Or I should say, “star star r-o-n, Condor, Hoops, A-A-ron” and everything else you have been called or called yourself the past half century. If that sounds familiar, keep reading. I wanted to make sure that you knew what I know. From an early age, people gave you labels, names, nicknames and titles. You even made up a few yourself. Maybe you wanted to be famous. Maybe it was your desire to let people know you were different and unique. Like when you had your mom iron your name on the back of that REO Speedwagon shirt in 3rd grade, you felt like you ruled the school. I hate to disappoint you but the name on a shirt didn’t change anything. It just made you feel how you felt walking into that 3rd grade classroom. Maybe it’s always been about FEELING famous when we might never be.
The truth is you’re going to struggle a bit. Aaron, there are labels now for the things you will fight through.
There’s a lot of history Aaron. I know it doesn’t make sense now, but you’ll figure it out. I promise, you will make it through this. Actually, in High School you will be named “Most Outgoing.” I know you don’t even know what outgoing means. Trust me, your high school peers will label you well. Own it. Embrace it. You’ll find your network, your people, your village as soon as you get comfortable in being outgoing. We are introverted extroverts. What people see on the outside is not what is going on inside. I know it. You know it. Embrace it. It will take you places you can’t even begin to imagine.
Love your mom Aaron. She’s doing her best to wash away her past and be different, better and give you the map for your future family.
Love and appreciate your dad. He’s working hard. He’s your provider and protector. When he shows you how to do things around the house and cars, listen. It’ll be real important later.
Love your sister. She’s taking on more than you know. She is blazing a trail you will follow. Thank her for being the first. People will say “You are Tina’s brother.” I know it will bother you but as you get older, you will learn that is such an honor. Be proud to be “Tina’s brother.”
You lead with your heart in everything you do. It will be broken over and over again. You’ll learn that it’s because you give it away. Never, ever, stop giving your heart to that which you are passionate about. There is no other way to live. Your heart will lead you to people and places you will never believe. Take the hits. Take the hurts. Learn from them. Never stop giving your heart to your passions. Period.
It’s going to be okay. You need to know this now and every day of your life. It is going to be okay. That test, that grade, that girl, that moment, that disappointment, that job, that failure, that win, that loss, all of it…. Aaron, it’s going to be okay. You will gain so much wisdom from every single one of them. Embrace it all. It’s going to be okay.
Embrace Grace. Aaron, “church” is going to be a part of your life. There will be so many changes and definitions of what “church” is. You’ll be a part of many of them. You’ll see things. You’ll hear things. Here’s the one thing I can promise you, no matter what “church” you are a part of or witness, GRACE is what you need to embrace. The God of that bible you have is the God of your life today. The red letters of your bible are the One that intimately cares, loves and intentionally knows you. Lean into His grace. Extend it to others. Extend it to yourself.
Speaking of your heart…. Aaron, hold tight. Every time you feel like you’ve been crushed, hurt and think there is no one that will understand you….just hold tight. Remember this, your mama is praying. Every day, your mama is praying that “somewhere in the world” your future bride is waiting. When you meet her, everything in your life will change. She is the rock you will need. She is the anchor in your storms. She is one that was uniquely and wonderfully made just for you. She will be patient in your mess. She will lead and guide your children. I know there will be times when you think there won’t be a future bride. She is real Aaron and I promise you, you can’t even begin to comprehend how incredible she is. Your mama is praying and she is so worth it. So very worth it.
I know you can’t even imagine children right now but Aaron, this might be the best part. Spoiler alert, you will have a son and two daughters. Your son will be so much like you and yet so much like his mama. He will have a heart of gold. He will have the patience of wisdom of your bride. He will have the athleticism you wished you had. The rest of it will be all you. I can’t wait for you to meet him. The day he is born will change everything for you in all the best ways.
Your middle child, a daughter, will really change the score. This one will share your heart, soul, compassion and mentality. Aaron, this is the one that you can shepherd, hold, love and carry through our empath ways. While strong and stubborn, she’s gonna need you to show her that her heart is pure and cherished and true. She is an extension of you. I wish I could tell you about the day we give her away but it hasn’t happened yet. Honestly, I don’t even want to think about that moment.
Your youngest child is all the BEST parts of you. That is it. She’s creative. She loves people and life and adventure. She is the part of you that maybe you wish you really were. She lives unscripted. She dreams and creates and dances in the raindrops. You will love laughing with her, dreaming with her and watching her take life by the hand and dance. You’ll be worried about having a third child but she will be perfect. Perfect for your family. Perfect for you.
Cautions – If I can give any wisdom and advice, please avoid the addictions and traps. If there’s one thing that will wrap you in its grips, dig its claws into you, this is the one. Say no to temptations. Walk away. Be strong. Say no. Start early. Stay strong. You’re better than those things. Defeat Goliath before he even has a chance to become a giant.
The truth is I could write an entire book to you. In an effort to keep this somewhat short, I’ll close it here. Despite all I have told you, the most important thing I need you to know is that everything I told you shapes you. I can’t get this to you. You’ll never read this. Maybe it’s for me. Maybe I write this as some sort of therapy to remind myself that we went through it and it all turns out okay. The heartaches, the disappointments, the failures….Aaron, they will make you who you are today. They will teach you things you will never learn in all those books. We were never good at school anyway.
Today you will celebrate 52 years of life. Honestly, I can’t write anything here to save you, help you, warn you. You are who you are today because of all that you will walk through. Aaron, it is an incredible journey. If God gives you one more day, one more week, month or year, you have lived. I need you to know whenever that final breath comes, you did it all. You tried it all. You loved those you needed to love. You protected those you could protect. You lived all you can live. I hope we do this again in 50 more years but no matter what, know that you lived it all, loved it all and experienced it all.
For the rest of your days, live them all unscripted. Be you. Be who God made you. With all that you think you don’t have and all that others think you do……live it all.