This summer the teens of our parish went on a mission trip as they do each summer. This year they went to Catholic Heart Work Camp to volunteer in Orlando helping the needy. As with every year we were asked to write letters to our children to encourage them during their long week of service. I wrote letters for my children to open each day. I assigned the days I wanted them to read them. It was a labor of love but I wanted them to know how proud I was of their sacrifices. They are becoming amazing teens!
We were encouraged to write to the other kids who were also on the trip. They would need words of encouragement to help get them through the long days ahead of them. The more people writing to all of the kids, the better! I prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide me while I wrote my letter to them. It would be photocopied (as were all letters from parishioners to hand out to the teens) and distributed on the day that our youth leader deemed fit. I started writing. I wanted my letter to be different than others they would receive and I hoped that it would help them not just while they were gone on the mission trip but also during their daily lives as well.
I thought I would share part of that letter here, with you, so that perhaps it may help you through the hard times that crop up in your life. I know that these particular ideals have helped me get through some of the hardest times in my life.
Words of Wisdom from Michelle
(to help you through the week and through life)
- Smile. You never know what an impact your smile might make on someone else today!
- Pray. Pray that God will work through your words and actions each and every day so that everyone who encounters you will encounter Him.
- Love. See Jesus in each person and show them the love you would show Him.
- Eat. Eat chocolate every day. Seriously. I promise it makes you feel better. Ok, maybe it just makes me feel better but chocolate is oh, so good!
- Sing. Sing in the shower, in the car, while you are working, while you are praying. Singing makes your heart smile and puts an extra spring in your step.
- Hope. There is always something to hope for. Life can seem hard but there is always something to look forward to, even if it’s just the chance for a better day tomorrow.
- Laugh. Each day find something to laugh about. When we can laugh even the hardest day doesn’t seem as hard.
- Trust. Don’t build fences around yourself and lock everyone out. Trust that God has put the right people in your path. Trust that they will help you through whatever you are going through. Trust that God loves you and wants what’s best for you.
- Play. Every day find some time to play. Don’t forget what it feels like to be a kid. Be responsible but make sure you have fun too. Playing will keep you young.
- Respect. Respect yourself and others. God is amazing and He has given you so much. Respect those people who God gives you to help you through it all… your parents, your teachers, your priests, your friends, and of course, always respect yourself as well.
- Give. Give of yourself. Give your time, your talent, your treasures, and your love. You can’t believe how much you get back in return when you give freely to others.
- Serve. We are called to be servants to each other. Serve with a happy heart. When we serve others we serve God.
- Believe. Believe in God. Believe in miracles. Believe that God made you in His perfect image. Believe that God loves you. Believe that you are important. Believe that in Him all things are possible. Believe that God can work through you. Believe that you can make a difference!
In a world where I understand so little, it’s nice to know that I can fall back on these pearls of wisdom to keep me on the right path. I hope that they will help you too. You are important. The things you do with your life are important. Smile, pray, love, eat, sing, hope, laugh, trust, play, respect, give, serve, and believe… when you do, you will find your life has so much joy in it that you can’t help but be happy.