I think if we’re honest, we all have a bit of a voyeuristic streak inside us: that, oh-I-shouldn’t-be-doing-this rush of secretly peering into someone else’s life, seeing a text message we shouldn’t see, overhearing a private conversation. There’s a thrill that comes with unauthorized access into someone’s personal life.
I mean, just look at how the world has been enraptured by this exposé interview with Oprah and Megan Markle and Prince Harry? Or, why is the FreeBritney movement so fascinating? Why are pop stars like Demi Lovato and Justin Bieber releasing documentary series about their lives on YouTube? It’s because we all like to see behind the curtain.
Which is exactly what I’ve decided to do today.
Not because I think I’m like…the next Justin Bieber or something, or that my life is in any way, shape, or form worthy of some sort of tell all…but rather, the incredibly powerful lesson this letter gave me, when I ran across it today, that I hope will resonate with you in the same way it moved with me.
My dad stumbled across a letter that I had written to him nearly a decade ago, in 2012 when I was in the midst of my life altering Ulcerative Colitis flare…the one that left me on bedrest for 11 months. This was four years after those terrible years of anorexia, and I had written him a note for Christmas.
And he saved it, and found it just today, when he was packing up some final things, as they are moving later this week. And so he took a photo of it and sent it to me, having also been moved, coming across it this afternoon.
And I after reading it, I knew I wanted to share it with you.
And since it is tiny font on an iphone photo, I’ll transcribe it here:
“There’s something that a daughter learns from her father, something that she doesn’t realize she’s learning, perhaps ever.
Things that shape them…either good or bad. Becuase honestly speaking, there are a lot of different types of dads out there. And the thing is…whether they realize it or not, dad’s are always teaching and communicating, even if they don’t realize it.
How they spend their time. How they speak to their mother. How they act when they are home. What their priorities are. What they say or don’t say to their children.
These things send a message. One that kids hear loud and clear, even though to them, it just looks like “life.”
Well dad, clearly, my life as of lately involves a lot of reflecting. And there’s one thing that I always am brought to my knees in gratitude and just, awe when I think about, and that’s you.
Everything about you can be summed up in your eyes. And this is regardless of whether you’re wearing your special eye potion. 😉
You have eyes unlike anyone I’ve ever encountered. And please hear me. I am not just saying this. This is not some cheesy cliche that I’m trying to cleverly craft into a cheeky Christmas card.
Your eyes are different. It’s how you look at people. It’s what you look for. It’s what you’re thinking about as you see people.
And I feel it when you look at me.
There is a tenderness that communicates how you see in me the good that I cannot see for myself. There is a strength that communicates how you believe in me, even if I don’t believe it myself. There is a focus that calls me to live up to my full, God-given potential, that you see in my soul. There is a gentleness that blankets me in such a rarely-experienced love, that I honestly believe is how we’ll feel when we’re standing in the presence of God, feeling His love.
There is never a judgement. Never a cold gaze.
And I hope you know how much that has shaped me and everyone who comes in contact with you.
I know I’ve mentioned recently how you were “born to lead.” How you weren’t “just” some “business man.” But that you were (and are) a leader.
And I’ve been thinking about what it is that is your “it factor” and that’s it. It’s your eyes. Becuase it’s not just me who feels incredibly loved and appreciated and empowered and safe when encountering you and those big blue peepers. It’s everyone.
Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for teaching me about what it means to love. What it means to have respect for people. What it means to live a life of generosity and success. But mostly, what it means to reflect Jesus.
Because you do.
I love you so much, dad. Merry Christmas.
This past weekend, I was interviewed on the radio show, Catholic Kaleidoscope with my dear friend, Alyssa Bormes, and naturally, in retelling my story, I had to relive those dark, dark seasons of my anorexia where I just the epitome of destructive. Lying, manipulative, hurtful, and disrespectful doesn’t even begin to cut it.
But the thing I was reminded most about, was how my dad was my biggest champion of all: believing in me, encouraging me, having me see all the best doctors in town to heal this ulcerative colitis he thought was the culprit behind the weight loss. (Which is confusing, as this note was written during my SECOND ulcerative colitis flare…
The FIRST ulcerative colitis flare happened five years prior, at the exact same time as when I developed anorexia in 2007. So they were happening simultaneously, and I had manipulated everyone into believing that the weight loss was because of the UC. Especially my dad. And he was going to the literal ends of the earth to try and help me get better. He had researched the best weight gaining drinks available, and they were only available in Scandinavia, and so he had them shipped in from overseas….and I was literally taking them, secretly dumping out the contents, and bringing back the empty bottles.
That man. That good, good man who I loved so much, I was blatantly lying to and deceiving.
With the terrible deception and rage and manipulation and just unconscionable treatment I showed him and my loved ones while I was in the throes of my anorexia, he had every right to write me off forever. Wash his hands of me. Carry a grudge. Expel me from his life for good.
But he didn’t.
Not only did he forgive me, but years later, looking back, we’ve realized that going through such a tumultuous trial like that, it actually made our love stronger, deeper, more steadfast, able to withstand anything.
And still, to this day, he is my biggest champion, supporter, encourager.
We endured a trial by fire, and came out stronger than ever before.
But I share this today to just encourage anyone who may need to hear it, that…relationships are never un-mendable. Yes, it takes humility, it takes honesty, it takes trust, it takes sacrifice and setting aside one’s pride. But at the end of the day, it’s worth it.
If there’s one thing that I thank God for every day it is the forgiveness of my loved ones, and for the second chance I have with every single one of them.
Those “eyes of love” my dad sees me with: how incredible that they have not changed or wavered, despite everything we’ve been through. And if that is the level and depth of forgiveness my earthly father is able to produce, I cannot even begin to fathom the degree to which our Heavenly Father loves and has mercy and forgiveness for us, too.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
SIGN UP BELOW FOR MY FREE NEWSLETTER!
GET MY DAILY VIDEOS, RECIPES AND POSTS DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX!
Here was yesterday’s video! https://youtu.be/8pmp4ZI968A
MAGIC TOOTHPASTE? Yes! I am in love with this superior whitening toothpaste. It keeps my smile sparkling, without sensitivity or bleach! I made a website where you can directly order this miracle product! So if you want to give it a try, you can go ahead and grab a tube for yourself. I promise, your smile will thank you!Get a tube!
Be sure to check out my affiliate, Audible. Listening to audiobooks while I cook is literally my new favorite thing. And just for you, they’re offering a Free 30-Day Trial Membership. And with this free membership, you’re going to get 2 free audiobooks! Literally. Free. It is the best deal ever. And if for some reason, you decide it’s not for you, you can cancel within those 30 days and it’s zero money out of your pocket, plus, you get to keep the 2 audiobooks. Soooo…it’s pretty much a no brainer. Plus, it’s a free and easy way to support this blog! So thank you!!
@beauty.beyond.bones – Instagram
For Podcast versions of my posts, please check out Patreon! It’s only $2 a month!! You make this blog possible 🙂
And really quickly, I’ve had several questions concerning my Amazon link (amazon.com/shop/beautybeyondbones) — You do not need to buy one of my specific highlighted products on my page, in order for it to “credit” my account. Any purchases that you search or make from anywhere on Amazon, after first visiting my Amazon page, will credit this blog and help support this blog ministry. I am truly so grateful and appreciative to those of you wanting to do so! So thank you! Again, it is an absolutely free, and easy way for you to help keep this blog going!