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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lilly R


Dear Lilly,

It's been so long since I've said something to comfort you, since I made a commitment to make you feel valuable, since I lauded your successes and your victories. Actually, it's not that it's been too long. It's that I've never done this before. I know you might not believe a thing I say in this letter, it's the way you are. But I beg you to open your mind and your heart and believe the things I'm about to say.

You are out of a job, I know. Months and months of hope and struggle and rejection and frustration are evident from your once-bright face, your once-straight posture, from your once-frequent smile. You've heard the word “no” every single day. You've offered up your experience and your willingness to work to everyone who is willing to accept a letter, an e-mail, anything. The sad, sometimes cruel responses whittle away at the belief you once had that you were meant for something great. All you want is an opportunity to work, to help. And as the bills pile up on your desk, and you feel small pangs of hunger when you know you can't buy groceries until next week, you come closer and closer to believing that perhaps your whole life has been a series of mistakes. There was once a little girl who acted on her dreams. Now that little girl is curled up in a corner, beaten, exhausted, and doesn't want to dream again.

There are other ways of seeing yourself, just as you are, without focusing on what is negative, what is missing, what was lost... and to that end I wanted to remind you of a prayer that you used to read to yourself, when you were younger and full of fire, when you believed that you could make a difference in this world:

“Our Father, who has set a restlessness in our hearts and made us all seekers after that which we can never fully find, forbid us to be satisfied with what we make of life. Draw us from base content and set our eyes on far-off goals. Keep us at tasks too difficult for us that we may be driven to Thee for strength. Deliver us from fretfulness and self-pitying; make us sure of the good we cannot see and of the hidden good in the world. Open our eyes to simple beauty all around us, and our hearts to the loveliness people hide from us because we do not try to understand them. Save us from ourselves, and show us a vision of the world made new.”

Eleanor Roosevelt is said to have recited that prayer every night. And why did you do it? Because, like Eleanor Roosevelt, you wanted to be a force for change, to fight injustice with acts of kindness. You wanted to dedicate all your strength and all your energy to making a difference in people's lives. And you did, tirelessly, work towards that goal. You worked with women and children who were downtrodden, physically and psychologically abused, changing their lives towards independence, self-sufficiency, and joy. You traveled to lend your service for the cause of human rights. You went to law school, trudging through days of immense difficulty and uncertainty, and you emerged a lawyer. The girl whose mother picked coffee as a little girl is a lawyer. You were not satisfied with what life gave you, you were not fretful, you took on tasks that seemed impossible, and you made it through. You strove to find kindness and beauty in the most difficult situations. You saw the world, made new.

So the job hasn't come yet. So the world is a dark place right now. Fill it with the light you have inside of you. Illuminate it with all the fire that fueled you to the place you are now. I know there is passin in you yet, and I know that if you just let it shine through, everything will get better. The world is not a force pitted against you. The world is the place where you blossomed. So don't look back with regret at what could have been – look back with pride at what you accomplished. I don't want you to cry anymore. Wipe those tears from your eyes, so you can see what you've become.

All my love,

Lilly

4 comments:

Aimee said...

Wow, maybe you should be a writer... this is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. It brought tears to my eyes. You ARE destined for something very special. Believe yourself when you say it!

Iman Woods Creative said...

I agree with Aimee! I've had goosebumps both times I've read your letter. The first time was because of all you're going through. But the second time, I got shivers because I could easily see you accomplishing great things.

Keep your chin up, there's so much good to come.

Lilly said...

You guys are absolutely so sweet. I appreciate it. I've actually been thinking, in the last week or so, about how this letter has affected me. I literally feel lighter. I feel motivated and energized, lucid and inspired, and the world looks brighter. All the stuff in the letter? I feel like I left it all there, in the letter. The letter helped me let go of all that negativity that was weighing me down. I hope so much that everyone that has written one has felt the same. It's incredible.

Iman Woods Creative said...

YOU are incredible. You took this seriously and poured your fear into that letter. Now you are letting it go! Amazing! You. Are. Amazing. :)

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