Hi Little One,
You and your sister and mom know me pretty well, so it probably won’t shock you that
I’m writing one of those “Daddy-to-Daugther” letters again. What may surprise you though is what motivated me to write it.
Remember? That hour or so yesterday afternoon when the cicadas went crazy, we kept putting on and taking off cardboard glasses, and that cereal box projector thing I made kinda sorta worked (ok, not really)?
Yeah, that eclipse.
Well, it all got me thinking. About some stuff I’ve learned, about life right now, and about a girl who’s becoming a woman more and more each day.
So, at the risk of sounding like a philosophical astronomer, here’s the download.
1. Embrace the waiting-for as much as the finally-here.
You know what made the eclipse memorable? Yeah, it was the moon and sun slow dancing, but it also was the stories of people taking off days from work to drive to the path. It was those silly countdown clocks on web pages. It was our own day-of commute to the country to get away from the trees and buildings of our city.
Here’s the point. You and I are a lot alike. We enjoy the destination part of life. The grade. The acceptance letter. The paycheck. The finish line.
But I’ve also discovered that so much of the big stuff of life is a process. There are so many things that happen along the way to something that give meaning to getting there. That’s why applying yourself now to study and work hard and be a good friend is so important. Because one day when you walk across a stage, with me cheering, or into your office to show me your view, or down an aisle with me by your side, you’ll be glad you did.
Check the boxes, but don’t forget they’re a part of a whole. I know they can be frustrating and tedious. But sometimes there’s beauty in the boring. And what it takes to get somewhere, even if it’s dull and no one sees it, is doing something inside of you, and that’s going to make enjoyment of the destination possible.
2. Have expectations, hold them loosely, and learn to roll with life.
I heard someone mention yesterday, “I thought it was going to be darker.” For some, I’m sure part of the unmet expectations of the eclipse was the fact they’d never seen one before. It was all new. For them, “dark” meant a power outage, not a dimmer bulb. And when the reality of a cosmic event didn’t reach the picture they had in mind, disappointment set in.
Here’s the honest truth. Being let down will happen again. People are going to disappoint you. Circumstances are going to frustrate you. You’re going to kick yourself occasionally.
The bottom line is that life isn’t always fair. We’re not entitled to perfection. Obviously, we don’t and shouldn’t like any of this, but knowing that real life includes both good and bad, and nothing is ever going to be as precise as we’d like it to be, is going to help our outlook, our mood, and our blood pressure.
Let’s face it. Loosening our grip on the joystick labeled “Control” is a challenge for me and you. But we can do it. And we’ll be better for it.
3. Keep looking up.
You had to know I was ending with this.
It’s true, the God we believe in isn’t just “up.” He’s next to you as you read this on your phone. And he’s at your high school, positioned for the first day in a couple of weeks. And he’s in your college dorm room, preparing for your arrival in a few years. And he’s in your child’s bedroom, ready to listen to an overnight prayer of a tired, earnest mother. He’ll never not be where you are.
If you remember only one thing, let it be this:
Run to God.
He’s around you. And in you. And above all the concerns that fill your heart. He’ll ask for your trust. Give it. You can ask for his guidance. You’ll get it.
That’s what a God who’s above, does.
Keep looking up.
I hear this whole eclipse thing is going to happen again in seven years. I’m not sure what all will be going on in our lives at that point, but let’s save those glasses, enjoy the days leading up to it, and watch it together again.
I love you. To the moon, and sun, and back.