First of all, Tatum, welcome to the club! This is our little online community…one that you share with your cousins, Holden and Nolan, and me. Now, this is sort of a private club…just the four of us…but there are a lot of other people who get to look in on us. I’ve already written a bunch of stuff to your cousins over the past few years. Someday, maybe your mom and dad will read all of it to you.
From now on, though, I’m going to write to all three of you. Here’s why:
When I was a little boy your ages, my daddy…your great-grandfather…took great care of me. He loved me and provided for me and made sure I was always safe and healthy. He taught me many things and helped me grow up to be a good man, just like him. I’m really grateful for him.
But as he and I both grew older, I began to sense something was missing between us. My dad wasn’t much of a talker. And because he didn’t talk much, there are a lot of things I never got to know about him. His actions always “spoke” very loud, but his silence kept me from understanding the deeper things about him.
By the time I became a young man, there were things I really, really wanted to know. I wanted to know “why” he did the things he did. I wanted to know what was deep in his heart. I wanted to know what he believed and what he felt. I wanted to know his doubts and fears. I wanted to know how he became the man he was.
But we never did talk about those things before it was too late, and I’ve always felt like I’ve missed out on something really special.
So I made a big decision when my sons, (your daddies!!) were little like you. I wanted to make sure they knew me. Really knew me. I wanted them to know more than just the things I did. I wanted them to know why I did those things. I didn’t ever want them to feel like they were missing something. So I learned to talk to them. Talking with each other about meaningful stuff became one of the most important things we did together. It still is.
A number of years ago, I began writing to them. I want them to know things I had never told them. I want them to know the stories of my childhood. I want them to know all about how me and Mimi came to love each other and why we have spent our whole lives together. I want them to know about the good and bad things that happened to me, that shaped me and changed me. I want them to know about my faith and how I’ve come to believe the story of Jesus. I want them to know my doubts and fears and weaknesses, along with all the things my heart has come to love.
So I write.
And that’s kind of why I’ll be writing to you guys in the weeks and, hopefully, years to come. Not so much to tell you the stories of my life, but to tell you about what I believe and why I believe it. I want to tell you of the deeper things in life, the things I hold closest to my heart. The things that make me who I am.
You probably won’t understand a lot of it right now, although you guys always come up with new ways of surprising me! You’ll probably need to read it sometime later in your lives…maybe even after I’m gone. So I’m going to choose my words well, and pray they will matter to you somewhere down the road.
I love you guys. Be wise, Grasshoppers.