The East Asia Letter – – 3/10/13 (I think)
-long, because distractions are few and there is much to say-
Greetings from Tokyo, or at least a lovely airport. I’m actually starting this letter waiting for the plane to leave for Singapore. Its about 1800 Sunday here although 0300 at home. My circadian rhythm is somewhere in between. This feels a little like overnight call. I’m likely going to send e-mail too, so I hope that we’ve already exchanged thoughts. I’d like to respond here to your story and perhaps share more of mine. I’m glad that we copy our letters for posterity and accountability. I’m also mindful that some topics deserve the discretion that paper affords. Have you ever sent an e-mail to an unintended recipient due to auto-complete and inattention?
You had foreshadowed much of your letter before, but the shadows were dense. I knew you had unspeakable pain and I knew that you wrote letters to your father while he was in prison. How much the latter caused the former I did not know. My most dreaded imagination was not fulfilled, but it was close. On so many levels I grieve with you. And at the deepest level I agree that your story provides you, not just others, with sure and sufficient reason to believe. Why does deepest belief often come from deepest pain, bitter betrayal, caustic doubt? Because God did not command us to kiss his ass and send us on fools’ errands. He created us in love, providing Jesus as a substitution for the price of our fall from the beginning. God joined our suffering in rescue. He rescued the girl who believed in Santa Claus and had her heart broken. Like Job he gave new blessings and the new, secure family that you have with Russell, E and hopefully more to come.
I understand that your obvious trials and your deliverance from darkness you couldn’t name did serve as a testimony to you and others. I believe that the prayers in your journal were heard before you wrote them. That your sobs were met by a grieving Spirit even as they took your breath and words. Before I might have questioned God as many others have for far less. “How could you let that happen to J – – where were you?” Now I realize that he redeems and that I don’t know the horror of what he did prevent. I also know that he was raising up Russell to husband you — a faithful steward of your trust. A father who a daughter could know and admire – – a father it took a long time for yours to become.
I understand why you did not disclose so much about your family at the outset. I don’t consider you deceitful and the absolute distance from truth is the same whether we omit or embellish. You couldn’t risk your family’s honor to a confidence not yet earned. There are some things that you have processed and forgiven I’m sure on different levels. There was one thing you wrote that caused me to flinch and I care enough to revisit it to ensure that our connotations are the same. If not, I’ll make my case. If so, then we have more common ground. You described a child as promiscuous. You didn’t use permissive or resigned – – both words that you command. I read a connotation that perhaps I should not – – but if you share even a fraction of it then it bears strong realignment. In the situation you described, a child is not promiscuous. Children are to be protected and cherished as gifts from God. Jesus was clear that he held their trust and innocence in high regard. To violate that innocence is anathema. And that child bore no guilt. But why didn’t the child stop it? Why were there hints of enjoying attention or even touch? A child is not able to discern the intentions of the wicked. And even babies are wired to know that something can feel good without knowing why. I panned out to generalisms on purpose. This reflects what I learned in pediatrics and psychiatry about the horror of child abuse. So I don’t know that it applies here. But if there is shame and there likely is – – let me speak truth. It was not your fault – – it was abuse, and in a culture that over-victimizes – – some examples still ring true. I am so sorry, and I’m so grateful for God’s healing and redemption.
-to be continued-
Photo credit: Handwritten letter by Descarte: by PHGCOM [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) via Wikimedia Commons