“The lights go out and I can’t be saved.” -Chris Martin-
I’ve received fantastic feedback on my book; everyone that gets into it says the same thing without prompting, “I couldn’t put it down!”
For this praise, I am very thankful. Then there’s this follow-up, “It’s very redemptive, and deals with a lot of tough subject matter.”
You ain’t whistlin’ Dixie. Try writing all that down. Putting it together was an extremely difficult, very emotional process. A straight month of sleepless nights. But would I rather a really tight, fast-paced, action-packed thriller, that no one can put down, or the most boring book you ever read? I’ll take the pain if it means a great product that deals with social/class/religion, and every issue in between.
Here’s the thing: it’s part of what I see every day. Children disappearing without a trace, drug dealers, gang-bangers, detectives, racism (from every race), unparalleled class privilege, violence, murder, suicide, prostitutes, religious failure, and redemption. So instead of asking, “How could you write this?” instead ask the question, “How could anyone live through this?”
Not me, the children I’m working with.
What bothers me the most is what is happening to the girls and women. Maybe it’s because I know what happened to my wife as a little girl, maybe it’s because I have three beautiful daughters that I don’t wish any harm upon.
“I’m deep inside your children, they’ll betray you in my name.” -Zacharias Manuel de la Rocha-
Two months ago I was walking past “the Blue House.” All the staff have to walk past this house for different reasons from time to time. Now and then, when business is slow, they put the girls out front. Today was one of those days; but like I said, I have to walk past.
She sees me as I see her and she crosses her fishnet stockinged legs, staring me down, lifting her arms and adjusting her jet black hair. I haven’t looked directly at her yet but she looks very young, too young. No one should ever be in this line of work, I don’t care how old they are. Instead I focus on the pimp behind her. Out of my peripheral she steps directly in front of me as I approach and opens her stance, staring me down and pasting on a smile. I’m still watching the pimp, and as I pass her (having to step off the sidewalk to do so because she’s completely blocking the way now), he starts to move towards me while holding out a cigarette, and asking, “Do you have a light?” He realizes that I may be an undercover cop and so, “Do you have a light?” is not really a question, it’s an attempt to re-direct my attention to the poor dolled-up girl on display without really soliciting me for sex. I also feel compassion on the woman; I’m sure if she doesn’t come on to me as hard as she is, there will be consequences from her pimp.
“No I don’t, I actually work at the youth center with the little kids and am just looking for someone.”
He recoils, more so than if I had slapped him and I keep moving, praying for the poor girl in the thrall of sex and drugs.
“They say the devils water it ain’t so sweet, you don’t have to drink right now, but you can dip your feet every once in a little while.” -Brandon Flowers-
My little four-year old snuggles into my lap, puts her hands to my face, smiles and says, “I love you, Daddy.”
Tears come to my eyes because she is so sweet and precious. I never want anything to hurt her.
Maybe that’s why I don’t have any judgements on the girl by the blue house or any other woman that’s ever made a pass at me. All I see is brokenness. All I see is Rahab the Prostitute, or the Woman at the Well, or the One Caught in Adultery. Such stories of amazing redemption, and I pray for the women who in their broken marriages and painful daddy issues see me as a way out instead just another trap door.
I see my three daughters and I pray, “Dear God, these women you’ve put into my care will leave this house one day and make their own decisions. Please help them to choose Jesus instead of pain followed by pleasure in an endless vicious circle.”
All I can do is pray and love them, every second, at every opportunity.
My wife has me completely, body, mind, and soul…but only because Jesus has all those things first.
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by Me.”