Day 4: Strength in a Fortress

BECOMING begins Dear Ella,

I want you to know that I have thought about you and prayed for you in every step of this trip and your year of Becoming. Granted, our first date at the tea house missed your heart. But I needed that experience (epic failure that it was) to steer me on the right course: this year is about you. Of course, my own story is wrapped up in the telling, but you are the one it is for.

That is why we are now headed to Rumeli Hisari: a fortress worthy of your heart. Today we saw Dolmabahce Palace. Opulent is an understatement, right? The Ottoman Sultan of 1850 needed to show off to Europe and spent so much money (1.5 billion) that the Empire eventually went into bankruptcy and collapsed in 1922. Warning: Stay away from boys and men who have a need to impress. Flashy cars, all the right toys and gadgets speak to a need to cover an insecurity that you should distance yourself from. They need approval you’ll never be able to quench.

Then we saw the Ciragan Palace: the high tea room which holds so many meaningful memories for me and speaks to the times in which God saw and blessed me with friends and beauty. While I wanted to share that with you at the tea house, what I realize is that your heart finds meaning in a different kind of palace.

If Dolmabahce is the palace which led to the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Rumeli is where it began. It was built in 4 months in 1452 as a means to control the waterway as Sultan Bayezid 1 conquered Constantinople and took over the Byzantium Empire. It is a fierce and strong fortress. Its walls were used to protect as soldiers patrolled the water. Its towers were used to see long. It can be climbed and traversed today and where else to take a strong, brave, fierce climber than here?

Ella, you are this fortress. No, no, not built for destruction, but made to protect what you value with tenacity and strength. I see this in you when your pulse races at injustice, when you are passionate about peers losing themselves to what is cool, or when you refuse to give up in the game, on the track, or in the pool. Your heart is full of courage worthy of Rumeli. This is the kind of palace you were designed to embody. Shall we climb?

Love, Mom

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