It’s me, the girl with the curly hair and the tortoise-shell glasses that I lost a month after meeting you. It might seem forward to some people for me to call you by your first name, but I also think that calling people by their first and last name in a letter is kind of ridiculous. Also I know you would tell me to just call you by your first name if you were here because when we met, you didn’t ask my name but you smiled really genuinely at me, which is better than a name exchange.
I was the one who made my friend go talk to you and live Instagrammed it so that all of our friends would know how amazing his night was–meeting his hero and all. I think what my friend meant to say in his letter to you was that he’s sorry he has been over-thinking all of this so much. This may seem strange, to contradict him after he’s just written you that long letter with so many impressive sounding adjectives, but I know you’d like this follow-up because of what happened when we met you. I know because I remember looking into your eyes and you winking at me. I knew you thought it was cute how awkward he was being and how uncomfortable this was for everyone. You thought it was sort of silly how we barged in, but you got it: because intermission was ending and life is short, you have to walk up to your heroes when you see them sipping champagne—if only to thank them for their work.
The other thing my friend left out in his letter to you was how he gushed for the rest of the night. He told everyone he met and could not believe it had actually happened. I made him tell his sister and his mom because I knew that they would be as happy for him as I was, even if none of us love your work as much as him. Everyone was so happy to see him so happy; that is friendship after all, loving people in spite of their uncomfortable meetings and feeling things with them.
The truth is, I would do it all over again, a hundred times over. Because I learned something important then, and in the months following. While Calvin might have made so many mistakes when he walked up to you that night, you forgave him immediately and understood his tunnel vision came from a good place. You knew that he meant well, so you forgave him, and I’m guessing so did CJG because everyone is young once and they know what it’s like to be so uncomfortable in your own skin. I’m not excusing Calvin, and I’m sure you’re not either—he was kind of being an idiot that night—but we both forgave him for that. Because that’s what you have to do for people. You forgive and then you move on, and you are glad you do—it brings you closer to God and to his people.
I have had to forgive a lot this year, and I know that while I am projecting a lot onto you in this letter, you have probably had to do a lot of forgiving in your life as well. It is certainly never easy; some people avoid it forever and drown in their own sin and the sins committed against them. But, oh, how wonderful it is to let go—to realize that you have been forgiven more deeply than you will ever understand and to let go of your offenses against others. It is like having your feet set down on the highest mountain and singing all of the best notes with your friends. Forgiving is the truest form of freedom, the place where we truly understand who we are in the Lord.
Thanks for being so patient with us that night, and in reading both of these silly letters. I’m really grateful for your life and your work. I hope we can hang out some day and maybe sing something together.
All my love,
This article is a follow-up to Calvin Cummings' previous article, entitled "An Open Apology to Sufjan Stevens," which you can read here.