Cast the First Love

Jakarta, Indonesia + Singapore

Open the Eyes of My Heart

I’ve been asked many times, “Where do you get your thoughts? How do you see things so differently?” I was thinking about that question, in my usual place, the bathroom, I remembered an old song we used to sing in church written by Paul Baloche that went:

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You
I want to see You

To see You high and lifted up
Shinin’ in the light of Your glory
Pour out Your power and love
As we sing holy, holy, holy

I don’t know why it’s the first thing that popped into my head. I can’t remember the last time I heard that song, but it’s a good example of where my thoughts come, and where all our thoughts come from: from the abundance of our hearts. This is why daily devotions, which means to study and meditate on God’s word and to pray is critical. It opens your heart for Him to not just touch in a superficial way but to fill so that if overflows.

Are actions are all overflows of our hearts. I have a lot of terrible things in my heart that I need God to constantly overwhelm with His power and love.

Power and love. That’s a line from the song. Who knew I would meditating on the words of a song from so long ago? In fact, this song is perfect for this generation that is caught between two types of conformity: materialistic, pleasure-seeking conformity and religious, formulaic, security-seeking conformity, either way they’re both conforming to the patterns of this world instead of being transformed to know God’s will. It doesn’t ask God what the rich young ruler asked Jesus in Matthew 19, which was  “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” instead it is David’s request in Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” The rich young ruler asked, “Tell me how to achieve my agenda the right way.” The psalmist asked, “Help me fall in love with Your agenda.”

In a generation that’s so scared to be rejected, that kills itself over social status, that has an incredibly low adversity quotient, that has grown disenchanted with the formulas to success that don’t work, that is caught between conforming to things that don’t satisfy and don’t mean anything years later when they look back, I find this song to be incredibly helpful. It’s a prayer and a framework for finding God and discovering His will, which is your purpose, and it’s simply this:

Desire to seek God and constantly ask of Him.
See Him for how great He truly is through worship.
As you worship, let Him fill your heart with His power and love.

And out of that overflow, attack your day.

Don’t worry if your overflow doesn’t look too much like that of others. That could mean you’re developing your own voice. I like how Timothy Keller put it:

“When you listen and read one thinker, you become a clone… two thinkers, you become confused… ten thinkers, you’ll begin developing your own voice… two or three hundred thinkers, you become wise and develop your voice.”

More important than living off other people’s convictions is standing on your own and making sure that you stand on truth.

I need to get ready for a meeting. Will continue this later…


Ok. Back.

I was talking about overflowing. If we’re filled by God’s power and love daily, what will the overflow of our lives be? Power and love of course. As I scrutinize my life, especially my private thoughts and actions, I can clearly see, mixed-in with the overflows of good, are a lot of things that reveal a very selfish heart. As I was repenting (which is incredibly often) I remembered a piece I had been writing for a while that was inspired by an article Yasmin wrote. It’s an encouraging thought for people like me, people who have failed quite a bit, and people who continually risk failure living outside of a security bubble. Her post was on the the adulteress that Jesus saved. After reading what she wrote, I had these words in my head: Cast the First Love.

And that’s the title of what I really want to share.


Cast the First Love

“I should have listened. I should not have broken the law. What a fool I have been. Someone, anyone, please save me.” She could hear the crowd screaming at her. She could feel the rough handling. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry…” she repeated in her head, as fear and regret ravaged her soul. The intensity of the moment grew as everything started turning into a blur. She felt herself pushed to the center of a large fearsome crowd. She knew what was coming next: death by stoning. She knew the rules and had known the risks but her empty heart made her fall. She weeped before them, imagining the systematic proving of her guilt, the highlighting of her shame, and finally, the physical pain of the first blow.

But none came.

Instead, she watched as the most righteous, the most credible, the most powerful of her accusers, one by one, walking away. Until only one person was left: Jesus, still stooped down after writing on the stone floor. “What is he going to do to me?” she wondered, still afraid of the cost of her sin. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
– from John 8:1-11

This story always moves me. It moves me because I know I’m that adulterous woman. It moves me because I know that like her, Jesus does not condemn me. It moves me because I know that my purpose is to be like Jesus and to cast the first love.

Those who wanted her punished realized they actually had no real moral authority, and Jesus who had the moral authority, who could have triggered her stoning by others by claiming His right to cast the first stone, instead showed her forgiveness.

