“Honor your father and your mother!" ~ Exodus 20:12
By the time she was 18, Lacey had weathered a series of crises including a cancer scare, bullying at school, and now a breakup with her longtime boyfriend. Long time for teens anyway: 31 months.
She’d shown a wide variety of powerful and destructive emotions: sadness, anger, humiliation, fear, confusion, jealousy, and regret. Lacey recalled those feelings when she’d hit bottom: "I didn’t care what happened to me and couldn't care less what happened to the people around me. I’d lost all hope!”
Eventually, about six weeks after the break-up, a feeling of relief emerged. She’d survived … with the help of her church, friends, and especially her parents. As her thoughts turned from inward out, she realized just how kind, loving, and reassuring her parents had been during that time and in fact, her entire life.
Lacey was too self-conscious to tell them how much she loved and appreciated them F2F, so one night she poured her heart into a letter and placed it where she knew they’d find it before going to bed.
“Dear Mom and Dad, these past couple of months have not been easy … for any of us! But I, for one, would never have made it out of my miserable funk without your love and support. Thank you for all the times you told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for making me laugh when I was sad. And thank you for nudging me to look forward with renewed hope. If I learned anything in this journey, it’s that you two are the most important people in my life, and I love you more than anything. When I have children, I want to be just like you. Love Lacey xxooxo”
Hours later they burst into her room, shook Lacey awake, and hugged her. Eyelids flickered to the unlit room. She didn’t know what was going on until Lacey saw the letter in her Mom’s hand.
Then perhaps more fully awake than she’d ever been, Lacey recalled seeing tears in her Dad’s eyes for the first time in her life. She didn’t speak; soaking in the pure joy in their faces. Her simple note had touched them in incomprehensible ways. It had made them happy and that was enough.
Oh the power of a single act of love. A kind word can heal a heart and change a life. The most beautiful thing in this world is to see your parents smiling, and knowing that you’re the reason.
For all that our parents do for us, there’s no way of repaying them. Though they do not expect anything but love from us, an occasional thank you or an acknowledgment to appreciate them, might just make them happy.
O God, thank you for my parents who have loved me and cared for me. Help me to show how much I appreciate them. Forgive me for the times I've made them sad. Keep them close to one another in this life and in the next. Amen