Here's the deal: YOU have a purpose. Life for you right now is only illuminated as far as the headlights of a car, but somewhere down the road is your destiny, and it's gonna be good. You can't see it right now, your entire life is only shining in those two little circles on the road of "RIGHT NOW," and it seems like that's all there is, but there's MORE. SO much more. Once your destiny is in focus, the blinders of darkness around those headlights will be lifted. It's going to be amazing when that happens, because you will be able to see all of the gorgeousness that is life all around you.
Here's another deal: We are all strange. If we weren't, we would be robotic and boring. But we have quirks. The insane part is that the bullies who put you down have secrets about how abnormal they are too, and by throwing insults, they somehow feel like that makes them more normal. Don't give them the power to take away who you are, or diminish the unique qualities this world is so thirsty for. Someday what makes you feel awkward and out-of-the-loop will be what makes you so irresistible as a human. You will embrace these differences and own them and wear them proudly. Right now you may feel like you just need to hide them in order to survive, but that glow that is a part of you will burst into light someday. It will be a spectacular day when you feel like you can walk, talk, and act like YOURSELF (for me this happened in college...).
Yet another deal: People will break your heart. They will. They are humans, and so are you. You may take the heartbreak so personally that it crumbles the goodness you once thought you had inside, but put a halt to that right away. You might question your value, but please don't. There are countless cliches out there to explain the fact that is true: There IS someone better out there for you. Again, don't let those headlights tell you otherwise. Please. You have no clue the stunning person who is breathing the same air you are and waiting...waiting further down the road for YOU and YOU alone.
The biggest deal: You are loved beyond measure. If you were diagnosed with a disease, I promise a family member WOULD blog about you. They might blog so much about you that you get embarrassed about it. Hopefully they won't describe your poop the way I do about my son. But really and truly, you are someone's heartbeat. You may be so stuck in a dark place that it feels no one could love you, but here is what you HAVE to do: ask for validation. You must put down your pride and ASK someone you have an inkling might care about you why you are so important, so valuable. If you are stuck in an even darker place than that: realize you are not alone. It's lonely in the dark and it feels like every other person is basking in the light. There is an even bigger entity that hears you and loves you beyond all measure. Even if you don't completely believe, pray. There will be a peace, I promise. It is uncanny and it is spellbinding, and I promise it happens. Whatever walk of faith you are on, here's another truth: You have to find what you believe on your own. You have to own it because YOU believe it. If you seek, it WILL be found.
This message I am writing to you, my teenaged friends, has been on my heart since Wednesday when I heard about another teen suicide, this one very close to home. It grieved me immeasurably. I was not his teacher in seventh grade, but I taught many of his friends who loved him. I think about you all of the time, my former students. I never said this in class, but every single day I taught you, I looked at you all and thought, "These are someone's greatest gift and they have entrusted ME to lead and teach and direct them for an hour today. How will I let this hour pass?" And so I taught my classes thinking about my own babies in someone else's class someday. I loved my academic subject (I think that was obvious), but I loved YOU more.
I don't know how many of you will read this, or even if any of you will. I will let it be in the cyberspace world, circling around until it is needed. I hope that anyone who does read this remembers that no matter how horrible, scary, ugly, and heartbreaking the situation, "IT WILL GET BETTER!"
Love one another. Never forget those who have gone and treasure those memories. You are someone's Brody or Gideon... I think that's what gets me every time...
All my love,