This story is incredible because Jesus, as He does over and over in the Gospels, puts the human soul above man’s traditions. Instead of responding in righteous indignation, that convenient term for justifying impatience, harshness, and even violence, He responds in divine reconciliation. Even during the time when Jesus did get angry, it wasn’t out of “righteous indignation”, it wasn’t from a standpoint of “I’m right and good and you’re wrong so you deserve this punishment”. When we take the story of the cleaning out of the temple for example, Jesus gives us His reason, He says, “the purpose of this place is for prayer, the activity of man meeting with the divine, yet you’ve gotten in the way of that.” In other words, Jesus was not righteously indignant. He was relationally indignant. He was angry not because people were making mistakes – He was a friend of sinners after all. He was angry because there were practices that were keeping people from Him. 

Even in His anger, Jesus was cleaning out the barriers that were keeping us from Him. Even in His anger He was casting the first love. 

When people tried to test Him, to get Him to break the traditions, He went along and broke them if it meant casting the first love. 

When the sinners, the poor, and the sick came to Him, He moved among them, casting the first love for those who were disqualified. 

The encouragement of this post is this:

Cast the first love. 

When you’re worried, fight your anxiety by praying for someone else. Cast the first love. 

When you’re angry, fight your bitterness by being a blessing to them. Cast the first love. 
When you’ve failed, fight your hopelessness by rejoicing in someone else’s success. Cast the first love. 

When you’re in doubt about what you believe, go pray for someone else’s dream, someone else’s hope. Go cast the first love. 

When you’re feeling lazy or complacent, go step out and help someone upgrade their skills and solve their problems. Cast the first love. 
When you’re in lack, when you have nothing, pray for the poor around you, ask them for specific things you can pray for, and pray for them. Cast the first love. 

The fishermen have nets and the fishers of men have love. We know from scripture when we cast our nets the way Jesus tells us, we end up with a haul so big we can’t contain. 

Now let’s put this article together:

1. Daily fill your life with God’s power and love until you overflow
2. With that overflow, attack life

3. A Christian attacks life by casting the first love 

Maybe we would have more impact on society if we paid less attention to conforming to worldly and religious societies and more on making sure we are overflowing and casting the first love. 

Who Told You You’re Naked?

He knew where they were. He knew where everything was at all times. He simply knew everything. Yet He asked them a question in a way His Son would later answer those who questioned Him, not to get answers He didn’t know, like I said, He knew everything, but to reveal the hearts of those He was speaking to.

So God asked a hiding Adam, “Where are you?”
The omniscient God was not asking for his location, He was asking why this man was not in His presence.

In an infinitely less significant way, it’s like when I’m on a date with Yasmin, sitting across her, but with my brain on some other concern, or my gaze fixed on my iPhone typing away. Many times, Yasmin has corrected me saying, “You’re not here again.” It’s possible to be present yet miss the presence of the one who loves you.

Adam answered, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”

What followed in the story of Adam and Eve, whether you believe it’s symbolical or literal, is a case of people passing the blame of their guilt on someone else. The man said it was the woman, the woman said it was the serpent.

“Who told you that you were naked?” was God’s reply.

Those words stuck to me. “WHO TOLD YOU…”

Another way to put the question, “Who told you?” is to ask “Who are you listening to?”

Today, there are so many messages coming at us. So many voices telling us what’s right and what’s wrong and what’s cool and what leads to success and what doesn’t, and what leads to dreams coming true, and what leads to failure. There are so so many messages. Calls, texts, emails, comments, whatsapp, Twitter, facebook, likes on Instagram, Viber, Line, podcasts, books, quotes, status message, just so many voices, and many times it’s difficult to distinguish which ones have true value. It’s hard to define what’s true.

For example, there used to be another term for the now popular “dad bod” and it’s “fat”. There used to be a term for someone who has big muscles and no brain and that’s “jock”. There used to be a term for beautiful ladies and it wasn’t “sexy” or “b#tch”, or “$lut”. It was simpler yet more encompassing it was the word “beautiful” itself. Society has a way of watering down, muddying, and then outright changing the definition of things, and in the process removing its meaning and significance. Without understanding the defined meaning of something, without appreciating its significance, we are easily swayed by society’s changing labels, raving over what color is “the new black”, what body type is better, and just going with the flow, using words we haven’t defined properly, and cheering things we don’t understand, with no mental fortitude to assess and ask “Does any of this make any sense? What is this really worth?” We don’t know how to discern value amidst the voices. When we cannot distinguish between voices, we will drown in them.

