To my constant companion—the most faithless of my friends—
the person I know best and, sometimes, wish that I had never met:
~ * ~
I've known you for years. A lifetime, in fact. I have seen you grow and blossom, and I have seen you crumple and wilt—all too often, as you drift from one to the other throughout the years. Months. Mere moments, sometimes, as you fade from a loving, glowing life into a bitter and self-flooded death—killing yourself, over and over again.
I think you must have died a thousand times since I've known you. And I watched you do it. I never could help you—I died with you, you see. Every single time.
I always wished I could put my finger on what it was that brought you back to life. I wished I could know it, could tame it, that rare and beautiful spark that lit you again in flames of hopeless love for your Jesus; the love that burned you back to life again. I never found its name. I never learned how to summon it. And I cried more tears than you ever have in your life, as I stood and let you die.

Watching you die isn't like seeing a person with a heart attack, their life twisted into a writhing battle and then suddenly ceasing to be. It's not like that at all. It's like seeing a puppy starve itself—refusing, weakening, wasting away. And me looking on, helpless to save such a fragile, wordless life. You see, the puppy is the only one that can save it—it simply won't. Because it's too full of something sick and sorrowful even to remember that it is hungry. Even to give the aching emptiness inside of it a name.

For at last, we have come to the point of this whole letter. You're so good, so good, you see, at communicating that you are bent and bruised and broken, and yet so much better at hiding the truth behind your brokenness. Even in your journals (don't be surprised, you know I have read them) you will not write them down—the memories, the realities, the measure of the distances you have wrought between you and your beautiful Jesus. Oh, you still write brokennesses. The pain of them, the idea of them, the confusion of them... all the feelings that can so quickly be made beautiful, even lovely, by some tender lilt of language. But you never write their names.

Because sometimes, the names hurt too much. They're too real. Like pride—the voice that convinced you Worth was something you became, not something you were given. It built your life into an endless, glamorous treasure-hunt, and taught you well the rules of the game: how to seek for affection, for attention, for gain; and most of all, how always strive toward the greatest treasures becoming your own. It's both strange and terribly tragic, watching you play. You don't realize that every time you win, you lose.

Or bitterness. The ugly thing that twisted your thoughts and your heart and the cold secrets of your intentions, until even a smile could be used to hurt someone. You never thought people could tell that you hadn't forgiven them. But I'll tell you a secret: they didn't have to. It's your heart, your wretched heart, that falls in flames every time you refuse to offer the grace once given you. For there's another secret, and this one is even more tragic—that when you stand before Jesus, it is you who will bear the scars of your unforgiveness. Not them.

Believe me, you don't want to write about your brokenness. Not really. Because there are times when it hurts you too much to realize that some brokenness, we are not meant to reconcile—we are meant to let go. You won't admit that you don't want to let go. That you still hold closely the shame and bitterness that haunted you as a child. The loneliness that convinced you that no one loved you. The experience that convinced you that no one ever would. That you still feel the deep, desperate hurt, the hurt that keeps you angry at the people whom you always believed should somehow have loved you better.
You won't say it. And you won't say this, either—that you hurt, you hurt so deeply for people with chains and addictions, not just because you love, not just because you should, not just because you want to, not even just because Jesus did... but because you've had them, too. You've possessed such empty things, embraced them, even loved them. And that love was the most treacherous, shameful love you have ever known.
There are other names you will not say. Names not for your brokenness alone, but for you. Names like Liar, and names like Thief. Those are the two you hate most of all, aren't they? Because they're the two you're most afraid of, the two words that are the most lonely of any you've ever known. Nothing can beautify such twisted words, nobody would dare to claim them in writing or song or speech as their own, to identify themselves with a brokenness so deceitful and self-seeking. But it doesn't matter. Even if you are the only one in all the world who has possessed so much darkness inside of you, you must say it. You must name it. Even though you are afraid.
For I know you are afraid. So am I—we are part of one another, remember. You've always been afraid of them, all of them. Every dark and dreadful word that you cannot make sound beautiful anymore; words that are contrary to the very idea of beauty, that show you above all things how very ugly brokenness can be. But it's time you stopped being afraid. It's time you stopped running.
It's time you named them.
It's time you named your shadows.
The shadows are full of your shame. I know that. But I do not ask you to do this because I want you to feel it. These shadows carry your guilt. They possess your memories. They know your name. And they taunt you because even though, secretly, you know theirs, you will not admit that you do. You ran from them, and you never told a soul that they followed behind. For shadows like this only chase the people who created them—and you were too ashamed to admit that you did.
I told you, I am not asking this of you because I want you to feel shame. I don't want that. I never have.
But I want...
                          I want...
                                          I so desperately want...

I want you to let it go.

Only by naming your brokenness, only by realizing its depth, its ugliness, its vastness, and its pastness, can you understand your freedom. For you see, to name the brokenness is not to claim it. It is not to carry it once again, to fear that it may somehow come back to possess you. For now that you stand on the other side of the Cross, brokenness truly becomes beautiful—for you are no longer naming the distance that lies between you and your Maker. The lovelessness that lies between you and your Father. You are no longer naming yourself.

You are naming the distance Jesus crossed, the pain He suffered, the shame He carried,
the reaches of His mercy, the depth of His love,
and the cost that was as nothing,
compared to the claiming of you.
You're redeemed. You're redeemed. It is the reason I am writing this: you are REDEEMED. But as long as you write as though that doesn't matter, as long as you clothe your sins in sweetness to somehow shroud their sting, you will never understand the beauty of the redemption that destroyed the sting forever. And I am writing you now, to ask you, to plead with you, to beg you... to remember. Just to remember.
Because it's about time we started a new year off right. And if you will, if you somehow can—if you'll shed the darkness and let Jesus breathe the spark that will set you aflame, if you'll bear the pain and poverty to know that the desolation of you will bring you so beautifully, gloriously alive again

If you will—
If you can—
if you'll pray that you can—

Perhaps this will be the year that we do.
Category: 4 missives

4 missives:

Anonymous said...

You. Are. Incredible. Reading your posts is like watching a sunset or soaring over mountaintops and I'm so incredibly glad I stumbled upon your blog. You've kindled an awakening for me with your words--a much needed awakening. My, how proud we are of our brokenness sometimes...

Anyhow, just wanted to thank you for your beautiful posts and remind you that your words are never in vain, that God uses them in unusual or random (but always beautiful) ways.

Sparrow said...

Aww... Anonymous, you made my day. Truly: your words are precious and I deeply needed them. Thank you for bringing me joy. ^.^

(I'm glad I'm not the only one who loves sunsets.)

Lilly said...

My dear friend! I'm afraid I have lost the contact info I had for you, but I'm sorry to leave it as a comment here, but I don't know how else to get in touch with with you. I tried to send you an email, but I email I had for you rejected it. If you get this message, I misss you. I'd love to be in contact again. Your friendship is preacious and speacial to me.

Sparrow said...

Lilly! I'm so sorry I didn't see your comment until now. You can contact me through my Smallest Lights address ( and I'll send you my new private e-mail address. My old e-mail account crashed and, quite sadly, I lost most of my contacts, including lovely people like you.

I can't wait to hear from you again. And oh. I love you. Very much. ^.^