Letter to a Friend

No, your words don't surprise me.

I knew as soon as I began reading that you were writing out your soul, that you were reflecting how you see yourself. And I was impressed, not only with the story you were weaving, but with the perception that it took to see yourself accurately enough to portray yourself as a killer, and with the honesty you showed in sharing the story.

It doesn't surprise me because I know what is in a man. I read the words and I recite them back to myself, in my living room, perched on a rock in the middle of campus, confessing that I cannot live up to God's law,
that
I have a natural tendency
to hate God and my neighbor
that the
fall has so poisoned our nature
that we are born sinners ---
corrupt from conception on.
that
we [are] so corrupt
that we are totally unable to do any good
and inclined toward all evil.
It helps to grow up catechized with those words. Then at least I couldn't say No one warned me, not the night when I heard confessions of what porn really does to you, not the night when I saw what too much alcohol really looks like, not the night I heard stories of abuse, not the night when I found that I am not strong enough to break through all the damage of trauma. Those things still come as a shock, as something horribly wrong, but at least I already knew it.

It helps that I know that I'm dark inside too.

So let's talk about these things, talk about how we don't come into the light because we're scared of being exposed and we're scared of being healed and we're scared of hurting someone else with all the pain locked inside ourselves, so instead it drips down like poison and we die.

Don't start thinking that it's fine for things to be the way they are, just because I expected it. It's not okay. Things suck sometimes.

But I want you to fight. I want you to find joy in being alive. Your words are grey with pain, saying that you're struggling just to feel alive at all. There's more out there than existentialism, and I am praying that it will take over in you and you'll be able to breathe and laugh.

I'm praying for things to surprise you. For joy to break in.

We are so beautiful when we sleep
Hearts of gold and eyes so deep, deep, deep
But love won't cure the chaos
And hope won't hide the loss
And peace is not the heroine that shouts above the cause
And love is wild for reasons
And hope though short in sight
Might be the only thing that wakes you by surprise
Surprise, surprise

Here's the best surprise: God became a man! And moved in with us. And the tomb is empty, and death is conquered.

I know that leaves a lot of mess in your life right now, and in mine too. But this is bigger. This is the beginning of the healing of all the broken.

The sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Peace comes costly, with tears and stories and hugs and anger and fighting and death and blood. But it comes. Don't give up.

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