I know I haven’t written to you in a while, many years in fact. It’s not that I forgot about you; it’s just that I got older and maybe people stop writing letters when they get older. I wanted to let you know that just because I stopped writing, doesn’t mean I stopped believing in you. Even when people used to whisper things to me, I never stopped believing in you with a fierce devotion.
I can’t explain why it was so important for me to believe – maybe because I was holding on as tightly as I could to the fraying threads of childhood innocence. To stop believing would be to grow up. And I’ve been fighting growing up my whole life.
Maybe I’m like that in a lot of ways. I still believe in so many things. I believe in kindness, in ocean waves, and in coming home. I believe in sunsets, and holding hands, and early mornings. But the thing is, I believe in so many fewer things than I did when I was a little girl with a toothless grin, scrapped knees, and mascara-free eyelashes.
I used to believe that there really was a witch in our shed called Babayaga. That a watermelon would grow inside of me because I swallowed too many seeds. That if I stayed up all night, maybe I’d be able to see you.
I used to believe in silly things too – that saying ‘sorry’ would make everything the way it used to be, that I’d be able to collect all the shells on the beach if I picked them for long enough. I used to believe in people’s smiles and that all the troubles in the world could by kissed away by a mother’s lips. That when the sun came over the hill in the morning, all the soldiers on the battlefield would drop their weapons and stop fighting.
Maybe I stopped believing in things because I got older and wiser…or maybe I just got older. Wouldn’t that be terrible?
What if there comes a day when I don’t believe that flowers will bloom after the winter, that people who die go to Heaven, and what if I don’t believe in love, either? What if I stop believing in my dreams, what if I stop believing in myself?
It’s a terrifying thought to think there might come a day when I don’t believe in anything anymore. How grey and dull my world would be. I know that it’s impractical and dangerous to believe in absolutely everything, but my goodness those were some beautiful days when I did. I believed in everyone and everyone believed in me too.
This Christmas, I would like the gift of believing again. I want to believe that when people say ‘I miss you’ they mean it. That things really are better in the morning. That people who get married will stay in love forever. I want to believe that when people smile, it’s because they really are happy. That when people want to be your friend, it’s because they like who you are and not what you can do for them.
I want to believe not just in you, not just in myself – but in life and magic and joy. And not just at Christmas time, but all year round for the rest of my life.