Dear friend, dear friend?

Dear friend,

I call you friend b/c I love your heart & your generous nature, the way you cry unashamedly when you are full of joy and love, your strength of love for your family, your assurance of convictions that the church CAN be fresh, new, beautiful and creative. But I really love you for believing in, pouring into and championing a young man who means the world to me. Thank you, kind friend. I love you dearly.

Dear friend,

Many things have changed. You have chosen to follow a dream that I find inspiring. You have weathered a storm that I know has been so hard but look at what you have received on the other side!!! Freedom! Freedom from tyrannical rule and micro-managing. Freedom to create and commune with the Lord in ways some of us only dare dream of. We have had deep conversations about grace and mercy and how we both know why they are easy to give once you have understood the depths to which we have been shown these gifts.  I know there have been times of darkness. Of poor choices you didn’t know if you could recover from but again, you are on the other side now. And through this all you have learned and shared what you have learned and again you have been blessed with new friendships and opportunities b/c the Lord still has incredible plans for you. Wow. I am so excited for you.

Dear friend,

I sense a shift in you. Yes, you are still the passionate, loving person I have come to admire and cherish, but I am seeing more and more suspicion, more grasping and coveting in your shadow. Since when do you, you who love so well and so deep, hold your affections to only those who can do for you or fawn over you? You are adored by your family and your friends no matter what you can or can’t do for us. Is that not enough? I still come to your defense even when the person that is showing through online is a dim, DIM reflection of who you really are and those who have not been able to live life with you see you as arrogant and self-possessed. They only see what you put out there through your various outlets. And yes, there will ALWAYS be people who pat you on the back, who think they know you because they “follow” you online. But those people have never had the opportunity to share so much as a cup of coffee with you. They DON’T know you, they only know what you allow them to see. I am worried friend. Worried this duplicity will begin to confuse who you really are. Worried the shadow will overtake the man. We are poor and by the world’s standards unimportant but we love you. Are we going to be phased out because we can bring nothing of “value” to the relationship? I refuse to believe that! You love too well!

Dear friend?

Where are you? Where is the man who loves so fiercely that he is moved to tears at the mention of someone he loves? Who loves creating/creation more for its mere existence than for what worldly value it has? You have walked through darker times than this and come out with such amazing rewards and blessings, so why now? Why have you melded w/ the shadow? I still say the man the outside world sees is only a poor reflection of who you truly are so why are you choosing to be that reflection? When did you lose sight of all that meant the world to you? What is happening? I am so confused and sad. I know you exist. I KNOW IT! I know it with all of my being. This shadow is NOT you.

Dear what do I call you now?

I still in my heart call you friend, call you beloved. I have called you many other non-complimentary names in the last 9 months but those were said out of anger and hurt. The level of devastation you left behind when you ran left me speechless. Why did you run away? You don’t run. You fight. You stand. Or you kneel. But running away? And then when you started to kneel, when you reached out and the person who I knew and loved so well started to surface, something grabbed you and sucked you back in to the shadow. What? What could make you say all those horrible things to people who only wanted to see you healed? To people who really, truly love you? Was it because they didn’t say what you wanted to hear? People who only say what we want to hear are not really our friends. I thought you of all people understood that. And you of all people understand grace, don’t you? Grace is always given but you don’t feel the true healing effects of it unless you are sorry. Are you sorry? To the stranger watching, it does not appear so. To the people you hurt, no devastated, is does not appear so. So how will you ever really know if you have been extended grace? The shadow of pride, suspicion and self-preservation has stolen that from you. As long as you are living in it, it will not allow you to experience true grace. And just because we did not defend your actions, (who could?) or support your decisions (they are destructive and unhealthy) does not mean that we are not loving you. We are loving you, the real you, with all the love we have. Begging for the shadow to be removed and reconciliation to happen. We have ALL sinned and fallen short. That is not why we distanced ourselves. We distanced ourselves because if you are so hellbent on remaining in this shadow, what is the point? We don’t know it. We know you. I hope with all of my heart and soul we will see YOU again one day.

With love,