I guess all of this is to say.

Dear Ava,

I once wrote a poem to you from the future. I’m no Marty McFly, so in reality, the poem was from the right now, but it was a vomited strand of all the darkness in my heart in one place,


Since then, I’ve come to see things differently. I no longer fear being alone, or maybe I embrace it in a way that speaks to the holiness of aloneness.

You’ve just got to understand how much it takes out of a person to see and process more than is humanly reasonable.

Whenever they develop a pill for something like this, I’ll be the first one at the pharmacy.

For now, here are the things I’ve come to observe and the awareness God’s gifted me, although “gifted” is a word I struggle with sometimes, like putting pants on a toddler.

Everything is about them, not you. Unless it’s about you.

Your father pointed out once that I’m often the common denominator in my own stories. This happened a long time ago, and it was a bit of meat that’s still stuck in my teeth. I have so many flaws. This is true. Although knowing your father, that’s not how he meant it. I think he realized something about me. I have a sincere heart for knowing what I am but a hard time walking away from it.

Isn’t that like a lot of us though?

I’ve learned that sometimes people can’t see these things in themselves. If they did, I wouldn’t have to point them out and then politely be asked not to come over for Thanksgiving dinner. But alas, here we are.

Kidding though. Kind of.

I’ve been given grace upon grace for the blackness inside of me, and I’ve slowly (painfully slowly) been learning that grace can be multiplied and even given and handed out like Halloween candy (the good kind. Think Sour Patch Kids).

How long did I ignore this possibility only to hand out my own cellophane-wrapped criticisms and the bitter frustration of living inside my head but nobody else living there too? How hard to communicate the soft parts of my heart, how sorry I am for all of us, and knowing there’s not much I can do about anything but type words on a page.

These aren’t the things thirteen-year-olds can admire like a brand-new pair of Lululemon leggings. They’re the things that most people can’t admire. But here you are with a bag full of all the sad things I’ve put into it over the years.

I guess all of this is to say that you’ll one day be the common denominator, too, and maybe give out the better thing–God’s grace to those who haven’t realized this in themselves.

There’s always a bandwagon. So run, fast.

I used to be a feminist and then an atheist and then there was my kombucha phase where I made sticky batches of fermented tea on my counter. I didn’t eat meat or dairy for an entire year and a half and talked about the dangers of carrageenan like it literally could steal your soul.

I’ve grown out my hair just to cut it right back off and have sharply edited my body’s freedom to look good in a bikini, which I did once upon a time by the way. Stop rolling your eyes.

I think we’re all sheep and sheep need shepherds or at least very tall platforms from which to fall. The thing about anything big and looming and trying to steal your attention is that it’s often doing so as an aspersion to God. There are no innocent bandwagons, no good-natured soapboxes whether you lean hard to your left or your right.

It’s all evil, the same kind really. And if the fronts of all society were removed mid-march, you’d see the same evil pulling the strings of its puppets.

I guess all of this is to say that there’s only one way to outrun the masses: live with a humble heart and a fear of the Lord. Otherwise, the ideology of man will have its way with you.

We all believe in something, even when we don’t.

You can also claim not to believe in God or anything else for that matter like I once did. I refused to believe, not out of my own volition of a creature separate from creation, but more like a toddler whose pants I still can’t get back on. I wanted nothing to do with a world or God who is older than time, older than me, and decided to throw my tantrum for an exhausted audience. I knew better than everyone because I was twenty-one and had read several biographies on Gloria Steinem. Just hand me over that Nobel prize, please. Again, another aspersion to the God who must sit back and burn a million calories from laughing at his children in the way you do when you love someone so much despite the fact that they’re pantless.

I’m sure there are more things to say here like a list of all my personal pet peeves (people standing too close to me at the gym, people standing too close in general, people being “polite” at a four-way stop and waving me to go when they obviously got there way before me, culottes…), but this isn’t the time or the place. I’m sure the number of times I’ve thrown up my hands in traffic or stared down a woman who only thinks she’s wearing shorts has already brought my personal aversions to your attention.

Instead, I guess I’ll leave you with this: I only know one thing that’s worked in my life and that is to fear God. All else will waste your time and the hair on your head. The fear of the Lord brings you closer to God and gives you enough sense to let your fellow man off the hook. It humbles the stupid behind all of your actions and the ways we keep believing we’re the stars in our own shows. We don’t have a show. We have this time and space God has granted us the privilege in which to live.

You’ll mess up. You’ll cut your hair and make weird fermented tea in your kitchen. You’ll wear terrible clothes and pretend you know better than everyone else, because if you don’t, then what do you have left?

You’ll have your God who loves you, and you’ll have me who always had the hardest time keeping you clothed when you were two.

But that’s okay, bub, because I’ve seen our future, and well, there’s really not much to complain about.

Love always,


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