I don’t know you, but I know something about you: I know you’re tired.
I know you live with demons, ones that are close and loud.
I know how relentless they are in their pursuit of you.
I know that you spend your days trying to silence them and your nights trying to hide from them—and the hell they put you through.
Most of all I know hard you work to hide it all; to pretend you’re fine, to paint a convincing smile upon your face, and to act as if all is well with your battered soul.
I know that all of this performing has left you exhausted; that you’ve numbed yourself and hurt yourself and starved yourself, in the hope that the voices will become silent, the pain will subside, and you can finally breathe again.
I know that right now it doesn’t seem like that moment will ever come.
I know right now you’d rather leave than live.
And even though I’m not standing in your shoes and even though I don’t know you and even though I have no right at all—I’m asking you to stick around.
I’m asking you to stay; to endure your incredibly painful, totally senseless now because I can see your glorious, blindingly beautiful then if you do.
If you stick around, you will reach a spot that the sadness won’t let you see right now—you’ll reach tomorrow. And that place is filled with possibility. It is a day you’ve never been to. It is not this terrible day. There, you will not feel exactly what you are feeling right now. You may be stronger or see things differently or find a clearing and life may look a way it hasn’t in a long time: it may look worth staying for.
Tomorrow is the place where hope lives, and I want you to give yourself a chance to share space with that hope; to dance with it, to rest in it, to dream within it—because you deserve it:
If you stick around, you will travel to amazing places that will take your breath away and see sunsets that have yet to be painted in the evening sky.
If you stick around, you’ll eat that cheeseburger; the one that will cause you to make an actual audible noise in public (and you won’t regret it).
If you stick around, you will hear that song that will change your life and you’ll dance to it like no one’s watching (and then not care that they are).
If you stick around, you’ll find yourself in the embrace of someone who waited their entire lives to embrace you; whose path you will beautifully alter with your presence.
If you stick around, you will hold babies and see movies and laugh loudly and you’ll fall in love and have your heart broken—and you’ll fall in love again.
If you stick around, you will study and learn and grow, and find your calling and find your place and you’ll lay in the grass, feeling gratitude for the sun upon your face and the breeze in your hair.
If you stick around you will outlive your demons.
And yeah, there will be other stuff too; disappointments and heartache and regrets and mistakes. And yes, there will be moments of despair and painful seasons and dark nights of the soul you will need to endure. You will screw things up and be let down, you’ll hurt, and you’ll wonder how you’ll ever make it through.
But then you’ll remember the hell you walked through to get here, and you might remember this letter—and you’ll realize you’re gonna be okay because tomorrow is still waiting for you, to dance and rest and dream within.
So I guess this is just a reminder, from someone who sees what you may not see from where you’re standing: the future, one that will be a lot better with you in it.
This is a plea and a promise, a dare and an invitation.
You are loved.
Things will get better.
Cry and get angry and ask for help and punch a wall and scream into your pillow and take a deep breath and call someone who loves you. When you let people in, the demons shrink back, so allow others to carry this sadness with you until you are stronger.
But for you, for those who will grieve you should you leave, and for the tomorrow that you deserve to see—
please, stick around.
(Note: If you’re struggling with depression, desire to self-harm, or suicidal thoughts, talk to someone.
Order John’s book, ‘A Bigger Table’ here.