A Letter to My Children

The Uninvited Guests – by Julie Williams

Dear doted on and beloved.

Dear longings and dreams made powder-soft flesh.

Dear sweet children, born of my stretched heart, body, and white-knuckled prayers.

Your lives lie before you like a long banquet table.

I hope you feast on its bounty and know that there’s plenty to go around.

I pray that you leave a seat for Joy, Peace, Grace, Truth, and Love.

And that they all show up and stay.

I pray that Fortune, Fun, Fulfillment, and Adventure pay many visits.

But oh dear ones, sweet children with thin skins still on the soles of your feet and on your souls too….

There are two other guests who arrive.

And they always always arrive – unannounced and uninvited.

Their names are Hardship and Heartache.

I pray that they knock gently and don’t stay long,

But when they come to dine with you, be a gracious host.

Serve them just as well as you do the other guests.

While they’re with you, you’ll be tempted to order a side of blame and vindication, but don’t.

There are so many choices at this buffet, but these guests’ presence at your table will leave you bitter or better.

Never both. You can pick only one.

Choose the latter.

Choose to look them in the eye.

Lean in to see the gold they carry with them. It’s yours to keep if you find it.

Don’t flinch from their touch.

They mean to not break you, but to make you…

More humble, compassionate, human.

If others brought these guests to you, raise a toast to them for bringing life’s greatest teachers to your table –– then let them go.

And kiss these two as they leave too.

For when they leave,

And they always always do,

You will find that the old you leave with them.

No longer so thin-skinned, you will be beautifully battle-worn.

With a heart that is no longer whole nor broken,

But cracked open.

Like a seed.

– Julie Williams

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