Dear Ezra and Lian,
You are a real man and a real woman when you are ready to be heroes. Heroes are those who sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others. The greater the sacrifice or risk, the more heroic the deed and person. It is believed by many that the Masai of Kenya use lion hunting as an initiation into manhood. When you kill a strong, dangerous lion who is a threat to your village, you have become a warrior-man.
I’m asking you to face a more dangerous threat than a lion. In our culture, the greatest threat to your healthy existence is other people. The single greatest action to prevent them from destroying you is to learn to forgive them. I’m asking you to commit an act of forgiveness so great, that it will totally change your lives. If you fail, it will haunt you for the rest of your lives.
Ezra, you are almost 12. This will be your first step towards manhood. I believe you can do it. That’s why I am giving you this quest now. When you are 13, it will be too late. There is never a good time to begin a long, painful, difficult journey, there is only a best time. The best time is usually now.
I promised you that one day I would tell you this secret. When I tell you, I want you to forgive the people involved. Most of all, selfishly, I am begging you to forgive the person who needs it the most; me.
You may be the most forgiving person I have ever known. If anyone can both do this and teach their little sister how to forgive, it is you. Remember, forgiveness is not a one time act, it is a process. It is a journey of ups and downs. Don’t grow discouraged if feelings of anger or bitterness briefly overcome you. Start the forgiveness again. In time, the pain will heal.
P.S. This secret can’t stay a secret for many more years. You will find out eventually. Too many people know the truth. It’s only a matter of time until somebody “let’s the cat out of the bag”. Keeping it a secret is not a realistic option, so I have had pick the time and place. That is here and now.