Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tali in Cleveland

Dear Tali,
You have just turned eighteen, and college is looming. People will tell you college will be infinitely better than high school, but don’t believe them. This is not to say that you won’t love your college years, I would just encourage you to soak up these last months at home. And don’t feel bad for crying when you leave home, because those last moments with your family that morning will be among the sweetest memories you will ever make.

And as long as we’re talking about emotion, I want you to know that you shouldn’t avoid it. It’s okay to cry. I know you feel the need to protect yourself by being tough, by avoiding anything that exposes your true feelings, but let me tell you from experience, you’ll wind up with an enormous amount of regret if you do this. So share your testimony often, even if you have to blubber through it. Go say goodbye to Shaun, even if you are a few states away and in the middle of finals. Yes, you would cry like a baby to see him so sick, but if it were you, you know you’d want him there. And if you don’t go, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. That I can promise you. Dance with your brother at his wedding, even if there is no friend beside you to talk you into it. Sure, you might cry, because you love him more than anyone, because he is your miracle, and because it’s hard to let go, but it will be worth it. I can promise you that, too.

You are an incredibly caring person, and with that comes a tendency to want to help others who are struggling. This impulse is not a bad one, but it can get you into trouble if you aren’t careful. Remember that you can always walk away. Remember that not everyone can be helped. And remember that the person whose sanity is the most important is your own. The minute you feel yourself becoming less than the person you know you are, have a cry, cut them loose, and move on with your life. You’ll need this advice in both relationships and friendships, so please take it to heart.

And finally, a word or two about love. People are all sure you’ll marry fast, and while you are almost showy in your disagreement, you actually hope they are right. There will come a moment this summer when you realize that you could be married by this time next year. It will fill you with a sense of privilege and maturity. But let me just give you some advice right now and tell you that you will not get married as soon as you are hoping. You’ll have to trust in the Lord’s timetable, and this will not always be easy, but it will be essential. You will accomplish much in your single years, and too much discouragement will keep you from fully reaching your potential.

There are so many good things in your life, both then and now. Enjoy them, express gratitude for them, and if nothing else, write them down.

I’m pulling for you,
Tali, age 27

1 comment:

  1. This is a beautiful letter. I expected nothing less. And your brother is a miracle. I remember praying for him and hoping for the best but being so unsure of how things would go...the end of the story of his youth (beginning of the rest of his life) is more wonderful than I'm sure any of us hoped. And I should have sent this to you in an email...