Do not be afraid. -Isaiah 41:10
When I was in Kindergarten, a boy named Lance took my sweater and would not give it back. We fought over it and when he eventually let go, I fell, busting my chin on the desk in front of me. The doctors didn’t want to sew me up, because my Kindergarten self was so scared.
I played softball for a few years after that. I wasn’t any good, but we won the tee-ball championship anyway. I remember refusing to swing, because I didn’t want to miss. I don’t remember the real reasons I quit playing, but I can tell you I was scared of the ball and I didn’t want to get dirty or sweat.
In junior high, I ran track and eventually cross country. I was the runner that Coach hated to coach. I didn’t try. I was lazy. I didn’t care. I was afraid of sore muscles, I was afraid to push myself, and I was afraid of not being good enough.
In high school, I broke up with that boy because I was scared he was going to break my heart.
My heart ended up broken anyway.
I wasn’t good enough because I didn’t try.
I missed 100% of the balls I didn’t swing at.
And those stitches would’ve been done and over with in half the time had I been just a little bit braver.
Fall off your bike. Strike out.
Make the tackle. Stomp in the mud. Climb the tree.
Shoot the fireworks. Fall in love.
Build a fort. Ruin your clothes. Ride the roller coaster.
Please be wild and reckless. Please live this life until it spills over the top and overflows.
Take the risk.
Here’s the thing: It’s going to hurt anyway. This living will hurt- no matter how much you try to avoid it. And it took me twenty nine years to realize that.
Pain teaches you how far you can go, it stretches you. You learn to bend. You will not break.
You cannot heal if you do not feel the pain.
I hope you remember the pain of crashing into the concrete and sore muscles from hiking all day. I hope you leave a trail of blood, sweat, and tears.
When you’re twenty nine years old and you’re telling these stories to your kids, I hope you tell them that you were never afraid. I hope you are able to tell them that you didn’t quit and you lived every inch of your life-
even when especially when it was painful.
When you tell your kids these stories, I hope you also tell them that I was there on the sidelines with my eyes wide open- your greatest supporter.
Do not be afraid. Do not fear.
I know where the band-aids are.
I love you to Germany and back.