Adele’s “Someone Like You” croons in the background, and I find my mind returning to a familiar place from the last few weeks. My sisters. My young adult sisters, just standing on that awkward precipice between childhood and adulthood. Between girl and woman.
My dear sisters,
I do not miss that time. That age. I felt I didn’t belong anywhere, and huge expectations were heaped upon my shoulders. What I was expected to do, which did or did not collide with what I dreamed of doing. And yet, I didn’t completely know what I wanted to do. I had dreams. Large, beautiful, innocent dreams. And they were going to require work.
I dreamt of love. Probably the biggest thing I dreamed of, as my teenage years came to a close and I entered adulthood. I wanted him. And children. Yes, even then I knew I wanted at least that. I figured it would be easy. I had a laundry list of attributes I wanted him to have–and not have. I just would wait, and he would come galloping in on his white horse.
In the years that I trudged forward into adulthood, into my life, into myself, I found that this quest not just for a husband, but for the future was going to be much harder than I had thought. It started in late high school. I had places I wanted to attend college, boys I wanted to date, classes I wanted to take. And it didn’t happen. I would stand in the mirror and I saw ugly things. I did not see beauty, I did not see good. I saw faults. That grew larger and larger the longer I analyzed myself. Until I despised myself.
As I watch you both standing on that precipice, I want to run and pull you back. Because you are not that tiny child I held, that I thanked God for–another sister. Another life in our family. You are not the girls that danced in jammies with tape players. That we played with and confided in. You are not the girls that ran through the house while we chased you, that we cuddled with on the couch. Then, we could protect you. We could shield you from the world, from the harsh realities that will try to break you and destroy your dreams. You are women. It has happened. And now you are susceptible to the demons, both inside and out, that would love to see you destroyed. And I hate that.
I have a lifetime left to walk. I’ve only been an adult for a handful of years. And yet, I’ve fallen hard in grief, loss, and responsibility. Fear, bitterness, and difficulty have attempted to leave their scars. And some have. I know this life is not what I had dreamed it to be. I have had my heart broken by boys who claimed to be men. I have fought and lost. I have made dreams and not fulfilled them.
Don’t let this destroy you. Don’t let the change, the fear, the loss that you will inevitably experience destroy you. I see so much beauty, strength, resolve in the two women I once knew as baby girls. I see such kindness, selfless love, and dedication in you. Dreams will change. Life will deal you blows. And you will probably fail at a few things. Boys will break your heart, and you will question if your heart will ever fully heal.
But when you look in the mirror after all of this happens, don’t see who hates you. Don’t see the scars, the ugliness that isn’t really there. Please see what I see. See the beauty, the innocence. Resolve and Faith. Strong wills and incredible characters. When the dreams change and the blows come, let yourself cry. Let me hold you. Take this to God. When the failure happens and those boys break your heart, remind yourself you are better than that. You deserve better.
When this happens, see the beauty that the rest of us see lying inside of you. See the virtue. See God. Because He’s there. He’s waiting for you. To see Him. To run to Him. He sees in you more beauty than even I see. Pick up the pieces–your pieces–and stand up slowly. Once you can walk forward, trudge on. Never lose sight of the beauty waiting in the shadows, the beauty right in front of you. Never forget that, as many people will break your heart and try to steal your innocence, there are ten times more people who love you. Cherish you. Who see your individual and precious beauty.
I swore I’d never let a man break my heart. I swore I’d have a whole, unscarred heart to hand my husband. I thought I did. I lied to myself. But if I hadn’t handed my heart, my love to those around me, I wouldn’t have been true to myself. I live to love. And I love to live. And I see that in you both. An intense desire and yearning to alleviate suffering, to love those unloved. And so in that vocation, there will be more hurting, more scars. But you cannot yet see the good that comes from that, even when your heart must inevitably get broken.
I cannot shield you from your broken hearts. What that I could. But, do not let this pain, this heartache scar you. Do not let it steal your innocence, take your Faith. For there is such beauty, such virtue you have to give yet. You are at such a painful, tough time in your life. Trudge forward. You will find what you are searching for. Because you are searching for God’s path. Your Faith will guide you, your pain will teach you, your love will light the way. And, on those cold twists and turns where the light seems to have gone out, you will find me. I will be there. So will everyone who loves you. And God. He’ll always be there.
My heart was broken, I have seen myself fail. But there were promises I made to myself that, because of you two, I would not break. When I dated the man that became my husband, I’d never loved someone so deeply, never cared for someone so much. But that came with a horrible, gut-wrenching fear of the biggest broken heart I’d ever risked. Even through our dating and engagement, I was careful. I saved precious treasures of myself until we were husband wife. Because of you two. I had to set an example, show you it was possible. I lived my life right–for you. And I am happy. A dream finally fulfilled. Partially because of you.
Adele has a beautiful voice, but her message is skewed. Don’t find “someone like” him, who broke your heart. Reach farther, hold out longer. Shoot for the stars, and you will land among the heavens.