World Kindness Day

by Hilary Horn

By Emily Huff

Today is World Kindness Day. It also happens to be my daughter’s birthday which seems incredibly fitting. In light of that, I’d like to share a letter I’m giving her today, and it’s something I’d like to share with you too as it’s a message we all need to hear. 

Dear Anna, 

As I see you continue to grow into the woman God created you to be, I am so grateful for the incredible gift you are in our lives. I echo your godfather’s prayer for you on your 13th birthday: “Lord, I pray the kingdom-dazzled words I have prayed for my boys since they were born, words that shimmer of Jesus.  Anna, may you drink from the living waters of His grace, dance in the sonlight of His truth, and be embraced by the laughter of His everlasting arms. May you fairly sparkle with His compassion and generosity, His humility and courage, His wisdom, wonder and joy…” 

I have several things I want to pass on today on your 17th birthday.

  1. Something you’ve heard me say that is worth repeating is to always be kind to yourself.  Andrew Peterson writes a poignant song called “Be Kind to Yourself” and I’ll share the lyrics below if you have forgotten it: 

You’ve got all that emotion that’s heaving like an ocean
And you’re drowning in a deep, dark well
I can hear it in your voice that if you only had a choice
You would rather be anyone else

I love you just the way that you are
I love the way He made your precious heart

Be kind to yourself
Be kind to yourself

I know it’s hard to hear it when that anger in your spirit
Is pointed like an arrow at your chest
When the voices in your mind are anything but kind
And you can’t believe your Father knows best

I love you just the way that you are
I love the way He’s shaping your heart

Be kind to yourself
Be kind to yourself

How does it end when the war that you’re in
Is just you against you against you
Gotta learn to love, learn to love
Learn to love your enemies too

You can’t expect to be perfect
It’s a fight you’ve gotta forfeit
You belong to me whatever you do
So lay down your weapon, darling
Take a deep breath and believe that I love you

Be kind to yourself
Be kind to yourself
Be kind to yourself

Gotta learn to love, learn to love
Learn to love your enemies
Gotta learn to love, learn to love
Learn to love your enemies too

2. You’ve heard me say this a thousand times, but I’ll say it again. This quote comes from J.M. Barrie and was brought to our attention when we read the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio: “Always try to be a little kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”  As you continue to navigate this last stretch of high school and as you look ahead to meeting so many new people in college, remember that everyone has a story and remember to choose kindness.  Don’t forget that powerful talk you first heard in 6th grade that we’ve talked about many times called “The Danger of a Single Story.The author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. But, “when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.”  With this in mind, you will be kinder and more compassionate to the people and places knit into the story of your life.  

I will be the voice that keeps reminding you of this truth: You are beautiful, beloved and enough, just as you are. When you believe this deep in your bones, then you will be kind to yourself. And when you see that grace given to you, you can’t help but spill it out on others. You can rely on that grace to see others the way that God sees them and you will have that ability to be kind to others.  Happy World Kindness Day, beautiful girl, and Happy Birthday. 

May you sprinkle kindness around like confetti today knowing that you are deeply loved. 

Love, 

Mom 

 

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