Dear Hamlet*

Happy birthday.

I know I’m a few days late, but I couldn’t write to you then. I wanted this message(should you ever see it) to be constructive correction, not pain-filled ranting. I want you to know that I am pleased with where my life is going and that I wish you all the happiness with Ophelia.* I knew that it would always be her in the end, and now your family is back together. I pray for you guys whenever you cross my mind.

I should have said something the moment it came up. I’ve been kicking myself for the last 6 months for not speaking up. We both know avoiding “offensive” topics is a game you play well… but I won’t get into that.

Last winter, in your car, you said to me that you didn’t “want to get religious about it,” and that “love is just a chemical reaction.” Screw that, because I’m gonna get “religious” about it. (Side-note: Reading the bible and understanding the word is not religious. Religion is man-made doctrine, not from God. The definition of “true religion” is found in the first chapter of James.) I challenge you to read 1 Corinthians 13. The whole chapter. Once through, then a second time, slower. Learn what God says about love.

The world has such a warped view on what love looks like. They think that pain and love go together like carrots and peas. They believe that love can be explained with science or psychology. They run from those who truly love them, to people who promise love, but only bring heartache. But the world is wrong about love, and so are you, Hamlet.

Love is more than a chemical reaction. Love is something so deeply embedded into our souls, that from the moment we come into the world, we crave to be held and touched and assured that we will be alright. Love is something that changes the course of our lives before we have any understanding of what it is. Love can make us or break us. It’s that simple.

Love is something that we yearn for on a primal level, and it is our choice to walk in it. It is our choice to act on it. It is completely up to us whether we choose to give or accept love. Early on in our friendship- before we started texting- I chose to love you. I chose to love your daughter, and even Ophelia, because I know they are important to you. I chose to set aside jealousy and anger in the beginning so that no matter the outcome, I would be ok. For my benefit and yours, I chose love.

Consider your daughter for a moment. Was it a chemical reaction when you first met her? Did a mere chemical reaction cause you to want to protect her? Is it a chemical reaction that forgives her when she does something wrong? Nope. It’s love. And I know you’re a better man for loving her.

Seriously, go and read 1 Corinthians 13. Then evaluate how you show love to people. Put it into practice:”Love is not arrogant or rude…” These are things that God is still teaching me, and it is my choice to use it or lose it.

Even though you don’t want to acknowledge Him, God is working here. He’s called each and every one of us to love one another as Christ loved the church. He has called us to kindness and generosity and to spread the gospel. He loves you, Hamlet, more than you know.

I’m praying that this year is a good one for you. I’m praying that your daughter grows up to be an intelligent, independent woman. I’m praying that you and Ophelia can coexist, not just for the sake of your daughter, but because you love each other. May everything you put your hand to be fruitful, and your work bring glory to Him.

All my love, Mercedes