Anyway... for Kristiana
A couple of weeks ago, I drove my daughter home from church. She was crying. Upset about a choir rehearsal that hadn't gone well. Upset that she'd practiced her song over and over, but some of the other kids in the choir hadn't bothered to learn the words. Upset that some of the other kids didn't seem to care about how they sounded or looked as they prepared for an upcoming event. She said she hated being in the minority of choir members who cared and who were working hard to make their junior high choir the best it could be. Her heart was broken. Her disappointment was palpable.
I was stricken silent. I hate it when my children cry. I always wish I could take away their pain. Since I cannot do that, I sit with them in their pain. I let my own tears flow. After a few moments of absorbing her wracking sobs, I reached over, rested my hand on her leg and told her this: "Kristiana, if you are going to be someone who goes through life giving your best effort all the time, if you are going to work hard to be the best you can be, if you are going to be a woman of faith, of prayer, of strength, of convictions, you are always going to be in the minority. For the rest of your life, you will be one of the few. You will be ridiculed for standing up for your convictions even after others have been swayed and coerced to give up theirs. You will be considered stubborn and unyielding. You will be told that you think you are right all the time and perfect. Stand up anyway, girl. Be strong anyway."
And as I got to that last point, I remembered the Martina McBride song we'd heard recently on American Idol, entitled "Anyway."
You can spend your whole life building something from nothing
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway
You can chase a dream that seems so out of reach and you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway
God is great, but sometimes life ain't good
And when I pray it doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway, I do it anyway
This world's gone crazy and it's hard to believe that tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway
You can love someone with all your heart, for all the right reasons, and in a moment they can choose to walk away
Love 'em anyway
You can pour your soul out singing a song you believe in that tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway, sing it anyway
I sing, I dream, I love, anyway.
My eyes well up with tears everytime I hear this song. I think of all the dreams I've chased, the crazy hopes I have for the future, the loves I have known and still know, the songs I have sung, and the stories I have lived out in my life. Dreams no one else will ever know, hopes that may never come to pass, songs that I sing only in the car and the shower, and the adventures I have lived in my 41+ years - all of which may add up to nothing much by the standards of the world around me. I will live every one of them anyway. Fully. Joyfully. Tearfully. Wonder-fully.
I think about the time and energy I put into homeschooling, adoring, and loving these two children God has blessed me with. I know this time with them won't last forever. I will love and hug and teach them anyway.
I think about the pleas for peace, for reconciliation, for grace, and for forgiveness that I have made to family members and friends, to church members and beyond. I think about how unwilling people are to be reconciled, to live in peace, and to forgive. I plead for peace anyway.
I think about the countless telephone calls, emails, text messages sent out to friends and loved ones who only rarely acknowledge having received my missives. I send them anyway.
I think about how many songs, blogs, letters, postcards, friendships, and students I have poured my heart into. I often wonder how quickly the recipients forget what I have said and done. How much my effort matters in their lives in the long run. I pour myself out anyway.
But whenever an invitation to teach or speak comes my way, I accept anyway.
When another full moon rises overhead, I fall in love again anyway.
When I have a fabulous (or terrible) day, I write a blog anyway.
When my grammar, punctuation, spelling, and syntax are wrong,
I spill my words and emotions and dreams anyway.
I write, I dream, I laugh, I pray for the end of the war,
I read, I journal, I play games with my children,
I go to church, I go visit my mother-in-law,
I call you, I text you,
I write to you, I pray for you,
I miss you, I love you...
I tell you again, my dear daughter,
Pray hard anyway.
Sing loud anyway.
Live, laugh, and love passionately anyway.
Be strong and beautiful and courageous,
Nobody in the world loves you the way I do.
Don't you ever forget that, sweet girl.