An open letter to the world

There are few things I love doing more than reading, writing and receiving letters. I enjoy finding beautiful ways to word simple thoughts and wishes for the people I love. As we come to close on this beautiful holiday season, I have been collecting a list of wishes for the new year. This list started as a list of things for me to work on this year, but these are wishes for you, and for me, and really, for everyone. Let’s get 2015 right. There is something to be said for looking back on the past year. Sure, we made some mistakes, but not only did we survive, we thrived. Let yourself look back on 2014 tonight, reflect, make note of and reminisce over the highlights. Then let go. We are moving forward, onward and upward, as the clock approaches midnight. Here are my wishes for you in the year to come.

  1. I wish you would take more pictures. Pictures of you and of friends, of the food you eat and the places you go and the books you read, of flowers you find because I want you to remember every beautiful thing you see. Each time you see a beautiful thing, remember that this is the only time you see it in this way, from this point of view and that for just one second, everything was right with the world.
  2. I wish you would meet new people. Sit down with a stranger at a coffee shop or restaurant, on a bus or train, at your church. I hope and pray that not only would you meet new people, but that you would leave people in better condition than you found them. Be nurturing and understanding and forgiving and loving, and in return, I wish that people would do the same to you.
  3. I wish you would learn to love yourself. When you learn to love yourself, you learn to love more the people who love you, and the people who don’t. It takes practice. It is extra work, but you have to decide every day to allow the space between who you are right now and who you want to be inspire you, not scare you.
  4. I wish you would have the gumption to press through. I wish that you would not spend so much time treading water that you forget how much you have always loved to swim. There is something to be said for optimism, but we have been promised struggle, and yet commanded to take heart! For Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33b). I think we often spend so much time staring into the darkness that we forget that all that shines above us is also within us. God within us, we shall not fail (Psalm 46:5). There is no need to go searching for the light when you have brought it with you.
  5. I wish you would hold on to your hope. It is in such limited supply these days; hold onto it and be proud that you are the one who does. I do not believe there is a more dangerous and destructive force in the world than hope, nor is there a more necessary one either.
  6. I wish that you would take risks. I firmly believe that your life will unfold in proportion to you courage. We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.
  7. I wish you would make mistakes. If you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing the world. You’re doing things you’ve never done and more importantly, you’re Doing Something. Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before.

There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art or love or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do It. Make your mistakes, this year and forever.

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