Not A Pink Girl

Letter to my niece on her confirmation (stay with me on this) | January 3, 2014

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“When you send forth your spirit, you renew the face of the earth.” Psalm 104:30

Dear Katie,

Happy Confirmation! This will be a time you will always remember as a turning point in your life. You may not realize it now (it may take some years of life experience for it to sink in).

There are so many artificial milestones in the life of a teenager. When you turn 13, yippee! No more single digits! But really, what does that mean to your life? Basically that your parents will now be charged the adult ticket price when they take you to the movies, you can’t legally order off the kids’ menu at restaurants, & that now you’re supposed to be able to smile knowingly at all the off-color jokes in a PG-13 movie.

How about when you turn 16? You’ve probably been driving with your mom or dad in the passenger seat for about six months. You have this dreamy idea in your head that when you get your driver’s license that suddenly your life will be transformed.

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Okay, turning 18 is a bit more real. You are considered to be an adult, overnight. You can vote (hopefully you’ll be a lifelong Democrat). You graduate from high school & go to college (none of this taking a year off to Find Yourself; if you ever want to find yourself, just ask me; I’ll show you where you are). You can have a job (but if you’re like me, you would have had some moneymaking racket going on since you were in sixth grade).

But when you get confirmed, suddenly you have all the tools you need to live a good life. This doesn’t happen overnight. For months, you’ve been studying & memorizing for your confirmation day. You’d think that when the Bishop lays hands on you it would be like an exclamation point at the end of a L-O-N-G sentence.

But here’s the important part: in that moment in the church when it’s your turn to step up to the altar in front of the Bishop, the Holy Spirit enters your soul. How lucky & blessed you’ll be at that moment! That’s what’s real. That’s what matters. The gift God bestows on you at that moment can never be taken away from you.

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You’ll be able to use that gift of the Holy Spirit as a “toolbox” for how to live a good life, but more important, you’ll use the gift of the Holy Spirit to help others live a good life, which is the whole reason Jesus came to earth in the first place: to teach us, through His example, to love one another as we love ourselves, & as God loves us.

You’ll learn to recognize when someone is filled with the Holy Spirit, whether it’s a priest, a friend, or a cashier at the grocery store. You’ll also know when the Holy Spirit is actively working through you.

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With me, my guardian angel taps me on the shoulder or gives me goosebumps or tingles up & down my spine. She’s saying, “Yes! It’s true!”

Trust your feelings, Katie. If you learn to do this when you’re young, you’ll have a much longer, happier life. Don’t let anyone tell you that your feelings (dreams, hopes, fears) are not valid. If you’re feeling it, it’s real.

Don’t waste time doing things you’re not comfortable with for someone who doesn’t truly matter in your life. If you find yourself constantly struggling outside your comfort zone to impress a “friend” or to attract or keep a certain guy, then you must heed this as a signal that the person is not right for you. This will make more sense to you when it happens.

You are a beautiful, funny, caring, special girl. You need to look in the mirror every morning, Katie, & tell yourself that! You can say, “Girlfriend, you got it goin’ ON!” Because, Katie, YOU DO. Don’t ever make a project of making less of yourself for someone who just doesn’t matter.

YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN YOUR LIFE, KATIE.

I’m including the words to a song by Erykah Badu that just about says it all.

I love you! How blessed you are, Katie! Use your toolbox (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of the Lord) well & often! Most important, SHARE YOUR TOOLS!

Love, Aunt Kathie

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Appletree

Written by Erykah Badu

from her first album,

Baduizm

“See, I pick my friends the way I pick my fruit

My auntie taught me that when I was only a youth

I don’t walk around trying to be what I’m not

I don’t waste my time trying to get what you got

I work at pleasing me because I can’t please you

And that’s why I do what I do

My soul flies free like a willow tree…

And if you don’t want to be down with me

Then you don’t want to be from my apple tree

I have a hoe, and I take it everywhere I go

‘Cause I’m planting seeds so I reap what I sow

I can’t control the soul flowing in me.”

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