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To all the lost ones…

Dear Lost One, It’s hard to imagine the pain, the incredible suffering, that you must have gone through: physically, emotionally, psychologically. It tears my heart out knowing that a life which was meant to be lived in such fullness has been taken. People may say that you took your own life. But I know better. I know better because I took it. Me and every other person who has picked on someone because they’re different: because they don’t look the same way, talk the same way, or believe in the same things that we do. Because they weren’t cool enough. I will never know what it feels like to see things as black and white as you do. I will never know what it’s like to see the world through eyes of someone who as Aspergers. But what your story has encouraged me to do is try. I don’t understand our obsession with grey, as if by being able to blur the middle line enough you can never see when good ends and evil begins we will benefit somehow. The reality is, one may benefit but a whole lot of people lose. For you it was the blatant disregard of what was being done to you on a daily basis: being bullied. We turned our eyes. We said things were okay. We blurred the line. Grey. Our inaction, our selfishness, cost you your life and the many lives of those before you. I am truly sorry. And although I can never tell you this face to face, you are not worthless. Your voice is not silent. Your sacrifice will be remembered forever. – Dave Today’s letter goes out to all those who kids who have lost their life because they were being bullied, and especially to those who are being bullied today. There is no grey: Love One Another. And please go see Bully. It’s in theaters today.
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Girl With The Eating Disorder (Contributed by Lindsay)

Today’s letter was contributed by Lindsay (@lindsholifield) Dear girl with the eating disorder,  You hide in your baggy clothes, hoping no one will see you. You lie and tell them you've already eaten. When you slip away to the restroom after meals, no one suspects a thing. But you are hurting inside. The voice in your head is relentless.  Girl who think she will never be free, I promise you there is hope. You may not believe me, but you are beautiful. You deserve so much more than hurting yourself. There is life on the other side. One day you will live that life.   You are loved more than you will ever know. Let us in, let us hold you tight and whisper grace over you. Let us walk with you towards healing. Together, we're going to make it.   Love, Lindsay
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If there was a return for our defective parts, we’d all be perfect (and lacking in character)

Dear Self-Conscious Mail Collector, Our only encounter was one that was filled with a deafening silence. As I watched you sheepishly fish your little hand around inside the mailbox which most likely contained bills and flyers I could sense that you felt a little uneasy. I stood patiently and shifted on my feet a bit so you wouldn't notice that I was actually inching further away; trying desparately to ease the awkward tension. It wasn't until you turned the lock on your mailbox door and stepped back toward that street that I noticed the source of your angst: your plastic leg brace. As I watched you involuntarily hobble down the street with your head hung low, averting any eye contact with those passing by I could tell that you wished for nothing more than to shrink into oblivion. What struck me more than your intense self-consciousness at the mere of maybe 8, was the pain that I felt knowing that it was people like me who made you feel that way. Whether it's kids at school or their parents who let their gaze linger on your encased calf longer than necessary, we are the ones who make you feel defective . . . broken. Here's a little secret: we're all defective and broken. We're just good at pretending we're not. One day your leg will heal and you will walk tall while the rest of us continue to hide the brokeness we pretend we don't have.
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A Tragic Picture of Community (When Community is Needed the Most)

Dear Persecuted, Lonely, Would-be Mother, I'm not sure if I've ever met you. If I did, I'll be honest, I'm not sure how I would react. I would hope that my reaction would be far more welcoming than a mob of protesters waving their signs in your face and screaming murderous  accusations at you as the devil himself occupies the spittle flying from their mouths. It took you weeks to muster the courage to take that long aduous walk up to the doors of the clinic. This is the hardest decision you've ever had to make in your young life; and we have made it that much more difficult, painful and shameful.  As I reflect on maybe one day having the chance to meet you, I can't help but feel a deep shame and sense of failure. I'm ashamed because of the way our society treated you. I'm ashamed because I've contributed to a selfish culture that places a higher priority on possessions and being right than it does on helping others and building community. I may not agree with your decision but I can't blame you for it. You were left with little option. You had no one to turn to for help and were faced with a society who is more content to make you feel like shit than to lift a finger and offer to help. No one should endure the immense pain and loneliness that you had to; especially when making the decision to have an abortion.                   I am so sorry
Today’s letter was inspired by the discussion following a recent post on the Freakonomics blog (@freakonomics). It was a poll about whether or not there should be a “parent licensing” process to better ensure that children are “loved” growing up. While the discussion was interesting, I couldn’t help but think of the women, more often young girls, who are faced with the decision of abortion. Today’s letter goes out to them.
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The bigger you are, the harder you fall (and that’s not such a bad thing)

Dear Weeping Giant, I have never lost a best friend so I won't pretend like I know what you've been through - what you're going through. What I can do is empathize. That is the beauty of the human soul: it's connected to those around it. I may not know you, but your soul speaks volumes of the pain you feel for losing a best friend. I can see the pain through your clenched teeth and tearful eyes. I can see regret and longing in your twisted brow. But most of all I can see the joy of personally knowing his brilliance and his heart tugging the corner of your mouth into a slight, knowing smile. That is unmistakable. In those brief moments when I saw you I knew the world had lost a good man. Your friend was not the first, nor will he be last. With every other soul that leaves us behind, we will mourn the loss but more importantly will celebrate their life: together as one connected heart.  -Dave
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“I eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast!”

Dear Cannibalistic Christian,  It's always bothered me how you treat people who are supposedly your "brothers & sisters in christ". I never understand how you can be so hurtful towards your own people. It pains me to see that. But what hurts even more is that I'm looking in the mirror.  -
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Silent Sufferer (Contributed by Brian Hawkins)

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Words of Encouragement or Fleeting Clichés

Dear Hurting Soul, I hate it that I can't fix things. I wish I could but I simply can't. The simple words of encouragement seem to belittle your situation and what you're feeling yet all that comes to mind are fleeting cliches. I aspire to the rock solid resilience, faith and poise which you demonstrate every time I see you, regardless of the immense pain you're feeling. Life may be a bitch, but know you don't walk alone.
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The Skilled Precision of a Great Leader

Dear Model Leader, You have a gift. The way in which you addressed my life with clarity and authority is unmatched by anyone I know. You cut to the core with such gentle yet steady precision it was nearly painless. If only a few more leaders in this world would function with the caring humility in which you do, we'd all be in better hands. The mirror and I thank you.