Dear 10-year-old Shai,

Hi.  🙂 Wipe your tears.  It’s not your fault.  It never was.  25 years from now, you will see things much differently.  Believe it or not, mom is right about a lot of things concerning you.  I was going to write you an eloquent letter with paragraphs, but at this stage in the game, you probably need numbered points for easy reference.  I love you so much.  Please take my words to heart.

  1. God loves you more than you could ever imagine. He really, really, really does.  Get to know Him.
  2. Don’t ever second guess yourself. Stick to your guns, honey.  It is so appealing.  It will serve you well in life.
  3. You are different. You always have been.  You always will be.  And that is perfectly okay.  Embrace it. You are smart, you are friggin hilarious (or so people say), you have a lot to offer the world, and God loves you more than you could ever imagine.
  4. Grannie is on to something. Stop rejecting what she’s saying about God.  You will need this wisdom when she is gone.  She is a wealth of knowledge on things of the world and things of God.  It doesn’t make sense at 10 years old, but it will.  Trust me.
  5. Your dad is off. He loves you, just in the wrong way.  Which leads me to my next point:
  6. Never lose your voice. No one is a greater advocate for you than you.  Don’t ever let anyone belittle you, violate you, make you feel ashamed of who you are, or cause you to doubt.  If you are uncomfortable in the company of someone, leave.  Call Mom or one of your grandparents to come get you immediately.  If someone (anyone) mistreats you, report it.  Mom won’t go to prison for protecting you.  She will do what a wise, good mom is supposed to do.
  7. Not everyone is worthy to have a relationship with you. Even at 10, you are mature enough to determine who should and should not be in your circle.
  8. Don’t be afraid. You’re going to fail a lot in life.  But it’s the best way to learn.  Join the track team.  You are a runner, so run.  Cheer is fun, but not your calling.  Participate versus spectate.  You’re not any of those things that your dad says you are.  He’s sick.  You’re awesome.  Any questions?  🙂

There’s so much more I want to tell you, but it’s just too soon.  I’ll check back in with you to remind you that life is grand.  One day, you’ll be married, have a daughter, and be highly educated.  Keep journaling.  Keep reading.  Keep being a great person.

Love,

35-year-old you
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