“Who are you listening to?”

“Who told you that what they’re saying is true?”

“Who told you that you’re going to be a failure?”

“Who told you that you’re poor?”

“Who told you that you’re ugly?”

“Who told you that you’re not good enough?”

“Who told you that you’re evil?”

“Who told you that you’re hopeless?”

“Who told you that the future is dark?”

“Who told you that money is the key to happiness?”

“Who told you that you need a spouse to be whole?”

“Who told you that you need to be a millionaire by 30?”

“Who told you that you’ve been disqualified?”

“Who told you it’s too late?”

“Who told you that you’re a fool?”

“Who told you that your best life involves your dream house and a healthy family, and that if you don’t have that, you’re doing something wrong?”

“Who told you that you’re the prodigal son?”

“Who told you that you’re a slut?”

“Who told you that your mistakes mean you can never be as good as the others who have made better decisions?”

“Who told you your dream is impossible?”

“Who told you to be afraid?”

“Who told you to live ashamed?”

So many messages and labels going around. So many stupid things labeled as valuable and so much unrealized beauty in people because we’ve been listening to the advice, the opinions, and the wisdom of people who are so ashamed of their own nakedness that they respond in the religious covering of themselves or in the rebellious justification of their nakedness.

People so afraid of the consequences of their own sins that they use scripture to limit others.

People so defensive about who they are that they convince themselves that they should fight the insecurity by flaunting the identities they’re are so unsure about.

Shame is the natural feeling that comes upon us when we know that we have been evaluated and have been found wanting. Shame is what makes us hide from God. Which is quite difficult, not to mention impossible, given that He is everywhere. When we are naked, exposed for all that we truly are, there will inevitably be things about us that we don’t want others to see. Which is why nakedness, maybe physical, emotional, or spiritual, is a scary thought. We may not be ashamed of everything but there is always something that causes us to be cautious.

But I really like the poetry of the Bible, God, all-knowing, asks Adam, who has actually been naked all this time because he was made naked, “Who told you that you were naked?” Why would he ask that?

Because nakedness isn’t the issue.

It’s who you’re naked with.

Nakedness between a loving husband and wife is not a reason for shame but a sign of both vulnerability and security, there’s a word for that phenomenon when both of those things happen at the same time. It’s called intimacy.

Adam and Eve were naked the whole time with God yet without shame. They did not notice their vulnerability because they were within the security of God’s perfect love. But when they disobeyed God, they broke the intimacy, and for the first time they looked at each other without the safety of God’s perfect love, and they felt shame.

Once again, nakedness wasn’t the issue. It’s who are you naked with.

Who are you intimate with? Who are you listening to? For me, I find that the voices in my head are always telling me I have to be better, I have to do better, to second guess my decisions, to be more cautious, to be afraid, to worry. This I see happens when I get so close to so many opinions and make the mistake of not focusing on the richness of simple daily devotions, that dedicated moment to listen to God.

I’ve realized that whenever I feel that I lack, whenever I feel that I need to do better, try harder, achieve more, be more of anything, I need to stop from listening to all the voices, all the calls, all the messages, all the expectations, sit down by myself, and pray, “Father, I’m going to listen to You. I hear all these things. I feel all these things. I feel insecure. I feel ashamed for the things I should have known better to do differently, for the things I failed to do, and I’m worried about the results of my life’s work. But here I am, without religious covering, without self-justification, without shame because I know Your desire for me is not a perfect David but all of David, and so here I am.”

That reminds me of a Psalm by a much greater David, the king, who wrote in Psalm 40:6-7:

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire-
But my ears you have opened-
Burt offerings and sin offerings you did not require-

Then I said, “Here I am, I have come-…”

The sacrifice was all about imputing our shame on something else so that we can be presented to God without guilt. Here was David saying, “You’re not after the sacrifices that make me blameless because you’re not after a perfect me. You’re after all of me.”

This Psalm was actually a prophecy of what Jesus would say as Hebrews 10 tells us:

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire-
But a body you have prepared for me;
With burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.

Then I said, “Here I am…”

I can’t say I understand all these verses. I’m not an expert. What I am is very curious. What I am is very hungry. (At this point, literally hungry too! Haha!) so I’m doing what I do with every thought that intrigues me, I chew on it longer, and break it down into simple ideas. What’s the simple idea for this post?

