so I have to write it out. STOP wondering who this is “for”…it’s for YOU. I love you. I love everything about you. Truly, Madly, Deeply—smitten in the most smittenish way one could be smitted. But I’m not sure you know yet… One of the reasons you might not know I love you is because you don’t Notice. You are so guarded against Receiving what is yours that you don’t even hear me. Please, pay attention now:
I said I love EVERYTHING about you. You are absolutely, without a doubt, 100% Adorable. I love your laugh, your smile, and when your eyes glitter with passion and energy when you talk about the people, places, and things you love. I love to witness you being lit up with Joy. I love all the things about you that are so Good—that are so much better than some things I see in myself. You inspire me! You guide me and instruct me, without your even knowing it, in the Grace-filled ways you move, speak, listen, share. I am in Awe.
I love all the parts of you that are the same as mine. I love how similar we are. I love the sense of connection, communion and community I feel in all the ways we are the same. You make me feel like I belong, like I am not alone. We are equals. We are peers. We are cut from the same slightly warped piece of cloth and we can laugh about it. We understand each other. I love that!
I love all the horrid parts about you: those icky, shameful parts you wish I could not see. I see them. And some of them are truly awful—every bit as terrible as some of mine, I realize with considerable relief. I look at you and think “Whew! I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that! Yikes!” I watch you flail and struggle with your humanness and then I find myself loving you even more. Thanks to you, I learn pity, compassion, forgiveness. I learn that truly loveable people are not perfect.
I love the parts of you I cannot understand yet. Every time you reveal that you are YOU and not someone else, and especially not me, I become more fascinated and intrigued. Just when I think you are familiar, you surprise me. You are a source of endless curiosity to me.
I love how Wise you are—it gives me a chance to learn.
I love how Stupid you are—it gives me a chance to teach.
I love how Clumsy you are—it gives me a chance to be patient.
I love how Patient you are—it gives me the space I need to try again.
I love how Experienced you are—it gives me a chance to trust.
I love how Innocent you are—it gives me a chance to protect.
I’ve looked around enough to know that there is absolutely no one else precisely like you on this planet. You are Rare. Of the 7.6 BILLION people on the globe, you are a sub-set of ONE. You were tailor made of the Highest Quality. You are not mass-produced, off-the-rack, cheap quality goods. No, my dearest, like the finest Continental suit, you are Bespoke. You were bespoke in your mother’s womb and you’ve been making yourself ever more interesting with every new scar or skill since that first moment you took a tiny breath of All that is Infinite and set your lungs and life ablaze with your own private fire.
Does knowing I love you this much make you uncomfortable? What an Odd thing that a declaration of Love could make one cringe… Relax! There’s no need to worry…I’m not going to knit you scratchy socks or harvest a bunch of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme and make you Cambric shirts without needlework. (I know better than to give you something that requires ironing!) Besides, I’ve made plenty of those in my youth and I am, quite frankly, a little tired of that kind of sewing. My eyesight and idealism are fading. I don’t want to be your True Love anyway. (On the bright side, I won’t be asking for an acre of land between the salt water and the sea strand either. I am too old for that kind of farming.) I just love you, that’s all. Live where you want. Wear what you want. Marry who or what you want. I honestly don’t give a rip if you ever even love me back.
When I was very young, I used to wonder who would ever love me. Who would comfort me? Who would hear me? Who would see me and be my witness that I am here? I could feel an ache in my heart-space where love from some source outside of me was supposed to go. As I matured, and was shaped by Family, Faith and School, I began to realize that my heart ached not with love that was Missing but with Love inside of me that was meant for Others. It was not my job to receive but to Give. Give and Give and Give. Now that I am what a friend’s five-year-old calls “a little old latey,” I can see that I was wrong both times. Each time, I wound up feeling empty, lost. Now, I know we must give AND receive. I no longer ask “Who can fill me?” or “Whom can I fix?” but rather “How can WE play a useful part in helping all of us love each other better?” How can I help you to love yourself? How can I see my own love in your mirror?
One of the most amazing things a True Love ever said was “You are so Special! What is it you do that makes you You? I need to know so that I can help you keep doing that thing. I love you and I don’t want you to stop doing anything that makes you Who You Are. It would be a terrible loss if you could not bloom into all you could ever be.”
So now I put the same question to you: what is it that makes you YOU? What makes your heart sing? What makes you giddy with Joy? What makes you calmly Serene? What do you need to do or experience or create or feel to bring yourself to the center of your own sacred Being and give glory? Do you need to Run? Dance? Garden? Fiddle? Drive with the windows down and classic rock blaring? Neuter tom-cats? Macrame plant hangers? Knit things out of animal fibres? Play Guitar? Keep shuffling important papers in a cubicle in HR? Stop thinking about what the world around you needs. It needs You. You need to show up and do your best You. I want that for you more than giving you twelve dozen roses, your weight in chocolate, and a winning lottery ticket. You’ll be a far better student, parent, worker, artist, dreamer, writer, builder… if you are fully present as your full self. Once you realize how precious you are, you won’t care so much if the secondary details are not as important as you thought. Who cares if your house is not that tidy, or your mind isn’t either for that matter? And if you do your best to show up and that “you” is sometimes grumpy, lazy, ill-tempered and sad—ask yourself what you need in those moments. Know that I want you to have it.
I know you are more comfortable Giving than receiving. I’ve seen you. I know. You are conditioned, like me, to prefer the subtle resentments of over-giving to the guilt of receiving. It’s one of the endearing things I love best about you. But it worries me too. Even now, I know you are wondering who I’m “really” writing to. Trust me, it’s YOU!! You need to be able to Receive. If you cannot receive the love in this note, how will you know which sunset is for you? (hint: ALL of them!) How will you tune your soul to the magnificent Silence of starlight on snow? How will you remember to stop and sniff all those over-priced roses for sale this week? (Do it!! They’re gorgeous!) Or even appreciate the exquisite beauty of someone who actually knows how to execute properly the entry and exit of a traffic circle round-about? (a true miracle of Un-nature)
It’s not your endless Giving that depletes you, Dear One—it’s that you do not let your own well refill with gracious Receiving. You are mostly Wonderful—apart from the fact that you are not loyal to your own wonderfulness. Like a stray cat, you expect others to notice it and feed it. Stop doing that. Adopt yourself. Doing so will not make you “selfish” in that horrible leave-all-your-dishes-in-the-sink-for-others-to-do kind of way (it shouldn’t!) but if you don’t start serving seriously your own wonderfulness, then you deny the world of a precious gift it was meant to enjoy—and in essence you steal yourself from us all.
Thank you for being you. I love you so much! Today, please do what it takes to keep being you. Serve your gift. Do whatever it takes to bring the Love to the world that only you can bring. Tomorrow is Valentine’s day—a good enough reason to send you this letter. But please, don’t think I love you just for this day only. Read this letter Any day! I love you for Always. Receive it as best you can and pass it on.
All my Love,
P.S. Now go smell the Roses!!! REALLY smell them.