Letter #15 Dear Paul

Dear Paul,

Today, at sunrise, I saw beauty. . . and I saw it, Paul, because the night was conquered. Your brother Andrew was here for 2 days and he had just left. Already missing him, praying over him, I watched his car make its way down my curvy little hill. I thought of all of our talks while he was here, I love that man, he is so precious to me.   I know, I know it’s an interesting word to use to describe a man his size but he will forever be my “Andrew”, my nephew – my young nephew. This of course brings me also to you.   I walked from my front room, where I had watched him through my bedroom window leave, and then stood looking out my back window, watching the beautiful sunrise. It was all kinds of peaches and ambers casting out long rays of hope across the broad morning.

Do you know each day God greets us with that message? Our days are big with a lot to accomplish and each day whether we can see it or not that sun rises to encourage the world below to step out once again in the hope laid before us. Oh there will be challenges but it still doesn’t change the fact our God places a huge light before us to light our way as benefit to handling those challenges.

Rarely though do we really consider this benefit. We just plunk out of bed, scooting our feet across the floors of our lives and make our way to pee. And can I tell you, Paul, that just being able to make our way in “that” is a benefit.   Sound slightly crazy? I watched your Grandma for almost 4 years no longer have that benefit. I watched a full life no longer function and it was sorrowful. No one can imagine how hard it is to lay in a bed and have no control over even simple life functions.

Life rarely teaches its best lessons loud. Never forget this, Paul. Never.   Life’s lessons are taught through small matters. Moments are piled one upon another, each having its own seconds of decisions.   And can I tell you a method that most assuredly brings sorrow, unthankfulness. How silly does that sound !!! Oh, watch out for that treacherous “unthankfulness” – makes you scared just thinking about it, doesn’t it! Not. How stupid sounding this seems. Yet unthankfulness opens wide its mouth for the dainty morsels of self pity.

Do you know what self pity is? It is death. Self pity is a war zone and it brings death. All movement forward is halted, stagnation begins – mold begins its obligation to cover life in a slim . . . a snotty textured ooze of green, then black.   Do you know where mold grows best?   In dank dark places where oxygen is deprived. Self pity sucks the life out of us and doesn’t stop until it has gulped down our souls to hell. And when it has gorged itself, and the pain begins of digestion, it belches without restraint and those nearest to you is offered that stench. And no amount of fanning removes the scent. You and those closest to you are covered in it.

Paul, you are where you are because of unthankfulness.   You are where you are because of self pity. Self pity knows nothing of the beauty the soul explores from sorrow handed us from God. That sorrow brings in its end – hope, hope in a great God who is faithful in the world where much can often not make sense.   But selfishness, it learns and knows nothing. It is void of understanding.   It keeps repeating the same stupid mistakes and often at a ridiculous pace. And the digestion of that life stinks. Ever been in the bathroom and wondered why on earth you ate “that” or that “that” actually produced “that” stench?  Gross, yep – very gross conversation.   But were not talking about lovely matters are we. We’re not talking about a beautiful sunrise where my thoughts of you could settle in gentle, poetic thoughts of your life. You want to know what I thought of – I wondered why loving someone has to hurt. Why I can’t have my Paul back.   The one I know exists with such challenging robust words hidden in his heart – meant to heal others and to not live for himself.

Paul, my heart has weakness in it for you – as you go, I go.   I am startled at your lack of love for me. How else can I process why you’d put me at risk of losing you. Your life, Paul, isn’t your own. Your life is laid down in layers – first the foundation of Almighty God, then your parents, then your clan – I am part of your clan. And the pieces of you lay upon me heavy – I hold your personhood in me like life. How shall I not know your story, how do I live in sorrow if you end. Or worse know you leave like “that”.   Paul, I cannot stir within my soul words to turn you, only God owns that ability but I can tell you you’re hurting me and ask you to stop.

Paul, I’m asking you to stop. To stop drinking and to get help to do it. To stop sedating your life and to feel the weight of responsibility to live beyond yourself. To become a man and protect those that are actually NOT going to be protected unless you show up. Yes, there are people assigned to your life who will be affected if you don’t take serious the need to grow up and become a man and find them along your pathway. I am one of them, Paul. I am one of them.

I need you just like I’ve needed my Andrew to be there for me, to encourage me along the way. We all get discouraged, we all face giants. Paul, I will pray you through on this, I will commit to this if you but ask. But you have to want to change. And that is what makes me weak and feel the weight of your life upon mine. Surely you know I am not a liar, I do not use lofty words to trick your mind, surely you know you live in my heart like a treasured gift. How will I remain Aunt Anne to another? Yes, oh I am Aunt Anne to many but how can I be Aunt Anne to Paul gone from my life, gone from the life of my sister? How will I find my way home to you? Is it your grave that I shall visit? Is it your grave that I shall know? And will I not remember this letter. Will I know your eyes were laid upon these pages and yet still lived as you wish. Do not do this to me, Paul. Do not do this to me, Paul! I am one you are leaving behind in every amber colored frothy drink you swallow, in every turning of the key to drive. I am one who needed you.

I am asking you, Paul, to stop.

Stop. . .