When the messages that are coming at you pull you down, when the voices in your head tell that you’re this or that, when you feel inflated with pride or deflated with shame, when you find yourself striving to cover with religion, or compensating for your flaws with manufactured glory, when the currents of life pull you one way and then another, when you don’t know what to do do, prioritize time with God and start with this prayer: Here I am, Father. Here’s all of me. Naked yet unashamed because I know that You who look at me love me most. Speak to me in Your word. You define me. I am listening to You.

“Father, I don’t like my body. Help me take care of it. Help me use it to honor You.”

“Father, I’m poor, but You said blessed are the poor in spirit. Show me how to receive Your provision.”

“Father, I’m confused. I don’t know what to do with my life. I don’t know what the future holds. But You said You would never leave me. Help me appreciate Your presence in this moment.”

“Father, I have this regret. There’s nothing I can do about it now. It’s been done. But You said that You take our sins far from us, and that You use for good what was meant for evil. Help me live in excitement of Your grace instead of guilt and condemnation.”

“Father, I can feel that our success is making me proud and too comfortable that I’m more selfish than ever. Help me go back to the simplicity of the Gospel. Let the praises of me not mislead me. I will listen to You.”

Whatever it is that’s bringing you shame, take it to God, and allow Him to challenge your rejection with the words, “Who told You I didn’t love You?”

I Found My Blue Sky – Sanctuary

Disclaimer:
For all you sensitive readers who like to jump to conclusions without context, I want to make it clear that this is all imaginary and not directly based on actual characters or events. This is a series about a boy’s journey. Just like you can’t read a chapter and say you understand the book. You can’t look at a portion of a journey and say you know what it’s about.


From my FICTIONAL series I Found My Blue Sky

I knocked on the immense doors of the grand church. The doors were probably five times my height and were wider than a crowd of men standing side by side. I could hear music and voices coming from inside the room blending beautifully in a harmonious song. I was so excited to see what was inside. After such a long journey on a long lonely road, to find so amazing an edifice, and to hear this wonderful sound, my heart beat in anticipation. Was this the place Abe was talking about? Was this the place of Who Knows Where?

I straightened my worn clothes and attempted to fix my hair. Then I knocked.

No one answered.

I knocked again. Still no one opened the doors. I could hear the music and the singing, they had moved on to a new song, yet no one answered.

I knocked again, calling out, “Hello! Anyone here?”

I don’t know how long I tried knocking and shouting, trying different ways to get in. I walked around the building trying to look for a way in, which took quite a number of minutes to do because it was so wide. I peered into the large, beautiful, stained-glass windows, which were so opaque that I could not see inside.

I walked back to the front and tried knocking again. Still no answer.


 

I don’t know how long I had been sleeping on the floor, but I was woken by the noise of a crowd shuffling past now open doors led by the most majestic looking man I had ever seen. He was different from Abe, who, despite being incredibly tall, was unassuming. This man had the energy of a magnet. There was something incredibly weird about this crowd, it’s as if there was something blocking their face. The great man having the biggest device in front of him. I was still on the floor staring at him that I  didn’t realize that he was walking right into me.

“Ow.” he said, in a respectable tone befitting his image. “What are you doing there child?” As he spoke to me the crowd following him stopped and waited behind him, looking at me.

I stood up, “I’m sorry sir. I thought you saw me. I was here earlier. I was knocking on the door but no one had opened. I must have fallen asleep.”

“No one opened?” he asked with a frown. “That is impossible. The house of God is always open. You must be mistaken.” I could hear murmurs among the crowd.

“I am not mistaken, sir. I knocked, I called, I tried looking through the windows. I could not get in.” I replied.

Still frowning, he asked, “What time did you get here?”

“I don’t remember sir, but I heard singing.” I told him.

“Ah! So you heard singing! Why didn’t you say so? Of course you would not be able to get in! You were late! Here I was wondering how our kind hearts had overlooked a child. I knew the fault could not have been with us. We are diligent with our love. My child, let this be a lesson to you. There are opportune times. If you miss those, you lose your chance.” he said like a strict professor. More murmurs from the people, this time sounding satisfied at having a reason for my exclusion.

“I’m sorry sir. I didn’t mean to waste my chance. Does that mean I can never enter this church?” I asked.

