An Open Letter to My Son

I wrote this to Brandon as he was preparing to leave for college a few years ago. He is a senior this year. I had completely forgotten about it and as I was working today, I stumbled upon it. It is remarkable to me that this occurred because I had been having one of those days that we sometimes have when we are not completely centered. I offer it, as always, as a reminder for me and me alone. If you glean anything from it, I am blessed by that. Peace. -- jb

Dear Brandon,

Somewhere it is written that the father is to give some final words of advice before sending the son off to college. I originally wrote this letter to you one day last week. It just poured out onto the paper. I have since read it about 10 times and I must confess that it looks like I wrote it to myself as much as I wrote it to you.

I wish I had known when I was your age what you will read below. I did not and that is ok.
At any rate, I want you to not read this until you are in a place physically and mentally where you have time to sit and think about the words. It’s ok to put this down and read it later. If you decide to go ahead though, just know that this is from my heart... here goes.

As I have told you many times, you somehow broke out of the generational trends that have existed for as long as there have been Bakers. I know I have said this to you a lot more in recent months and that is because you have also shown signs of being farther along in a spiritual sense than I had noticed before. I’m not talking about religion or church attendance. You have started a new thing that will serve you and all mankind, and will carry our name into the future.

It is important that you recognize this.

All your life I have had the honor of watching you -- I have blessed you, prayed for you and cried for you. I have memories that hurt because for whatever reason, I was unable to protect you from something that hurt you. All the while, I was being taught the role of "father." Those old memories have begun to fade as I now have the opportunity to watch you make your newest memories. I am comforted knowing that you make good choices and I like what I see in you very much.

Brandon, you were born with a "knowing" that is very special. You have a certain wisdom that transcends you and is far above the earthly kind of wisdom. What I am talking about is much deeper than what I had come to understand wisdom to be. It seems to come from a place I am only now beginning to understand -- a place of collective knowing that has always existed through all the ages. I can’t explain it, and, yes, it is included in the "talk" I’m going to have with you very soon.

I now know that true wisdom cannot be taught like I may teach a class or something... no, it comes from experience. We all have experiences and we sometimes learn from them and sometimes we do not. I am talking about something that seems to come from deep within us – from a place that was created by God and put there for a purpose. Think about this... it is worth considering how you will use this wisdom to help mankind as you discover why you are here.

You may not yet know what your purpose is. You may be in the early stages of discovering it or you may not really care right now. Either way, I’d like to offer some insights that I have learned from my own experiences. These insights have come from painful places many times and I’d like to see you avoid such delays in finding your complete self. Reading these may help you define your purpose.

Remember that Love outshines and will outlast everything else in all of creation. Whatever you think about, ask yourself is this from Love? For you see, thought is the creation of word and deed. It preexists all action and has the power to either hurt or to heal. Think about Love... pray, shout, sing and dream about Love. It is really that important. Do this and you will see your purpose for this lifetime as clearly as you can see on a crystal-clear blue morning.

Second, listen to your heart. Trust what you hear and test it against the standards you have been taught. Don’t go with the crowd unless the crowd has convinced you that its purpose matches or enhances your own. Never, ever compromise unless in so doing, you further the cause of Love. Remember the words of Jesus -- "Love God, love your neighbor, and love yourself." Treat everyone and everything -- family, friends, strangers, animals, plants, all of creation with respect and honor. If you do this, the Universe will reward you with the abundant life that is already yours... even if you cannot yet see it.

Be slow to speak and don’t speak at all unless it lifts up the person you are talking to or about.

Listen to what people are saying. Really listen on purpose, and you will gain a better understanding of where they are coming from. Remember that everyone has experiences, and those experiences helped to shape them into the person that they are. You may not agree with them and that is ok -- just don’t judge them. Everyone is equal in God’s eyes and they should also be equal in our eyes -- no one is any better than anyone else.

Even if you are in a disagreement with someone or even if they have hurt you, put yourself in their shoes and try to forgive them. Show patience and give grace. I assure you that all of heaven will stop and take notice that you actually put Christ’s teachings into practice.

Help an old person; smile at a stranger; bless the children you meet; be vulnerable -- now I didn’t say be weak. There is a difference. If you open your heart, you may get hurt, Jesus did, but you will grow and expand in ways that will make you a better person. Be humble. Thank God always and at all times with a truly grateful heart. You have much to be thankful for.

Be yourself. Don’t be something that is false and never be arrogant or mean. You know how to treat people, so remember that as your world begins to open up before you. You are going to meet lots of different kinds of people, and although you are a natural leader, college life will present you with a new set of challenges.

Son, you are the apple of my eye and such a powerful source of joy for me that even as I fumble to write these words my heart feels like it will burst. It is not easy to express these types of feelings because they are so very real and so deep.

I have never tried to influence you to be anyone other than Brandon. I believe it is an error for a father to put such pressure on their son. What you are today is certainly the answer to millions of prayers, but I especially want you to know that you are the fulfillment of all my hopes and dreams, and I am always here for you. You will never be so far away that I would not move heaven and earth to come to your aid.

Receive, once more, the blessing of your earthly father with complete assurance that I merely reflect the love of your eternal and perfect Father. It is because he loves me so much that he has allowed me to serve you in this way at this time. I am forever grateful.

May the sun be always on your beautiful face, with the wind of Love at your back. As you follow your dreams, may the road rise up to meet you and carry you to the greatest heights of completion. You deserve nothing less.

I love you.