Josh Irby

Live from Sarajevo

Even a Short Life can be an Extraordinary Life [Open Letter Fifth Place]

Editor’s Note: This post is written by Jevonnah Ellison, who won fifth place in the Open Letter Challenge writing contest. The following letter is a response to An Open Letter to You from the Rest of the World. You can connect with Jevonnah on twitter (@ladyjevonnah) or read the original post on her blog.

Photo Credit (Creative Commons)

Photo Credit (Creative Commons)

Dear World,

Your letter kinda took me by surprise.

At first, I thought you had the wrong address.

I just couldn’t believe someone amazing like you was asking someone like me for help.

Just being honest here. I was overwhelmed at your request for help. I mean, you’re…THE WORLD!

Sometimes I feel despair and hopelessness too. I know what it’s like to feel like you have a bleak future.

You see, a month ago, a close friend of mine was given just 6 months to live. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Leukemia. Basically that means that every part of her body is shutting down and refusing to cooperate.

She’s so small.

So frail.

But her spirit? Her spirit would put me and you both to shame.

You see, when the doctor’s told us the diagnosis, she was smiling. When I take her to chemo and radiation treatments, she’s smiling. I finally had to ask, “Why are you smiling so much?”

“You taught me to smile through my pain.”

I was blown away.


The tears wouldn’t stop. Really? She was listening when I said that? I couldn’t even take my own advice now. I didn’t want to smile. I wanted her to be healed.

“You said to try to make others happy even when I’m hurting”

Standing before me was a 9-year old little girl who somehow learned how to use her pain to make others happy. Her strength and courage in that moment is what is giving me the strength to write this letter to you now.

She would get tired and weak, but she still smiled and laughed at my stupid jokes.

She could barely move a muscle in her little body, but she still managed to give a kind word to a stranger.

She understood that her purpose in life was to help others find theirs. So she can speak to us all, right where we are, because she knew hopelessness, she knew despair. She just refused to let it get the best of her.

As I sat looking at the pink casket and my sweet angel lying there, I knew she had made a difference. Her life was anything but average, it was extraordinary.

World, we don’t know how much time we have left. I encourage you to make a difference by letting your light shine.  Just like my little friend did. That’s why we named her “Star”.

In Loving Memory of Miss Star Renee


Open Letter Cover 2

If you liked this post, then consider joining the community here at JoshIrby[dot]com. Just for joining, I will give you my recent visual manifesto, An Open Letter for You from the Rest of the World, for FREE.

Plus, you will receive regular blog updates and exclusive newsletter content.

"I love Josh's writing. Big things to come from him." —Jeff Goins

About Josh