A Letter to My Future Daughter

1.20.17 | INAUGURATION DAY.

 

baby girl,

today is a hard day for so many of us. you see, a man whose words and platform in so many ways represent a collective cultural backsliding that will be talked about for decades, dissected and criticized in history classes from the safety and inaccountabiltiy of hindsight & time passed —  this man is at the very beginning of his journey as our leader, today. 

and yet by the time you will read this my love, his journey will already be over. from where you're standing in this timeline, all his days as president are numbered and gone. whatever he will do, whatever his victories, whatever his mistakes, whatever good or evil comes from his presidential pen - it’s already been done. and Lord, do i pray all that is to be remembered and taught from his presidency is goodness.

still, as you read this, you already know the outcome because you learned in your classes about him and his inevitable impact on our country. heck, knowing me, you probably heard your momma reference these days on occasion, i hope not too often. 

but from where i am on the timeline, baby girl, you aren't even here yet. you aren't even close to here. whoever your dad is, you know his face and his loving tender touch, but today, right now, your mom has never met him. that’s how long ago i’m writing you from. isn’t time so funny like that?

and from where i am, this president’s story is only starting. a lot of us are scared. a lot of us are fooled, though we argue across the void at each other, always debating which of us are fooled and which of us are enlightened. a lot of us trust this man, and so many of us deeply, deeply at our cores do not, cannot.

for me today, it feels like darkness is settling in, the way the night swallows up the day, slowly but… completely, for a time.

i was supposed to be sleeping - believe it or not, before you guys your mom slept a lot. eight, nine hours just because. and this morning is no different, in these years of my life i am never up at 6am for anything.

but today i am, for you. 

laying in bed, i tossed and i turned and i felt restless with the weight of what this day means and i worried for all the future days of this presidency that i cannot know yet.

so i got up before the sun, and all i wanted to do was write to you. if i could i would scoop you up in my arms this morning and ask you to watch this sun rise with me - maybe, in some way, that’s exactly what i'm doing.

i just want you to know that when darkness is looming, and at times though darkness does come, it cannot remain. in the history of humanity, darkness has never come to stay. it wants us to feel that way, it wants us to be hopeless, but it’s simply not true. what’s true is this view before my eyes right now: this sunrise on this impossible day.

i want you to see that the sun always rises. that the dawn is what’s promised. 

and we cannot - we must not - sleep through the darkness any longer. if you could be here now, i would wake you to remind you: we must be people who wake up before the dawn, who sit still in the early mornings to behold the glory of promises fulfilled each and every day. we must be people willing to watch as our King lights the dark on fire with His always coming light. we must be these people, baby girl, because if not us, then who? we are the watchers. we are the ones our world needs. we are appointed to the time we’re in. we are who He has given this world. we are the helpers in the night, we are the hopeful, we are the ones who chase the dawn.

when every one else is sleeping, we cannot shut our eyes. though it may feel better to look away, we must not. we owe it to those who cannot wake just yet.

i imagine that in these next few years i will learn the lesson in these words i'm writing you more deeply than ever. i imagine i will have to wake early often and count many sunrises in this time. i hope that by the time you are reading this, across the span of decades and history, you will already recall stories from when your mom refused to close her eyes. 

i want you to know, that even now, it is all for you.

i live out loud and on fire in hope, for you. i use my voice often, even when it is constantly put in its place, for you. i go to marches and write pieces and do research and vote smart and engage in difficult dialogue with friends who cannot see, for you. i pull my tired resisting body from the warmth of my bed and wake to this sunrise on this impossible day when i would rather shut my eyes from these events, and i do it for you. 

because one day, my love, the world might try to convince you to be small. on that day, know that you stand on your mother’s shoulders. know that i woke before the sun many mornings, i pushed back the dark with a thousand prayers, i was a whisper in the shouting time and time again and never stopped even when my heart was breaking and that is the legacy you stand upon.

maybe the world looks at you and sees someone small - let them. you are more than just what they can see. you are a legacy in action. you are promises come to life. and if we pause our trajectory every time someone questions our value, our worth, our legitimacy, our voice - we would get nowhere, and we would make them right. so we bless them and we press on. we climb to the shoulders of our mothers and our fathers, and we aim higher. 

slowly, sometimes too slowly, the world changes when we refuse to be small. when we stop letting them tell us who we are, when we keep our eyes open and as each generation stands higher on the previous generation’s shoulders, taller, closer to heaven than the last - slowly the whole world wakes to the light of a new day. 

this is Kingdom come. our children are our hallelujahs. this is how the world changes, not with shouting but with legacies of love, with lifetimes of gracious & gritty hope.

so remember my love, we keep our eyes and hearts wide open, we stay watchful in the darkness and we chase the dawns, even and especially on the days that feel darkest.

we are the watchers, and for a time, you're the tallest of us all. 

love,

mom

 

Shannon SmithComment