Letter to The Young Man


Photo: Roman Drits

Photo: Roman Drits

I’m sitting in a dermatological surgeon’s office waiting room trying to think of something uplifting to write about. It’s tough. A few minutes ago, before I left my husband in the capable hands of the surgical nurse, he told me a story about a young man who graduated from high school last year.

He’s out on his own.

His dad didn’t attend his graduation ceremony and locked him out of the house the night of.

Since her split from the young man’s father, his mom has been living in a small apartment surviving at a new low in life-style levels; poverty.

He works part-time at a retail store while trying to establish a consistent routine of attending class at the local community college. Sometimes he doesn’t have enough gas money to get to work because he’s given his gas money to his mom so that she can eat. Sometimes he can’t get to class because he’s been scheduled to work and needs the money.

His girlfriend broke up with him about two weeks ago. He’s lost twelve pounds since. She’d helped him deal with the emotional trauma of his family life last year. But she got pregnant. She had an abortion. She started cheating on the young man. He is nearing a state of complete emotional devastation.

The young man has big dreams and wants to go to a top school. He doesn’t ask for help; he’s a giver.

Personally, I think all of this is just way too much for an eighteen-year-old to deal with.

I don’t know the young man personally, but I’m thinking about writing him a letter. I would tell him this:

Dear Young Man,

Keep going. You have what it takes to succeed in life. Where you’ve been and the way you’ve been treated has little to do with you, and everything to do with the wounds and pain of the people who have treated you poorly. You’re different than they are. You have something in your heart that they don’t have: hope. You need to hang onto that hope. Hope will energize you through the challenges of making a life for yourself.

Trust me, I know. When I was 18 years old, I was also where you are; alone. It took time for me to understand what a blessing it was to have been rescued from a family that was so terribly broken. But I eventually did.

You will too.

I eventually healed.

You will too.

I eventually forgave them.

You will too.

Dear Young Man, you’re going to make it.

Keep going.

With love and prayers from someone who understands where you are.

I’m rooting for you.