Last week, my dad gathered my sisters and I together and suggested that we, as a family, weren’t showing each other the love God calls His believers to have for each other. It was convicting and distressing, because as my sisters listened to his words, we couldn’t deny there was some truth to them. We had become complacent in our love, lazy in showing it. In many ways, we took each other for granted, and my dad feared what sort of family we had become. Did people see our family and see eight people who loved each other above all things? Or did they see eight people who took each other for granted?
I was dumbfounded, mostly because I heard a bit of truth in my dad’s words. I looked at my sisters, my mom, and my dad, and feared they didn’t know how much I love them, adore them, admire them. I worried they thought I cared for them less than I ought. I wondered how my family had come to this point – where my dad questioned our commitment to each other.
It broke my heart.
When tragedy struck Newtown, CT, last week, I read about families losing their darling babies. I read about the bravery and sacrifice of teachers, the trauma of students. I read about gun policies, our rights as Americans, our duties as Christians, and how can we put a stop to the senseless violence? Or is humanity too far gone?
But all I could think about was my baby sister Sophia, eight years old and at school. I thought about my sister Margaret, roaming the halls at the high school down the street. I thought about my sisters Allie, Rebekah, and Brittney at the mall. I sat on the couch, reading about the horrific shooting in Newtown, echoing the tragedy at Clackamas mall in Portland, and I wanted to hug them.
I don’t hug them enough.
I don’t say I love you enough.
I don’t listen to them enough.
I don’t put down my phone and enjoy time with them, talking with them like I should.
I’m the oldest, and I’ve done a poor job of loving my sisters – the people I love most in the world – the people who know me best.
So this is for my sisters, my love letter to them. My apology. My hope for the future. Not in an attempt to trivialize the violent events of last week, but in an attempt to open my heart and begin again; a second chance.
To my darling sisters of varying ages, heights, and places in life-
I love you all dearly. My guyses. And I’m dreadfully sorry it takes moments like these for me to open up. I wish I was different, more open. I’m learning, for both our sakes, because I don’t wish for you to be like me. You can be so much better, so much more. In many ways, you already are.
I’m so proud of you – of your fearlessness, your faith, your ambition. You know who you are in a world that tries relentlessly to change us, and I admire you for it. Though I should be an example for you, you teach me something every day. I can’t imagine not knowing you. Your souls are beautiful, your hearts full to overflowing. I’m blessed to be your sister. You are God’s gift to me, and I’m forever thankful.
Know I am here always. I will listen to anything you find to be important. There is no matter too small. Nothing that could shock me. Nothing that would make me love you less. My ears are open and my heart as well. I will love you through anything, carry you if I have to. Because I love you and because I’m your sister. It’s what I was born for.
Brittney – We argue, more than we should. We’ve fought and competed our whole lives. But I want you to know I’ve never thought you less. I’m proud of you, of your intelligence and your convictions. You are so strong in your beliefs; I can’t fathom it. I wish I could be a bit like you in that way. Your smile is infectious, your beauty blossoming every day.
Rebekah – We’ve shared a room for years. That we haven’t murdered each other is a testament to our patience. You are lovely. You have a gorgeous heart and soul, and I am proud to be your sister. You do so much and hope for so much, and your faith in God is inspiring. You touch so many lives and I can’t help but smile when you tell me about your day.
Allie – You are an absolutely gorgeous nightmare. A whirlwind of intense passion. I can’t imagine a world without you bursting into my room unannounced, challenging my mind and making me laugh. You have a true servant’s heart, the soul of a poet, and I pray for the change you will cause in a world that needs so desperately to see God’s love.
Margaret – Your artlessness is absolutely endearing. You love life, enjoy life, and live your life in such a manner that makes me envious. You love freely and live fearlessly, and someday I hope I can a bit like you in this way. I know you’ve been hurt by people close to you, but your strength is beautiful. You are insanely adorable. I love you as you are.
Sophie – You won’t read this most likely, since you are only eight after all. But I want you to know that even though I sometimes don’t know exactly what I’m supposed to be for you, I love you. You are my baby sister, and I shall protect you always. I will never stop being your big sister, no matter where life takes me. I adore you, and you are quite brilliant. Never forget that.
You are all a piece of my heart. I’m happy to know you, better for loving and being loved by you. You are my best of friends, and I wouldn’t trade any of you for anything. I’m here for you. And I will always be your sister.
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