Sometimes there is a friend, early on, say, in high school, who writes in your yearbook.
Pages and pages, continued here and then over there, with a message that defies time and space.
Dispensing with the cursory, superficial gibberish, this friend heads straight for the truth with words so profound that, at 17 years old, you actually transcribe them so you can call on them again and again. Each time you do, they speak something new.
They planted a seed in me then, and now they reverberate through the ages. It’s as if Jesus Himself spoke to me through this friend.
Today, I have a special prayer for you: I hope that you find fulfillment, and that you are at peace with yourself and God. Because that is what I think is most important, what gives meaning and direction. His love is so great, Dear One, that the very thought of someone who loves me that much, in spite of the cursory lip service and lack of time I give Him makes me cry almost in shame and in joy.
There are so many pressures. After all, you will only be happy if you get straight A’s, hit .400, play at every game, go to every party, attend every Prom, lose 10 pounds, get accepted to five colleges, win a scholarship that covers tuition, room and board, and more or less win honor and glory in every endeavor.
But you don’t have to. Even if you hit .155 or sit in McDonald’s on Homecoming night, or fail every class, God loves you and is proud of you anyway. And that alone is enough to give you courage to stay up an extra hour studying, or keep running for office, or whatever. Someone who loves you so totally deserves never to be let down.
All of my love.
Imagine. A love like this
My name is Wendy and I am not a rule-follower. I just discovered this about myself. Call it an epiphany. All these years I thought I was a person that lived according to the rules. But no.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t go around looking for rules to break and havoc to wreak. I’m not a rule-breaker, per se. Just a rule-expander. I don’t like to be hemmed in by the rules.
I should have realized this in high school, when I got busted by the shop teacher for not having a pass in the hallway. Why did I need a pass? I was a student government representative, an officer in my class and a straight-A student. How could he question by right to be in the hall without a pass? Didn’t he know that people like me don’t break the rules? We expand them.
A hall pass, that’s for the other kids. The untrustworthy kids.
Mr. shop teacher, wherever you are, I apologize. You were right. I was in the wrong. I’m sorry.
Of course, that incident didn’t change the high school me. Just made me mad. I wrote some letters. Really showed them. But today it still speaks to me. Shows me the truth about me: I have always liked to use the rules for my own ends. Show me the boundaries – fine – but wouldn’t it make more sense to modify here and here?
Face to face with Christ himself I would probably offer a bit of advice about some updates needed to the scripture text.
Go ahead. Call me out on this if you want to. But I’m pretty sure that Christ would engage this conversation. No judgment. Because He knows that negotiation is what I need to find the line between fair and foul. And His ultimate patience allows me to keep searching for it. His great love for me knows the comfort I will feel when I find it.
But step one is admitting I have a problem. I’m not a rule-follower.