A Letter to Bristol Palin

Hey Bristol,

You don’t know me, nor do I know you.  I don’t even know much about your mother or her politics, having been scarred in childhood by parents who were so politically active dinner was sometimes forgotten.  I’ve never even watched Dancing with the Stars.

All I know is that you are a woman, a daughter, a sister, and now, a mother–one without a husband, with all the stigma that brings.

It’s funny, isn’t it, how quick the world is to point fingers at public sins?  Being proud or gossipy or judgmental or mean-spirited is never really considered ‘bad,’ is it, because all these things can be hidden behind veils of smiles and excuses and civility.  But, a baby?  Who can hide that?

It can surely be no surprise or secret to you that many people are following and will follow your blog because they want to gaze upon you like a circus attendee gazes upon the fat lady or the tattooed man.  These sorts, surely, are giddy with the opportunity a blogging forum holds to communicate to you the depths of their derision for your oh-so-awful choices.

I am writing to tell you that this derision is the best gift they can possibly give you.  Because, if you can stand against it and not let it squash you, it can teach you something it takes many of us forty or fifty or sixty years to learn:  What other people think about us DOES NOT MATTER.

I write this to you having learned this lesson the very hardest of ways, having lost reputation, friends, family for poor choices I have made.  You think you’ve made mistakes?  Girl, what you’ve ‘done’ is a mere scratch compared to the gouges some of the rest of us (far older and supposedly more mature) have etched in the table of our lives.

You’re happy and thriving and moving past it all, which is exactly what you ought to be doing.  But other women in your shoes, other women, period, are flogging themselves and living in agony for poor choices…I have a friend who still grieves an abortion she had twenty years ago, one whose marriage is falling apart, one who has lost custody of a houseful of children.

To you, to them, I say, keep on.  As my well-meaning mother says, Don’t let the devil win.  No matter the past, it does not define you.  You are God’s beautiful daughter and your child is His gorgeous son.  Not-so-great choices have a way of being sticky, of pulling us down into other not-so-great choices because we have consciences and the guilt of what we’ve done sometimes convinces us we’ll never do better, be better.  But then we are playing God, not forgiving ourselves, when He has forgiven us as far as the east is from the west.  That’s a long way, sister.

So go, conquer the world with your story, beautiful girl.  Love that little guy with abandon.  Life has just begun for you, and I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

Love,

(Praying hard to be a) Whole Mama

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