I give you permission to be both/and instead of either/or,
masculine and feminine, black and white,
rich and poor, hard and soft,
grateful and angry (so angry you want to break something).
I give you permission to burn the box
that others try to keep you in
(here, borrow my matches).
I give you permission to talk about God and faith,
and also to talk about your questions and doubts
about God and religion (my, how you are growing).
I give you permission to believe that you
already are the person you most want to be,
deep down you are (and I can see it)
and I will offer you encouragement
to let that person rule your life.
I give you permission to remember
the tragedies of your childhood—
abandonment, ridicule, loneliness, abuse—
permission to be proud and ashamed,
to tell of your successes and failures.
Tell me about your kids and what makes you cry,
how you have hurt each other,
and how deeply you love each other.
I give you permission to tell me
the secret you think only you carry
(I bet it has something to do with fear,
inadequacy, un-love, un-acceptance)
and together we will find that our secrets
are not so very different.
I give you permission to touch me,
my heart, my hand, my body, my soul,
to discover that before all the hurts began
we were siblings.
I give you permission,
and when I give this gift to you
I give it to myself as well.