It's interesting how 'good thoughts' remain relevant over time. This is a letter I wrote some years back to one of my children. It doesn't matter which one; what matters is that the thoughts are still as true today as they were then. Here we go.
This evening, after speaking with you on the phone, I went out to water my new plants; made the obligatory little dams around them and wished them all the luck in the world against this horrid, roaring wind that has, seemingly, become our lot, here on the prairie.
The moon hung huge and cream-colored in the eastern sky and I discovered that gardening by moonlight is quite delightfully pleasant. These are the thoughts that came to me from the earth, the sky and the stars:
As I grow older, I see how important it is to be exceedingly generous with what we have to share. Be more generous than you are comfortable with being and do what you know to be right, even if you suffer for it in the short term; you will be blessed for it later on. Here on the farm we do not have money, or the things money can buy, to give. We have instead listening ears and caring hearts and we try to love, unconditionally, all those who come through our doors. We are not perfect people and neither are those who come to visit us. We are, every one of us, irritating to someone, even though we try not to be. The uniqueness of one grates against the uniqueness of the other, and yet we find ourselves here, in the midst of friends and strangers, trying to show them love through our lives, our words, our actions and our hospitality. We always have the choice to either be petty, intolerant, impatient, quick to judge, and short tempered or...well, the opposite of those poor devils.
I have lived long enough to be certain of some things and of this I am sure: we are not left in comfort and ease for long. We are continuously stretched in body, mind and spirit so that we continue to grow and mature, no matter our age.
That is why this situation is so awkward. We are being forced to think outside of ourselves; to leave our own wishes, comfort and desires behind and to work for the general good in the world. That sounds kind of hokey, I know; idealistic blathering.
Today's society wants us to think that genuine goodness, for it's own sake, is cheap; something to be sneered at, simplistic and backward. It is neither simple nor backward. It is the heart of love. It is basic goodness; it is integrity and honor. It stands, with the heart of God in its eyes, and speaks quietly to the center of our beings. We know what is the generous, kind and honorable thing to, do we not? Indeed we do.
You will soon be gone from this place, my dear. I hope you take these thoughts with you to your new home. I hope you make it a place filled with love, tolerance, kindness, randomly given to people who do and do not deserve it. Don't expect people to give you back the degree of kindness or understanding you give to them. Do not expect them to believe as you believe. That is not unconditional love; that is barter. Do not judge people. Do not harm people, if you can in any way keep from it.
That is what Jesus would do (to answer the popular question) if anyone wants to know, and that is what I plan to do with what is left of my life. I will fight against the bitterness that it is so easy to feel. I will stay true to friends who are not true to me. I will believe in goodness in the face of hatred and betrayal. I will stand up for those who are not able to stand up for themselves. I will fight for those who are too wounded to hold a sword. I will do this because I believe that is why we are here on this blue and white planet; to help each other stay alive, be safe, and find happiness.
You are a bright, strong and powerful spirit. God has great plans for your life. Good things will happen along the way and bad things will as well; terrible things that will break your heart. Be brave.
I love you forever: to the moon and back, and all the way 'round the world.