The earliest memory I have is your promise.  Your word was the reward for enduring an uncomfortable moment.

The first memory is me being afraid of the dark. I was afraid of demons, monsters…and silence.

I endured because there was a reward for waiting it out…

Sometimes that reward was morning light and playtime in the light…

When I couldn’t run to the parental units or my sister, I sat patiently knowing that someday I’d be older, stronger and more learned.

Later the reward was promise of becoming a man that wasn’t afraid of the dark.

The next memory is me challenging who you are.  In grade school I asked, “Are you a God who creates broken families?  OR is there a piece missing in this picture?”

Violence was in school and in a family who took a few hits along their journey.

I had this expectation that you were either malevolent or you had an answer to all things…you were either not worth acknowledging or you were something to be sought after—maybe you had a cure to the messes of men.

I had a suspicion that potentially I need only inquire and pursue, and you’d produce a remedy, some form of triage on the problems of pain and defeat…and we’d see what it was to live, full alive.

You caused me to expect, even if in my naïveté, some missing piece to be revealed.

In my effort to discover why I become passionate about certain things: I looked into the military, books, history, schools and friendships. I would join clubs and avoid certain situations.  I would hold myself to a “higher” standard because I didn’t want to disqualify myself from whatever surprise destiny you had for me.  I am aware that in that season, even in my best moment, I was missing the mark, but the thought and effort was present.

You were the cause for my first big risk.  I asked you to “do your best” with someone willing to follow you.  I left the obviously beaten path and tried to become useful for your unrevealed plan.

Many answers from earlier in life remained unanswered.

This put me in some curious and peculiar positions, countries and situations.

I would get a more broad picture of your character. The God of America would slowly fade, in a way, and a God of ancient times would begin to emerge.

You became God of the nations…

After some time in wonder, my thoughts would fall back to one of those early questions:

“Why am I here?  What’s my role?”

Somewhere on that road however, insecurity clouded my posture.

I went from perhaps a blind hope and expectation…to negativity and presumption of disappointment.

I realize now, that it was in that season that I’d begun to disqualify myself.

I started giving argument as to why you wouldn’t want to use me.  Even though the only audience to my new thought patterns was my own mind.

Suddenly, bad memories and uncomfortable situations weren’t solved by running to family.

I wasn’t patient enough for you to come and rescue me…or answer my questions.

This is where I see death emerge.

Not that it wasn’t there before. But, I know at some point I became well aware of my ability to make “pain” go away…but it wasn’t like when I was younger…when I’d sit in my bed…and wait for the Old King to come into the room to tell me stories.

This was a season or epoch…of asking you with my mouth to come close, but dualistically giving my gaze to things that would make me numb.

Numb to emotion, pain, and trust.

The question of your goodness would come back.

I would begin to ask whether or not you were good.

Are you good.

Are you good?

Are you good!

Are you even real?

I was struggling to remember what it was like to feel safe…and I wasn’t quite passionate about much.

Flavors went bland.  Sunlight made me tired.

Are any of those memories and stories of your interaction with man real? Or are they just parables made up by non-stoics?

While contemplating your existence, I also considered that I wasn’t good enough for you…

…this is what caused me to risk it all…again.

Either you were a real God, and my jumping off a cliff would result in your manifestation of power in my life, or I’d find myself alone and the lie truth…

And truth is preferable to comfort in a lie.  Even if it stung.

Right?

It’s better to know you’re bleeding and embrace the pain, than to not feel anything and not be sure if you’re even awake..

You were the pivot point because all other factors weren’t influential in the big picture…

That, or they were exhausted in their ability to give me purpose.

Me being a good boyfriend.

Me being a honest leader.

Me being financially wise, stable…trustworthy.

A good brother?

I felt like I’d exhausted the purpose I could retrieve from these status’.

It was this last, remaining variable in the equation, at that point in my life, that could return a different result.

The same factors for X and Y.

X represented you being a God who rejected me. Didn’t think I was good enough to be used.  Promised me purpose and reconciliation…but left me hanging. OR you teased my family and my people with joy and freedom, perspective and understanding, but you left them alone…helpless and miserable.  Only to repeat a 105 year cycle throughout the ages with a weak song that  waxed repetition in the bloodlines for failure and addictions.  X is me knowing that I’m bound to make the same mistakes, and my inner hopes of something more wild in life was simply…child’s pipe dreams.

Y.  The alternative option in this equation.

Y is…YOU.  You are real. You are good. You are the answer to every question and the balm for every wound.  You are the voice that leads and has led me through dark passages.  You are the hope deep within my heart when all else has failed.  You are the song on the tip over every tongue before waking every morning.

You are the hope behind our eyelids as we close our eyes.

You’re the pause.

The stop.

The hick-up in our breath as we express defeat.  The idea that perhaps theres a man in the shadows, in the picture that’s going to step in and interrupt evil.  That will interrupt her story.  That will shake the consistency in brokenness.

You are the jolt, the fire, the spark in the cold and wet.  You’re the last bit of effort in the work out, the laughter after the loss.

You are the causation for my foot stepping out, when it wants to stay still.

When it wants to remain…weak, afraid and frustrated.

You cause my hand to grip, my lungs to pull air in…

You distort the image of reality.  You create a new variable in the inevitable equation.  A way where there wasn’t before.

You’re the rider in the east on the dawn of defeat…the glint of hope when we’ve decided to finally give in.

You’re our causation.

The reason we met here.  Walked there. Sang like this. Wrote like that.  Said hi. Waved bye.  Leapt jumped fell and bled.  You were always the thing pulling us forward.  You were always the dream…

We tied ourselves to the mast of the ship so that we might not give into the noises…the siren’s songs.

Sometimes I haven’t known it was you.  Sometimes I know it’s you standing in the doorway.

I know I’ve seen you in my family and friends.  I’ll see you in my wife someday.  I’ll hear you beckoning me while you’re crouched behind my daughters someday.  You’ll stare me down as I guide my sons.

You’re the causation.

You cause, caused and will be, the alternative, unforeseen, unexpected…and totally reliable surprise.

Jesus.