Letter from Our Better Angels

Letter from Our Better Angels

Sean Parker Dennison

Dear One,

We have received your letter
and we hate to tell you—
not hate so much, but are a bit afraid to say—
we cannot grant your requests as stated,
but can only remind you of familiar things:

First, faith.
Faith in yourself and trust in others.
We know it can be terrifying to be
vulnerable, but only when you
share your softest side will we be able
to break through.

Next, hope.
Hope is not an empty fairy tale.
It is the true story of all the times
human beings like you have
found a way to create the future,
though you didn’t know how.

And of course, Love.
Love that demands you cherish
all people, not just your self and safety.
Love that is not satisfied until every
argument ends abruptly when one
child says, “That hurts.”

There is so much to learn and relearn.
The world teaches you to be hard,
to negotiate and defend,
to avoid giving too much and to the wrong people.
There are no wrong people.

You also are not wrong, and when you encounter
the poor, the broken, the unhoused and unwelcome,
you are looking, if you pay attention,
at us, calling to you, calling you to
answer your own prayers.

If you want to change the world,
first, be sure you are changing yourself.
Be tender. Be kind. Be at peace.
Be all the things you wish for.
Be your own better self.
It isn’t without cost
But it will be free.