Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Love Letters

This is a sort of short-story I "accidentally" wrote last week. I was reading Ecclesiastes and felt compelled to write about how without God the gifts we have on earth are meaningless. Then it turned into how God pursues us, even as we do our best to ignore or shut him out. How we persevere through the race he's laid out for us, and how it tempers us to be more like Him. And that with Him, everything finally has a point. I apologize for the lack of editing, and hopefully it will be something I refine or edit better in the future.


You are going on a roadtrip from the east coast to the west. You are trying to find and see for yourself this person. He has contacted you repeatedly...he has sent many, many letters.

These letters, they'd always show up. At first you just threw them away. Then, you got annoyed enough to finally read one. The message inside..it was so tender, so romantic, so beautiful, but you were too jaded to realize that all the promises the letter contained were true.

But he kept sending them anyway. They read, with increasing urgency, to please come find him, see for yourself that the promises were true. He sounds like a conspiracy theorist, telling you of all the proof that he and his promises are real: "the roses you love? I made them, they were created especially for you," or "that Christmas bonus? Who do you think made it possible for the company to be so profitable and softened the bosses heart?"

You think he must be crazy. These things just aren't possible. And he sounds more than a little creepy. Always following you around - he seems to know exactly where you've been and exactly what you need and exactly when you fall and get into trouble. In fact, you get into big trouble. You're in a terrible place, and the situation seems beyond all hope. You're afraid, hurt, and completely alone. You're alone, except..you think just maybe, "If I call out, he'll listen. He'll help me." You think to yourself, "I know I've never wanted or needed your help before. But I do now, and if you don't show up, the situation is impossible to get out of."

And as soon as the thought crosses your mind, he has sent help your way. He made the impossible possible. You don't know what strings he pulled, can't imagine how he did it - but you now have this miraculous hope, that everything will turn out fine.

He keeps sending the letters. Only now, you're writing back.

First, you thanked him, asked him how he did it. You had more questions, would even occasionally ask for things. At first, you only asked for things for yourself, but then you found yourself compelled to ask things for others. You saw that they were in need, and you knew he was able to help them. He had taught you how to love. Finally, you were having a conversation with him, a relationship with him.

You long to actually meet him in person. This relationship has gone on years and years now. The letters always come: sometimes you're waiting by the mailbox for them anxiously awaiting a response. Other times, you fall away, you get busy and let the letters pile up, unread. But the letters always come.

Eventually, you decide to ask him, "..Can I come to see you?" He replies, "Of course, I've been waiting for you to ask!"

"But how do I get there?"

"I've been sending you directions all this time. First, you needed to want to come. As desperately as I've wanted to see you, you had to want to come to me. I'll keep sending you directions. My letters will find you wherever you go, wherever you are. Gather these letters, my words, then head west. It's not going to be an easy trip, it's hard to get here. And once you're here, you can't go back. People will call you crazy for leaving everything you know to find me, and for believing that impossible things are possible, because you know I can make them so. Please, I promise you... it will be worth it! The challenges and trials of the journey will perfectly prepare you; as you persevere, you will become more mature and complete, not lacking anything. You will learn the truth that sets you free from the chains of where you are now. Love others as I have loved you. You must do all these to make it through the arduous journey. The purpose at the end of the trip, being here, letting me finally hold you in my arms, and tangibly knowing perfect peace and love - it will all be worth it."

So you begin packing. There isn't much you need really, and he has promised to provide for you, as he always has. Your neighbors, friends, family, some do call you crazy. Some are crazy enough to want to go with you. You've shown them the letters, and they've started to write too.

You head out on this journey. Sometimes the company you're with changes, sometimes they have different directions than you do. You part ways and promise to meet again when you get there. Sometimes, the directions don't make sense at all. You're not heading straight there, as you once imagined you might. No, that would be too easy! He's leading you through the long, scenic route. Sometimes through the rough neighborhoods, sometimes in the prisons. He tells you what to do, what to say, and to not feel silly when you say, "He sent me."

The road is both hard and easy, ugly and beautiful. It's hard because it's physically, emotionally challenging - and yet easy, because all you have to do is follow his instructions. The ugly parts are heart breaking, because he's showing you the broken, sad parts of the worlds in desperate need and poverty. But it's beautiful to see the faith that blossoms and the love that comes even to these dark places as shining lights. All of these take you closer to him, so you continue to dive head-first into whatever direction he provides. You rely totally and completely on him, even and especially when it would seem uncomfortable, impossible, or suicidal to do so. So you take the easy with the hard, knowing that you must do both to get to him. The impossible tasks simply provide an opportunity to watch him work and do the impossible.

You thoroughly enjoy this roadtrip. There's much to see and do, and he's taking you everywhere. You've become very rich in unimaginable experiences that only he could have led you to and through. You realize that if you didn't know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was a purpose and end to this trip, it would have quickly become tiresome. If there was no promise of something worthwhile at the end of the road, you would have left a long time ago. It would have all been pointless as chasing after the wind, and about as successful or rewarding. BUT. You're enjoying the little things he puts into your path and sends you, because there is a point to them, to the whole trip. Without the directions he's been providing, the whole trip would have been insane and pointless. You'd be driving around in circles, and there would be no ultimate point to any of the wanderings. None of the journey by itself would bring you closer to this man who sends you love letters.

When the journey gets too hard or seems pointless, he reminds you, "Blessed is the person who doesn't fall away on account of me." He reminds you that everyone gets their own, personal directions - and that sometimes these are hard or seem unfair. He tells you not to give up hope, even when he's leading you places that are especially hard and dark. Because you are never alone, he is with you always, and he greatly longs to be you in person.

So keep on, keeping on. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, pressing on toward the ultimate goal and prize - to be safe in his embrace finally. You find strength through him, his constant letters, always finding you, still knowing exactly where you and your heart are.

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