On Loving Others: A Letter to My Son

Sometimes we fail to say things to our children when we are thinking of them.  Sometimes, it is because we don’t have the courage.  Other times it is because we don’t have the time or the opportunity. Or, sometimes, we don’t know how they will respond.  I thought I would occasionally post letters to my children to inspire others to share their hearts with their children, too.  This first letter is to my son who is now 21 years old and who, last night, had to make a difficult choice to sacrifice a friendship he has had since first grade in order to try to save that friend’s life.

My Dear Son,

You have grown into a young man—one any mother would be proud of.  You know the meaning of friendship—of true friendship.  The Greek call this philia –fondness, appreciation, and loyalty to those you hold in community.

Your passion for life and those you care about drive every part of you.  I admire it and at the same time I see it as a cross you bear.  Your friendships have been characterized by loyalty, availability, honesty, trust, listening, nurturing, and a sense of finding a kindred spirit.  But they also have been characterized by conflict, sacrifice, forgiveness, grief, and disappointment.

The depth of your friendships, the love you have for others in your life also means that you have had—and will continue to have—a sense of responsibility for those you care about.  I know that you have had to choose, on occasion, doing what is right over the relationship.  It has meant not just calling out your friends but also standing beside them when they desperately needed a friend they could count on.  It has meant seeking help from family and friends to save the life of a friend. It has meant agonizing over the choice and ultimately choosing love and life, knowing that someday your friend might turn back to you, and may even thank you—hoping that you will have restoration.

It has also meant grieving deeply at the loss of some of your closest friends—whether the loss was because of death, or distance, or doing what was right. I have grieved for you, as I can’t imagine at your age having endured the loss that you have already endured.  I know you have sought to understand loss and that, in many respects, it has eluded you.  But I know that you have faith that someday you will heal, even if small scars remain. That somehow loss and grief will shape you in a way that will remind you that loving others was worth the pain of loss.

So I pray that you will continue to love deeply and value friendship above other things, for it is part of the fabric of who you are. It has been imprinted on your soul as long as I can remember. And, while it has been a burden at times, it has shaped you into a man of integrity and given you great joy.  The way that you love others in community beautifully reflects Christ.

As C.S. Lewis wrote, “Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out.  It is the instrument through which God reveals to each the beauties of a thousand other men; by Friendship God opens our eyes to them.”

With love always,

Mom

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Posted on April 19, 2011, in Faith, family, Friendship, Hope, love, parenting and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Your son will treasure this letter. You have inspired me to write letters to my kids. Hopefully, it will mean something to them, but it will mean a lot to me to remind myself of what I love so much in each one of them. Thank you for this inspiration.

  2. Galen –
    You are welcome! And, you are right, the letters help us to articulate the unique ways in which we love our children. And, perhaps, our children with find the letters meaningful, too. –Godspeed, Elizabeth

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