Whitney Grady: Seeing isn’t always believing
As the holidays approach and my children grow older, I find myself working harder and harder to preserve the magic. All the while, I am reminded they must believe in something deeper to find the magic that will surely offer them magical lives.
Here’s my letter to my children …
Dear Thomas and Eliza,
Someday, you may question the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy or even Santa. You may hear whispers from your friends that they aren’t real, but I hope you always believe because seeing isn’t always believing.
This is the same with God. There will be times in your life when you may question God’s existence. You may feel there is no proof. To this, I tell you, just look around. The proof is everywhere — in the flowers, the trees, the laughter of a baby, the whistle in the wind.
And if still you wonder because you feel a prayer isn’t answered or a hardship causes you pain, you must still believe: God is real.
I pray you will grow in God’s grace.
I pray you will tell the truth, even when it is difficult. Like I used to teach my preschool students, sometimes you will want to tell a lie, but telling a lie is like trying to hide an elephant under your coat — it is uncomfortable, difficult and will weigh you down.
I pray you will be kind to others. Someday, you will experience the hurt caused by the unkind words or actions of another and, though I will be sad at your pain, I hope it will teach you to never wish it upon another.
I pray you will do your part. It is a big world and everyone can pitch in. Pick up trash off the side of the road, take cat food to the animal shelter, open a door for an older person, give up your seat for a tired person, sit and listen to a friend even when you don’t have the time. I promise you will not regret one of those actions.
I pray you will admit to your mistakes. No one is perfect. You will make mistakes. That is OK. Learn from them and move on. Apologize. Swallow your pride. Make the next step better.
I pray you will take success in stride. Do not be boastful — it backfires. And do not ever think you have reached the highest peak — keep going. The journey goes on. There is more you can do. You can always better yourself in some way.
I pray you will try things that are scary or difficult because sometimes those are the best things. But I also pray this is not skydiving or bungee-jumping, unless of course that is your ultimate dream and then, still I must admit I will probably try to sway your dream to something closer to the ground.
I pray you will be there for each other, for family is important and no one will love you more or know you better. I pray you stay close and stay together.
I pray that people will love you for the sweet, kind children-of-God that you are, not for what you wear or who you know or where you’ve been. And I hope you can see the difference between the people who love you for who you are and those who are impressed by those things that don’t impress God.
There will be times, though it is difficult for me to admit now, but I’m told it’s coming — when you will be mad at your father and I because we will not see eye-to-eye (maybe a dance we don’t let you go to or a party we veto). I pray you will eventually see the reason behind our discipline and that you will love us for it. I also pray you will know even when you make poor choices, it will bounce off of us just like it bounced off of our parents — and we will love you right through it.
I pray you know God. I pray you trust God. I pray you never give up on God. Some prayers will not be answered; that does not mean God has neglected you. God knows the plan. Life is not easy. You win some and you lose some. There will be moments of absolute joy and there will be moments when you do not think you can take the pain. If you have God, you will be OK.
I pray you will someday look back and remember being little and kneeling with your daddy and I at church. I pray my wrinkled knees will be there too.