My sweet girls,
I often wonder how history will tell the story of these days. You are so little, I doubt you will remember. My mother used to talk about the Challenger space shuttle explosion of 1986 and how that impacted her as a young mom. I have no memory of that, but I have a million (and counting) memories of who my mom is. So that’s my prayer for you, dear ones, that whether or not you remember every event, you remember Daddy and me and the way we lived.
This can be a scary world and there are risks in every action, but we want to make sure our priorities are clear. So every day we want you to know that we love you and we love each other. Every decision we make in this family will be made from love. Every decision, every action, and (hopefully) every word spoken in this family has come and will come from a place of love.
The way I see it, we can choose one of two ways to live–love or fear. We can choose to live liberated by love or restricted by fear. It’s not naivete, but rather a choice to live with open hands versus tightly closed fists. When we live in love, when we live with open hands, we take every situation as it comes, just as we might turn over an object in our hands to examine it. If we live in fear, with tightly closed fists, our immediate response to a new situation is to fight it. After all, white knuckles aren’t meant for exploring but defending.
When we live in love, when we live with open hands, we see everything we have as a gift to be enjoyed. If we live in fear, with tightly closed fists, what we have are not gifts, but possessions to be protected at all costs. With open hands, we give to our neighbors, we share with strangers, we open our doors. Fear shuts it all down.
Our life mission
There is a popular quote from Mr. Rogers, the creator of your beloved Daniel Tiger, in which he says, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Sweet girls, we are the helpers. That is our life mission. That is in the DNA of our family. Because we are people who live from love, we will buy extra groceries for the food pantry. We will pass out bottled water to service workers. We will give money to fund churches and organizations that can have a bigger impact. We will send encouraging cards and text messages to friends. We will bake cookies for our neighbors. We will ask each other, “How can I help you?”
It won’t be easy
It is not easy to live with open hands in a world of closed fists. It is so much harder to share when we fear there might not be enough. It’s a constant struggle, and sometimes we make mistakes. When I snap at you or respond to Daddy in anger, I have probably closed my hands. Maybe I’m afraid of what’s coming next. Maybe I’m afraid my parenting isn’t good enough. Maybe I’m afraid of how deeply I hurt. But if I can open my hands, apologize and invite you to snuggle on my lap, tell the truth of how I feel, then I am able to live in love again and lead you to love too. Just as the light will always shatter the darkness, love will always conquer fear. As you girls grow, my prayer is that you will see that lived out in our family and it will become a hallmark of your lives as well.