I hope you don't mind the Beehive-y feel to this assignment. I hope you don't resent that everyone besides you has had the opportunity to read this long before your even existence. But if you do mind and do resent, you at least do and therefore are and so what do any of us have to complain about?
I wish for you all the best. All holiness and gratitude, all achievement and all comfort. I wish for you sensible, pleasant lives. But I'm not naive enough to believe that your lives will be all honeysuckle and backrubs (but let's have some of that in our lives, too, shalln't we?), because there never is any point to the untested life. But I can wish two things at least for you.
One is that we'll listen to one other. I hope that I can teach you something and that you'll learn the things I know from me. I don't have all the answers, but I have done a lot of stupid things and seen the results and, let me brag a little on this, have avoided doing many stupid things that have led to great heartshed in some of the less lucky around me. Let's make a pact: you come to me and I'll come to you. We'll offer up that which we have to each other and see how it fits in the holes we find in our lives, how it solutions our problems. Let's talk about it. If you can't accept a thing I say, don't find any value in it, then let you at least know where my loyalties lay, what I deemed important and why I was devoted.
Here is the other thing I can wish for you: I hope you don't doubt your incredible, ferocious abilities to do good in this world. This is a great comfort, but also a terrifying responsibility. Second-guessing your wisdom, your talents, your goodness will not do you any favors. It's not humility: it's fear of greatness. I'm not expecting all of you to become Nobel Prize winners--I'd still love you just as much--but an inch of good is far better than a mile of evil. And I am confident any of you will be doing far more than just an inch of good in this world. There is a lot of good that needs doing.
I'll try to be the sort of person I hope any of you would be. Not just for your sake, for my own of course, but if I expect something of you, it's because I expected it first of myself. I hope that when you meet old friends of mine or rifle through my journals that you find someone there you like. I hope that I am being brave enough, kind enough, hopeful enough to warrent your admiration. I'll try again when I slip up.
I'll love you more when you aren't just abstract, but I have a vague ghost of love for you already. This foreshadowing I'll seal for you in closing.
Mary Leah Hedengren