“Of course not! We are a welcoming church. What do you think of us? We’re not like other places that are judgmental and old. We have a night service. We actually have one in an hour. You should join us.” He said invitingly, dropping his early defensiveness. “Amen.” someone from the crowd said. “Amen.” said a few others.

“Thank you so much, sir.” I said. “I heard the songs from outside. I’ve not heard singing in so long.”

“You will love our songs. We have the most beautiful songs.” he smiled confidently. “But let me ask you something. If I invited you to a time of fun and games, and I told you to be there by 3:00pm. What time would you be there by?”

Wondering what this question was about, I answered, “3:00pm, sir.”

“Exactly.” he said like a hunter whose trap was successfully sprung. “Exactly. Why then are you late for God? If you truly valued God more than fun, if you truly loved Him more than anything, you would not be late for Him.”

“Amen!” a few people shouted in agreement. “Amen.”

“Do you understand me child?” he asked. “If you don’t want to be left behind, you need to show God that He is really priority. Do not be late.”

“I’m sorry sir, but…” he cut me as I tried to explain.

“Child, I’m not angry. I’m not here to condemn you. God loves all of us. God loves sinners. He will forgive you. If you turn from your ways, He will forgive you.” he said trying to sound reassuring.

I had no idea what he was talking about.

“Sir, where should I turn?” I asked him.

“To God of course!” he said confidently.

“I did not know I had turned from Him. I…” he cut me again.

“Just as I feared. You are more deceived than you realize. Brother Sloan…” he called to a younger yet also impressive looking man, “Take this child to my office.” He turned to me, “Child, wait for me there so we can discuss this. As you can see I have duties to attend to.”

I didn’t want to go. There was something I didn’t trust about this man as well as Brother Sloan. He was both kind and condemning. What he said was principled, it was right, but he did not take the time to think if his message was meant for a weary traveler. And of course he did not know. He did not know anything about me. He cut me and never let me explain. I had lost a loved one, was missing my guide, hungry, and tired, yet to him I was deceived, valuing fun and games more than his deity. “I don’t want to go.” I said firmly.

“Don’t be a child!” he said.

“You’ve been calling me child since we started talking.” I answered back.

“Because you’re a foolish child!” he replied with visible irritation.

I didn’t reply anymore. This regal man who had been treating me like a child, was telling me not to act like a child, and right after called me a foolish child. I had no idea what he wanted.

“What do you want sir?” I asked. “I am tired and weary. I was only hoping to listen to the singing and songs.”

“What I want is your salvation. Don’t you see? Don’t you see that I love you enough to tell you the truth? Yet I can see that you’re like them. You’re independently minded like them. Independent minds are easily led astray.”

I was wondering who he was referring to. I was wondering how in the world he could say that he loved me when he didn’t even know me nor care to know me. I was wondering why he expected me to see his point.

He continued. “I’m sorry. Forgive me, child. Forgive my zeal. When you see a man about to walk over a cliff, do you tell him in a gentle voice to watch out? No! You shout out loudly, TURN! REPENT! It is out of love that I tell you the truth.”

I had no more energy to even attempt to explain. I simply offered my hand to shake his, said thank you, turned around, and walked away.

It was then that I realized what was in front of them. Clamped to their necks, extending in front of them in the most elegant formation, were mirrors. The man who looked like their leader, their high priest had the biggest and most ornate. No wonder he didn’t see me when he was walking straight in my direction. He was looking at himself.


 

Down the road from the giant church, in the darker part of the town known as the Disqualified, I sat by the sidewalk, and pulled out Abe’s letter to me.

“What are you reading there, handsome?” a voice asked me, coming from a scantily clad lady with a pretty face marred by ugly caked makeup.

“It’s a letter from a friend.” I told her.

“That’s nice.” she said. “It’s nice you have a friend.”

“Don’t you have friends? Everyone has friends.” I asked her.

“I no longer have friends. I have clients.” she said.

“Clients?”

“A boy like you won’t understand. These people you call friends, they’re really clients. They’re in it for something. Everyone is in it for something.” she said dismissively.

“Oh.” I didn’t know how to respond to her. “I don’t have a lot of friends right now too. At least, I don’t have a lot of them with me. But I have friends in my memory, and I like to imagine that they’re happy wherever they are, and I like to imagine that someday I’ll see them again, and we’ll laugh at everything like we used to. I don’t know what they bring me, they haven’t brought me anything in a long time, but I love them. Do I need a reason to want to be their friend?”

