About twenty years ago I wrote the following for a friend of mine on the celebration of his daughter’s first birthday. Now, every year on her birthday, they read the card together.
Welcome to a single star system on the inner rim of the Orion Arm of
the Milky Way Galaxy, and the remarkable planet within that system we
call home: Earth.
I extend these warm and joyful greetings on behalf of the seven billion
who live and work on this planet: fellow travelers who hope your
journey, be it for one month or 100 years, offers abundance in every
sense of the word.
And while it is true that the diversity and challenges we all
encounter “in process” cause some to perceive our species as enigmatic
and troubled, it is equally true that our capacities to create and
appreciate beauty, extend compassion, defy adversity and celebrate the
simple, daily miracles of life are positively breathtaking.
As you make your way, remember, too, that your love and dreams are
the only freely exchangeable currency here. Pursued with an impure
heart, wealth, fame and power are cankersores on the souls who live
on glaciers of ambition.
If you share and honor your good fortune, it will burgeon. Every
year, on the anniversary of your first birthday, send this message to
as many newborns as your heart can embrace, with the same affection
and tenderness that inspired yours.
Honor your parents and the covenant that exists between you. They
will protect and nurture you during your most vulnerable years:
reciprocate with gratitude.
And know this: your actions will sculpt the legacy of your journey,
not the words of the critic. Despite the times you fall short, again
and again, you will pick yourself up and continue to move forward, one
step at a time — perseverence will become your greatest ally, your
most precious friend.
In time, all journeys end. When the day arrives to acknowledge the
season of your transition — to honor the loving body that carried
your spirit from its first cry to the cool soil — your admirers and
critics alike will gather together as one, and all the World will
whisper, “Well Done.”