“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” - Marianne Williamson
He was the second one. The baby of the family. A leg-clinger if there ever was one. He was reticent to try new things. He wanted to be home schooled. To stay close. He was the one who promised me he would always stay little.
Two weeks into our journey together, we were both sick. Yucky, icky, sniffle-y and achy sick. I held him cautiously in my arms as he lay there crying, feeling helpless. We were still strangers. It had only been a handful of days. I tried the things I knew, the things that had worked for his brother. But this one was different. Unsure of what to do, I did what any mother would when faced with the same situation. I looked down at this tiny newborn, and I cried.
He grew up in the shadow of a much bigger brother. A brother who could do, in his younger brother's estimation, just about anything. It was a big shadow, a daunting shadow. A shadow that stretched from t-ball to high school, but being the guy that he was, he willingly lived there, happy to be the second guy, the backup, the guy with the baseball cap and the clipboard.
It's not easy being that guy. The guy with the clipboard. The guy riding the bench. It's not fun trying to measure up to the one who has gone before. To live in the shadow. You spend your life waiting for your chance, hoping for an opportunity to show what you can do. A chance to step on the field and be "the guy". A chance that may never come.
And yet he did it with grace, with dignity and with love. He was the first one to cheer, to offer encouragement. The first to move to the side so the light could shine on another, because that's what brothers do.
He has an enormous heart. A giant, caring, compassionate and tender heart. He is a sensitive soul who is wise beyond his years.
This year, his senior year, he led a group of students to Nicaragua to build a school. It was a lot of work; a labor of love. There was money to earn. Students to organize. Presentations to give. It forced him to stretch in ways he had never imagined. To put down the clipboard and step forward. To be "the guy". And he did it with poise and passion and conviction. He made a difference in the lives of many by doing what comes naturally. Sharing his heart.
And somewhere along the way, the shadow lifted and a light began to shine. A bright light, a powerful light. A light that had been there all along.
Just waiting to be noticed.
Today, he graduates from high school. In the fall he will begin a new journey, one that will lead him to places he has never been with people he has yet to meet. He will step forward with a full heart, forward into the light with all that he has to offer.
Congratulations Dylan. We are so very proud of you.