“You’re young. You can be forgiven for being naive.” she smirked. “I’ve learned long ago that there’s the real world and there’s our dream world. The dream world is every beautiful thing we want. The real world is this. Look at you. Look at me. This is the real world. We are nowhere. We have nothing. We are no one.”

“That’s not true.” I told her. “Abe told me that we are never really nowhere. We may not be where we expected, or we may not be where we want to be, but we’re still somewhere, and to be somewhere, anywhere, and to realize you’re there is always a new chance to begin a new journey towards a new destination.”

“Who is Abe?” she asked.

“He’s my best friend. He’s the one who wrote me this letter.”

“Where is he now?”

“He said he had to go somewhere. To prepare something.”

“See. He’s gone kid. Sorry to be the one to break it to you. Your friend Abe abandoned you.”

“You don’t know Abe.” I said defending him. “What would Abe want from a young man like me?”

“I know men.” she shot back. “Maybe he needs followers! I don’t know! I do know men are liars. We women are liars too. We’re all liars. You’re too young to be a good liar but you’ll learn it too. No one will be there when you need them. It’s best you learn it now. Would I be selling my body now if no one had lied to me? Of course not! Don’t hate me for telling you the truth.”

The truth. That was the second time today that I was told what “the truth” was, and it could not have come from such diametrically opposite individuals, a spiritual leader and someone I would later realize was a prostitute.

We were both quiet. I don’t know what was in her head but I had nothing to say. I still run of things to say.

“Do you want to read my friend’s letter with me?” I don’t know why I asked her after she had just tore into my belief in friends. “I like reading it. I like reading it over and over. I don’t understand it completely but I like reading it anyway. You might like it too.”

She looked at me and smiled at my naivety. “Sure, kid. Read it to me.”

I unfolded the crumpled paper gently.

“Dear Lion…” I read. “He liked to say I was a lion.” I proudly explained.

“Cute.” she said dismissively.

I continued.

“I wish I could tell you everything. I wish I could show you everything. You would love it all. You might wonder, ‘Why not just tell me and show me if they’re so wonderful?’ But it’s not as simple as that. You see, there’s more to just hearing and seeing, there’s more to just explanations. There’s a deeper understanding that comes from feeling, a feeling you must experience for yourself, on a journey of steps you have chosen to Who Knows Where. Too many people say they want answers, they say they want wisdom to do what’s right. What they really want is comfort. What they really want is security. When wisdom threatens their hold on either they are unable to recognize the truth.

Don’t be like them. Fight your pain, fight your fears, and journey on. Do you think I invited you to journey with me to self-preservation? Where is the fun in that? 

No. I invited you to the beauty of mystery, a beauty too many have forgotten. Don’t hate her when she doesn’t answer. Appreciate her with wonder. Stay until she introduces you to her best friend, discovery. You will not regret the cost of meeting her. She will explain destiny.

In the meantime, have faith. What does it mean to have faith? It means to be in love even when I’m not around. It means to make me a part of your journey, even when you feel I’m not there. It means to trust that I’ll be where I said I would be, with you at all times, yet also ahead of you preparing a place.

Make my promises your sanctuary, your place of peace and rest wherever you go.. You will enjoy a hearth warmer than any other.

I wish I could tell you everything. I wish I could show you everything. You would love it all. You might wonder, and I hope you do, because to be able to wonder is a gift in itself.

Without fail,

Abe”

Fighting tears, the lady spoke, “Nice letter. I wish what he was saying were true. But they’re not. I’m telling you this for your own good. You don’t know the world.”

I didn’t know how to explain Abe to her, but I remembered Sam’s words to me in my dream, so I used them to talk about Abe, “I can only say what I’ve seen in my own life, that every thing he’s touched he’s made better, and that wonderful can never be remembered apart from his fingerprints. And I know that if I continue on this path for even just one more day, with him, the world is made better one more day. If I touch just one more life, with him, the world is made better another life. I know life is hard. But I also know this momentary wasting away has a purpose.”

“You’re not as young as you look, boy. You’re naive, but thank you… What’s your name?”

“David.” I said.

“Thank you, David.” and she walked away back into the shadows.

I sat there shivering in the cold, enjoying the warmth of my sanctuary.