Last night, the two versions of you that exist (in 2031) did something you may find unusual – we met for coffee. This is possible because of a collaboration of Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, with the aid of some crazy book Steve Jobs left in his will. You will probably be surprised to learn that most people do not have two versions of themselves – only the ones who have the most to gain or lose. Most people do very well in their mediocrity, and thus, mediocrity is their only path. However, you are a girl who has always wanted to maximize her options.
The two of us came to the conclusion that I alone should write this letter. We didn’t want to ruin that whole positive, optimistic vibe you’ve got going with Mon’s (pronounced MOAN) tale of struggle, distance, envy of others’ opportunities, and grief of all she got wrong. She got a lot wrong. This is the short list – thinking that the world’s problems were too large for her to tackle and that she wouldn’t connect with the right people at the right time to enact some profound, world-altering, life-affirming change. She stopped thinking that her words mattered, that her gifts mattered. She stopped making music. She stopped writing. Then, she just stopped having ideas. Mon’s story broke my heart because, although she looks like she lives a decent life, on the inside she is completely, utterly defeated.
So, that leaves me. And I’m having the time of my life. I’ve written books and plays, created television shows, released a few records (yeah, we went back to that) and produced movies. All focused on making the world better and being positive. I have worked extensively as a lawyer and a journalist, and as part of the Innocence Project, I have helped hundreds of wrongfully convicted men and women be vindicated and set free. Two short years ago, I spoke before Congress in a hearing that ultimately got the death penalty abolished in the United States. I’ve won lots of awards, and my work allows me to live quite comfortably, but knowing that no one else will die at the hands of a government that should protect them is my second greatest accomplishment.
My greatest accomplishment is Marshall. He is in the family business of civil rights activism. Four generations strong. As a lawyer and documentary filmmaker, he uses his compassionate heart and razor-sharp vision to make movies that make a difference. He just won an Oscar. I was there, holding his dad’s hand on my left, and his wife’s hand on my right. It was a magical night.
Lala, Mon and I know you have a lot to sort out. You have so many questions about how this all gets accomplished. We want you to remember what your mom told you about faith the size of a mustard seed. Remember that God will not let you see it if He won’t help you be it.
Here’s hoping that you decide to grow up to be me. I’m kind of awesome.