I wrote this this morning, as a letter to a friend of mine who is in prison. Today’s quote of the day overtook me somehow today and it made me think of him and I had to write him but looking back at the letter now, 12 hours later, it seems an informal but fitting expression of what the quote means to me. I will say that some of the language is very informal, although I’ve changed it so as to not be offensive. I am usually the first to say that anyone who uses some of the baser words in our vernacular simply do not have a large enough vocabulary to express themselves in a more accurate and more appropriate manner, and yet in this instance, I stand corrected, in that I feel as though the words I used fit exactly the spirit of what I was trying to say and what I was feeling at the time. The letter continues as follows……
It’s Easter Sunday. I just got home from playing piano for the 8 o’clock service at church and I’m eating and helping Felicia get the kids ready for the 10:30 service where I’ll have to play again. Denzel is now 10 days old. It’s incredible how he’s already changing, and has the face of a little boy instead of the scrunched up wrinkly face of a new born. I’m typing today because, frankly it’s faster and I can get a lot more down before my fingers cramp up, which I don’t want since I’ll have to play later today ha.
I felt compelled to write to you today because as I was driving back home, I kept singing Amazing Grace, some crazy runny gospel version I had heard as a kid. Made me think of my dad, as it usually does, but then it made me think of you, and of me. On April 26 my dad will have been dead for 9 years now. I think I’m over it but every once in a while something reminds me that I’m never quite over it, but merely distract myself with other things so I won’t have to think about it. And then I was thinking about you, and how you’re in prison and can’t be with [your wife and kids], and just how it feels like everything is just messed up. And that no matter what kind of moral code we impose on ourselves, what kind of legislation is passed, whatever, we can’t escape the fact that life is messed up, people screw up and screw us over, relationships bloom and fade, and people die and leave us. Life is screwed up.
But then today is Easter. I’ve known what Easter is about since I was a little kid and never doubted its truth. But have you ever known something was true but never felt it before? And only when you finally feel it do you know the difference. Well I sat in my truck and thought of all these things and sang to myself, and suddenly it hit me, Yes life is jacked up and there’s no way to fix it. And yes going to church and following the rules is a good thing and all that but that’s not why Jesus came to earth in the form of a man. He came to redeem us. To say yes life is jacked up, and no, no matter what you do you can’t fix it all, rules or no rules it’s not going to work. And yes there is suffering in this life, TONS of INTENSE suffering. But no our cries do not fall upon deaf ears and our cries for salvation do move God’s heart. Not salvation from some future hell-type afterlife that will engulf us in flames after the grave, although we don’t want that surely. But salvation from the crap of this life as well, freedom from those who wish to harm us and, more importantly, from the harm we cause ourselves. He says, “yes you’ve got problems, you’ve got baggage, you’ve got [crap], and it’s too heavy for you. There are days when you feel like its so heavy you’ll collapse under the weight and won’t be able to go on, and surely there will be a day when you will not be able to go on because it is so heavy.” But God says, “I’m strong enough to carry it for you, and I will carry it for you. I love you.” And then because we are so intrenched in our crap and our bondage to our own suffering, we out right killed him, for how dare he be such a tease as to bring up the serious matter of saving us from our mess, when surely nobody really can. We’ve tried it all before. So they killed him and that was that. And he was dead and the crap and the baggage and the suffering went on, business as usual. But then three days later something happened. He died, and was buried. I mean death is the biggest problem, the heaviest load of crap that we have in this life to deal with, and it’s above all things, IRREVERSIBLE. And Jesus died. And was dead. For a while. Three days is a while to be dead. But then he comes back to life. He picks up the heaviest of our baggage, the biggest load Satan and the crap of this life have to offer, and he says, “Is that all you got?” And then he says, “Come on, follow me. If I can carry this, the heaviest of loads and come back stronger than ever, how much more can I handle the baggage that you come with. I love you and it will be ok. Trust me and I will see you through. And one day I will wipe away every tear.”
All that was going on in my head. That that guy actually fricken DIED, and he actually fricken CAME BACK TO LIFE and then says that if you trust in me I will take care of you too. I just started balling in my car. I didn’t get out because I didn’t want [my son] to see me like that but idk man. Today is a good day. Yes I’m at home with my kids, and you’re in captivity, away from those you love, but for both of us, not so much because of what he did on the cross, but because of what he did after, because of this day, when he beat back all that suffering had to offer and came back for us, because of that, today is a good day for both you and me, and [your wife, and [my wife], and your dad, and mine, for [your kids and for mine], for your [brother] and for mine, and all of us.