To Dad: [8.5.19]

Dear dad,

Lord, where am I going to go? I run to where? There is no place to run from You. I try to get away, to escape Your gaze, but it finds me still. I cry and wail as a baby thinking I’ve been abandoned. I’m in Your arms, yet I continue to sob, not believing You won’t leave me. You loosen Your embrace, I scream in panic, not trusting the legs You have created for me to walk on my own. I stand crippled in fear, perceiving that You have left me. Then, to my horror, I feel a soft nudge. My balance is lost but rather than taking a step, I fall. On the ground in anger and disbelief, I refuse to take Your hand as You extend it to help me up. I turn away but find I cannot get up on my own. Why do You extend Your hand after pushing me? You knew I was going to fall. Your hand remains outstretched in the silence. Resentfully, I grasp it. You pull me up on my feet again. As I reach out for Your embrace that I feel I am due, instead, You nudge me again. But this time I take a step. I meet Your gaze, and You whisper, “All that is Mine is yours.”

There are so many things on my mind, yet I have no desire to sort them all out. In the space of my thoughts, they float as clouds in the sky, moving whatever way the wind takes them. I feel an emptying, a “making of room.”

“He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30).

In the process of emptying is the finding out of the deep places, the cold and dark corners where “the bad things live, where the bad things fight” (Lone Survivor).

“There’s a storm inside of us, I have heard many team guys speak of this…a burning, a river, a drive and an unrelenting desire to push yourself harder and farther than anyone could think possible. Pushing ourselves into those cold, dark corners where the bad things live, where the bad things fight. We wanted that fight as the highest volume, a loud fight, the loudest, coldest, darkest, most unpleasant of the unpleasant fights” (Lone Survivor).

“Therefore, we do not lose heart. As the outer man is decaying, the inner man is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

At what volume have I had this fight? To what volume have I been willing to go to in this fight? I have shied from it. Rather than seeking out those dark corners and the unpleasant fight, I have let the bad things fester and multiply, take root and spoil the good. Thinking I could avoid it, I drown in it now. I find the fight neck deep and rising.

“We commend ourselves as servants of God in everything; in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distress, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the Word of truth, in the power of God…as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing but possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:4).

“Don’t be afraid of all that you are!” (Interior Freedom)

Dark corners and bad things included. Humility is truth.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

This is the Jesus school of love. Giving freely and receiving freely. How similar this seems to suffering. There is a correlation of experiencing the cold and dark, the most unpleasant of unpleasant fights and a heart full of genuine burning love. “If I die, make sure she knows how much I love her, and that I died with my brothers, with a full f***ing heart” (Lone Survivor). Giving your whole self, handing it all over, good and bad, sowing abundantly without expecting or desiring anything back. Indifferent love.

“You can only respond to the calls of grace when your own truth becomes clear, when you accept it humbly, and when, on that basis, you maintain a conversation with God, realizing that everything that has happened and happens to you is part of a loving and providential project of your Father God” (Interior Freedom).

Respond freely to the calls of grace, desire and earnestly seek grace above all else because you know the bad things, have been to the cold and dark corners and have fought and still fight the unpleasant fight because its you. The most unpleasant of the unpleasant is you. Accepting this is fighting at the highest volume yet knowing you cannot win, “for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful” (2 Corinthians 10:4). Humbled by failure and need, speaking to God in gratitude, knowing there is nothing you can offer yet asking for everything.

And He responds, “all that is Mine is yours” (John 17:10).

I love you dad,

Lauren

larry_saj6Author

"Surely man at his best is a mere breath." -King David I am a mere breath God has graciously gifted to be His daughter first, a daughter and sister, a friend, an athlete, a writer, a coach. I hope to be a full-time professional soccer player, write a book or two, be a lifelong learner, work for a sports and faith ministry, coach college soccer, have a family and maybe even pick up the guitar. My dad died when I was a sophomore in college. Writing became especially important to me after his death, helping me grieve and heal. I find writing letters to him has helped me process deep emotions and pain I didn't really know what to do with. My hope is the letters will share experiences that speak to and shine a light into the lives and stories of others in some way.

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