Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Letter

Dear Jesus-

In my nearly-completed novel, “Such Is Life”, you play a starring role. In fact, it’s safe to say that you are the main character. The other main character, Steven Todd, is the one I envy, for he has access to you in the flesh-and-blood sense.

The story is a time-trip—which is feasible since you are not bound by time—and of course it is fiction. Perhaps even more specifically and realistically it is Speculative Fiction. A preacher might even call it Science Fiction--if he wasn’t calling it blasphemy.

Lucky man Steve gets to talk to you, in person, hear your responses, your laughter, your thoughts on favorite songs (Dr. Hook and Eric Clapton). He gets to feel, physically feel your love and strength, wonder about the power contained in a single tear as it courses down your cheek—and long to reach out and touch one. He gets to unabashedly hold your hand. Oh to be Steve.

Of course in a sense I am Steve—or rather Steve is me. Steven’s past is modeled on my past. And it wasn’t pretty--for either of us. Unfortunately for both of us, most of Steven’s story is not fiction. It really happened to me.

Except the hanging out with the Son of God in a St. Louis Cardinal’s baseball cap part.

So I find myself envying a fictional character of my own invention based on me. I’m sure there’s a paradox or an enigma in there somewhere. And the truth is I have more access to you than Steve does—it’s just a different kind. It’s real-time but not flesh-and-blood. It’s heart-to-heart but not splashed across the written page in visceral detail. It’s glorious without the drama—at least on your part.

And most importantly it’s real.

In the last 24 hours I have sensed you making moves in my life. Preparing me for a change. Or changing me for a new path. I see things in a different focus - like hig-def televison. I get little thrills from the most mundane occurrences: a bird flying past a window, a precise architectural feature, a spoken word--or one on a vanity license plate--that echoes in my mind throughout the day. I anticipate a new direction and feel exhilaration at the prospect. I have no idea what it is—a new career, a new business, success with my writing, a change in living situation? Whatever it is, it is from you so I know it will be good.

And in the meantime I am trying not to get bogged down in the little details, the circumstances of my life. Rent. Gas for the truck. Tires for Minda’s car. Braces for Andrew. These are all things you take care of—have been taking care of for many years. You boggle my mind with your just-in-time provisions. You are so good to us. All I do is pray and believe, and for every obstacle and challenge, you have a bundle of provision waiting in the breakdown lane.

But I won’t pray for the rent this time. You already know. I want to pray for others’ situations: Jill’s mouth, Pria’s health, Linda’s healing, glasses for Minda, Julie’s salvation. You already know of these things. You have no need for me to pray for these either.

So tonight I will pray for my relationship with you. For growth, and trust. For knowing you, not knowledge about you. For hearing you in my heart. For feeling your presence in me, not around me.

That is something Steve—if he was flesh-and-blood—would envy me for. And I couldn’t blame him.

Because that relationship is real.

As Kathy would say, Woo-Hooo!

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