November Thank You Letter
"Although everyone goes through hard times, it is not what they go through, but how they look at it, and even more valuable how they respond to it, that determines the outcome. A situation that is stifling to one might become empowering to someone else.
For instance, Bruce Wayne, better known as Batman, was merely ten years old when both of his parents were killed in a mugging. Out of fear, he secluded himself from the outside world and only allowed Alfred, and later Robin, to truly befriend him. Bruce created a hero identity as Batman in order to keep his promise to himself and help keep evil at bay. He could be the hero, yet didn't have to be vulnerable in doing so. He had allies, not friends. Once Batman had done his good deed for the day, he returned to the Batcave and his distorted view of reality as Bruce Wayne. Losing the two most important people in his life made this view of reality legitimate. Bruce began fearing all relationships. He might lose what he loved if he allowed himself to get too close. This fear ended up handicapping him instead of being the protection he intended. Unwilling to be vulnerable, Bruce missed out on much of life and certainly missed out on love.
- Shrek had begun to not only live life, but he also chose to share himself with others.
Although these are fictional characters, I have found myself hiding in my own Batcave and not trusting the "Donkeys" in my own life. The end of Christmas break my kindergarten year, my mom, my sister, and I were in a car accident. My mom broke her neck, my sister was killed, and I cracked my skull and broke my collar bone. I lost my sister, my best friend. Instantaneously, my perfect little world fell into shambles. I was terrified. All of my security had disappeared at once. At this point I had two choices: I could live in a bubble the rest of my life, or I could allow myself to open up to people and continue to live. The thought of allowing myself to really love the people around me and be vulnerable was about the scariest thought a five-year old could have after losing their absolute favorite person. For many years I chose to live in a bubble. I kept everyone just far enough away that if something happened to them—whether it be that they moved, we just weren't friends anymore, or they died—it wouldn't hurt so badly; but close enough that I had some security. I lived like Batman for almost a decade.
The beginning of ninth grade I became extremely depressed and totally dysfunctional to the point that my parents pulled me out of school and began homeschooling me. The security and flexibility of homeschooling was a way for me to begin to emerge from my Batcave allowing the Donkeys around me to pour into my life. I needed time and space to feel. I began going to Daystar Counseling Ministries. Through many hours of questions, tears, and gentle nudges, my counselor became "Donkey." I didn't necessarily like counseling at the time; it was hard work. It was painful. Realizing that my counselor, Donkey, was going to stick with me until I took care of the past, I began tearing down the many barriers I had put up to keep people at arm's length. Even my family and friends had not been allowed to see my heart. With Donkey's help, not only has my heart emerged, but I have allowed others to be a real part of my world.
The years following, becoming increasingly involved in Daystar Ministries both in counseling for myself and helping with younger groups and summer camps, I have remained vulnerable and my healing has continued. The Daystar staff, Donkey, my peer group, and even the younger kids I mentor have been a huge blessing to me. They have all, in different ways, helped me realize who I am and who I can become. Using my own story as a spring board, I want to be able to connect with others on a deeper level. By persevering and being vulnerable with my own pain, I hope to inspire others to step out of their Batcave, realize the gifts they have, and how they can use those gifts to change not only their own life, but the lives of others around them."
These words made up an essay for a college application recently submitted by a senior at Daystar. As you can tell, she is a courageous, thoughtful, tender-hearted young woman, whom we are all very blessed to know. We are also blessed to have had her Donkey on staff with us these past years. Julia Groos Anderson and her husband, Brian, have both been a vital, compassionate, Donkey-ish force on the Daystar staff. They are moving to Texas this December and we will miss them terribly. But we are grateful for the many lives they have loved and touched, and for the way your life entertwines with those lives, as well.
Happy Thanksgiving and please know this holiday season that you are not only a blessing to us, but to many children and families at Daystar.
The Daystar Staff