I’ve been trying to write a really dazzling, intellectually stimulating blog about the economy, or the shadows, or the political mire, or corruption or whatever catches my attention… But nothing really does. It all seems like a rehash of the same story with a few edits, a paragraph shift, versed synonyms, and in the end, it’s all the same.
I’ve written countless starts and yet my mind continually returns to one story. The story of a Fall, a fall from grace, a fall so incredibly steep and perilous that it catches my breath because I just don’t understand. It is a story where hope is dragged back to the heart only to be thrashed again. And still, and yet, this flicker of hope seems to never be fully extinguished.
The story is about the pervasiveness of man in inflicting pain – with intention, with justification, and even with – glee. How far into Hell does a soul fall where pure depravity becomes an obsession that consumes the last bit of life? Where Destruction is measured as the fruit? Where once there was a soul, somewhere, but where the cracks opened to crevices, and there was nothing left of the shredded mask?
Where a person once lived.
It’s not the terrorist. It’s not the murderer. It’s not the rapist or the child molester. It’s not the prostitute or sex trafficker or acid attacker. It’s simply the person standing next to you. A person you trusted. A person with whom you shared a life. And yet it isn’t a person at all. At least, not any longer. It is the worst form of deception imaginable.
And yet despite the terror inflicted, despite their absolute desire for total ruin, there lingers, unbelievably, hope. Hope that they will somehow be witness to their malicious will, and just – stop.
Days pass. Weeks and months. And still you can’t perceive of the depth of the evil that must consume every cell, every coding, that could cause a person to act in such a way. Perhaps it is a form of insanity? Or is that an excuse, a justification, an out, when in fact – sometimes there is no fortuitous end, there is no cure, and that person is beyond even – Hope?
What does one do with such a loss? What does one do when the slashings are unrelenting? When the desire is immortal death? God says that all souls are savable… but not all souls are saved. And never will be. And while that may be how it is, God also reminds us to never give up, for even the most vile, the most sinful, can repent, and their stores of death and bitterness can be filled with an abundance of love – visible in their countenance, their deeds, and in their heart.
Of course it is so much easier to observe when you are not the target of the knife, when it hasn’t pierced your flesh, when the slashings are perpetrated somewhere else, on someone else. Then we suddenly become experts on how to assess and analyze and suture the wounds.
Listlessly, we ask the question that forever remains – why? Why do you desire this? What happened to your soul? Maybe you never had one… The veil is lifted. The mask melted by the Son. And when the cracks begin to spread through and across the dead earth that is your flesh, there is nothing to hold your bones intact, your muscle entwined, and you simply spill away into a living death.
And the wasteland that is left, is set aflame.
In all this there is a caveat. If a person hasn’t God, then in whom does he place Hope? In one self? In a mortal being flawed and imperfect? In the government? Where do you find your Hope? Without God, Hope would be so small, so fragile, easily broken, tragically barren.
And so, despite the continued slashings, the depravity, the obsessive malice, I drag myself back up, I stand and stare into the golden sun and decry, I HAVE HOPE…still. Today, I still have hope that this person’s soul will be brought to repentance and humility and set me free, and I will bleed no more. I have Hope because God stands with me in His power, His mercy, His grace.
I have Hope because God is perfect and man is so very imperfect, but even in man’s imperfection miracles can be, as the Shepherd guides, tends, and rights the caste sheep. And so I ask, I pray, that God would right the caste sheep that has fallen from grace, and mold once again a heart to set me free.