I counted the days and it’s kind of surprising how we only have 36 days left for this year. I shouldn’t be surprised because I can feel the way the year sheds it days as keenly as how I change clothes everyday, as real as how day breaks and night falls every day without fail. I feel it, and yet I still can’t believe it because I look back and I am amazed at how far we have gone.
I can already imagine you at the end of the year, what you will do and what you will probably say. The people you will send greetings to, the prayers you will probably utter, and maybe even the tears you decide to shed. I can tell and I know what I think is pretty accurate, too, because I got to know you so well this year. I laughed with you in the fun moments, and stayed up with you on nights that you need to finish things to make sure things go well. I saw you with your friends, and I saw how you cared for them and defended them (sometimes almost to a fault). I saw you work hard, and try so hard, and still keep on trying even when things disappoint you. I watched you reach out, meet people in need and give as much as you can — your time, your resources, your prayers. I felt it when things bothered you, and how you thought about them (perhaps a little too much). I was with you when you made those big decisions that changed you and your life so much, and I could hear the drama button playing over and over in your head as you approached certain times that put you on the path you are walking through right now. I cried with you when you cried, stayed with you during those long nights where the tears seemed endless and the pain seemed so deep that it seemed like it would never ever go away again. I saw you, and celebrated with you in those times you found the pieces of yourself again, and I was so happy for you when you start feeling okay again.
Look how far we have come. Look how far we have gone.
I know 36 days may seem short, but it’s also long, depending on how you think of it. A lot can still happen in 36 days. I also know you will read this several times before the actual end of the year comes, but it’s okay because that’s my intention anyway.
So in case you are reading this at the end of 2013, and whatever the state of your heart is at the end of the year, I want you to know this: you are the bravest person I know.
It’s not easy being brave. Courage doesn’t come easily, because you have to make a conscious decision to be that every single moment of every single day. It’s doesn’t happen one time, and more often than not it requires you to let go of things, to set things free even if you don’t feel it. It requires more giving than accepting, more selflessness and openness.
I know how scared you were when you declared that this year is your year to be brave. Believe me, I know. And I know how there were so many things that scared you this year, and yet you still tried. I saw you try, I saw you pull yourself up and look at this fear in the eye, even if deep inside you are shaking. I know you tried your best not to cower, not to curl up into a ball and into yourself, even if it’s the only thing you really want to do. I know how you fought so hard to be vulnerable, how you opened your heart and welcomed people in despite not knowing what they can do inside.You were brave. You are courageous. You roared with the truth so many times to keep the darkness away, and I am so, so proud of you for that.
You are brave and beautiful and strong, and nothing can ever change that.
I know that your heart isn’t completely okay today, but that’s fine. It’s just that I know at times like this how important it is for someone to tell you that you will be okay. I know how important it is for someone to lend you a piece of hope to hold onto as you try to stay afloat in this storm. So, even if this message is essentially coming from yourself, please believe me when I say that I think you are the bravest person I know. I never expected any of the things that happened to you this year when I wrote this letter, how each of the advice I wrote for us seemed to just come true this year. I want you to know that whatever happens in the next 36 days and whatever the state of your heart is at the end of the year, that I am proud of you. I am proud of us. This is the bravest we’ve ever been, and I believe all our attempts at courage are all worth it, even if we can’t see it from where we stand right now.
Because from where I stand and look back, I am just amazed at how far we’ve gone. And I know later, when we meet at the end of this year, I know we will both look back and say the same thing.
So wherever you are when the year turns from 2013 to 2014, 36 days from now, I want you to remember this: you are brave and beautiful and strong, and it is all worth it.