It happened right there on this road, on the exact spot where the bracelet is. A young person tried to throw herself into traffic. When I pushed her back on the side of the road, I fell onto the highway. I’ll never forget how close a bright blue, Dodge Ram truck came to my head before it swerved out of the way.
I kept her away from the highway until the police arrived. In the few minutes that it took for the police to arrive, she screamed at me, over and over again, “You don‘t give a fuck about me! Why didn’t you just let me die!” The police took her to the adolescent psychiatric hospital to be evaluated and treated, not punished.
A little over a week later she was discharged out of the hospital and back to our emergency shelter. When she handed me the bracelet, she said, “Mr. Tony, I made this for you in the hospital. Thank you. I love you. I don’t remember everything from that moment on the highway, but I remember what I screamed at you. What I meant to say is that I couldn’t believe someone actually gave a fuck about me.”
I wear the bracelet quite often as a reminder that there are many hurting people in the world who think no one cares about them. My life’s calling is to prove them wrong.
Recently I’ve encountered many people who are and have been doing incredible healing work in their communities. And because of all that’s going on in the world, they’re now questioning if they’ve made or are making any positive difference at all. In my travels and conversations with family and friends, doubt and cynicism seem to be on the rise. This concerns me. God placed this letter on my heart to share love and encouragement with you.
In the past twenty-six years in my calling in youth development I have attended many funerals for young people. I have experienced many grieving parent’s tears shed upon my shoulders as they screamed in agony from losing their child. I’ve been in courtrooms many times as a young person I knew and worked with was given a life sentence. I’ve been in abandoned buildings where children have not had any solid foods for over a week. I’ve been in drug houses and assisted law enforcement in rescuing youth who were being bought and sold for sex. I could go on and on with examples about the evil that is encountered in my work, our society, and around the world, and I am sure you can too.
We can count our scars as the number of times we’ve been wounded and compare tragedies, or we can count our scars as the number of times we’ve been healed and share miracles. It’s not about what you walk into, it’s about what you walk in with. You, my dear friend, walk into the darkest moments of people’s lives delivering light. Can we change what’s already happened in our lives or the lives of others? No. Can we influence what happens next? Absolutely! And sometimes we forget that influencing what happens next is more powerful than what happened before. Inter-generational healing is more powerful than inter-generational trauma. And what an honor it is to be part of a cycle of healing. Thank you for choosing with the Creator of your understanding to be the healing force you’re created to be. I could go on and on with stories of overcoming all odds, fortitude, resilience, healing and miracles that is encountered in my work, our society, and around the world, and I am sure you can too.
A dear friend of mine, who has selflessly served his community for many decades recently described his decades of countless contributions as, “It’s like trying to punch a hole in water. It doesn’t do any good. It’s just a nice illusion.” I reminded him that feeling as if what we’re doing is not making a positive difference is the illusion, not the truth. We all feel like that from time to time, especially after experiencing tragedy. But what is it that we guide our young people to do when they’ve experienced pain, loss and tragedy? We guide them in honoring their feelings. We guide them in expressing their feelings in a manner that is not destructive. We guide them in channeling their pain, loss, and tragedy into healing medicines for themselves, their family, and our communities. We guide them in how to use every stone that life hits them with as a stepping stone to create a better path for themselves and others, instead of using those stones to build a wall around their hearts and give up. And isn’t that exactly what guided you to the path of service you’re on right now? Now isn’t the time to give up. Now is the time to remember why you started and why you’ve held on so long.
Any reason why we want to give up on our vision, mission, and purpose is also the same place where our vision, mission, and purpose can become even more clear, refueled and restored. The work you do is so important and I thank you for doing it. I honor you for doing it.
Don’t just get up, wake up to the truth that you are a sacred blessing, miracle and gift. Vision begins within. The true vision of love extends outward in healing. The distorted vision of fear projects outward in destruction.
Until someone can see you as a sacred blessing, miracle and gift, they cannot see you.
Until you can see yourself as a sacred blessing, miracle and gift, you cannot see you.
A rose never decides against itself. It allows all of its beauty to unfold, both receiving and giving all of the perfection that it is. You are a sacred blessing, miracle and gift. Any resistance to this truth is ego. The ego only wants separation. And what a separation it is to loath and condemn yourself, then project that violent separation outward to others.
Who came up with the false image of you that says you’re anything less than a sacred blessing, miracle and gift? As sure as you did not create yourself, you did not create this false image of yourself. This false image reduces the son and daughter of the Most High Creator to a guilty, condemned, disconnected, unworthy, unknown, and insignificant fragment. This false image is violence, both the cause and the symptoms. This violent fragmentation is the opposite of the whole and Holy truth that the ego does not want you to remember, because in this Holy memory the ego dissolves to the nothing it is. Do not bow to this false image of yourself anymore. No matter how temping it may be to say that this is humble, because there is nothing humble about deciding against yourself without the Creator. Humility is deciding for yourself with the Creator.
Arrogance is thinking of yourself as anything other than what you are. What you are is a sacred blessing, miracle and gift, yet even those words are mere sparks compared to the Light of Who you are from and all that is you.
Dear child of the Great One, how great is your memory that needs only one word to dissolve the thin veil you think separates you from your Maker and all of creation. In this instant you are called back to the Creator and yourself. In this instant your ancient Holy name is known again by you, calling you, speaking it clearly in your heart. In this instant you remember that it is not a journey of one thousand miles, but only one step that takes you from hell to heaven.
Lay down your mask. The masks you’ve worn are no longer necessary because you are welcome here.
Lay down your hopelessness. You are not hopeless. You are as certain as God Who created you.
Lay down your perfectionism. You are and have always been perfect.
Lay down your desire to become someone. You are already much more than some one, you are all within the One.
Lay down the desire to become something. You are already more than some thing, you are everything.
Lay down the weapons that ego has forged against you, and then projected towards others.
You are Love. Love is eternal and beyond destruction. The thin veil of false images telling you that you are anything less than a sacred blessing, miracle and gift are mere distortions of your Holy reflection. The false images of ego have painted over the mirror that obscures your Holy reflection, so when you look at the lies, you think it’s you, but it’s not. You’re beyond the lies that blur your vision. You’re beyond the past that the ego uses to justify self-imprisonment. You’re beyond the false images the ego has constructed that blur you from you, God, and all of creation. The Creator Who lovingly hung the earth on nothing manifested you from this same great love.
In this instant you remember that the slate is clear, and always has been.
In this instant you wipe the mirror clean of all the false images that cloud your true reflection.
In this instant you see your true self again and remember you are a sacred blessing, miracle and gift.
In this instant you reach out to the loving life-giving rain and sunshine that nourishes you and allows the beauty of you to unfold.
In this instant you decide for yourself with God and bloom within the sacredness you are.
In this instant you decide for yourself and allow the illusions of the ego to roll off of your flawless petals.
In this holy instant you decide for yourself, with God, and remember that you are Love.
The rose in full bloom
Nourished when open
Never deciding against itself
The rose is humble