To my son Tommy,
I never know when you will read these. I am not sure if you will read these as soon as you can or you will put them away and pull them out much later in your life. Are you reading this with three or four decades under your belt? This is probably best read then.
In all your life, have you ever been five moments past the point of breaking? You just don't know how you are going to hold up and the only thing you are sure of is life is still going to keep coming at you. You ever have that point where you are trembling because your body can't decide if it wants to scream or cry? It seems you have every bad emotion coursing through your veins and each one is screaming that life is not fair. You get to the point where you have lost faith and lost hope and you may even scream, "I hate you God." even if you really don't mean it. You feel lost and alone and have no faith. Well, I have. I have been there more recently than I would admit and keep coming back there more often than I should.
On this Palm Sunday, through scripture, I am reminded that I am not alone in this feeling. It is part of the human condition that even Jesus had to endure. I have this picture of Him in the garden of Gethsemane falling to the ground and weeping. My own words mix with the words from scripture. I can hear Him saying "This sucks" and "You can fix this if You wanted to" and "Let this cup pass from Me" and tons of yelling "Why?!" as he talked to his Father and faced His impending death. In the end, He trusted in God and the plan laid before Him and said, "not as I will but as You will" (or in other words "Thy will be done.") as He accepted what He had to do and He became the vessel by which we would receive God's forgiveness and grace. This goes without saying but, Jesus was a better man than me. I am still having trouble accepting and having faith. Perhaps I am more like Peter, and when things get tough, I turn quicker than a cock can crow.
Either way, you will probably have had these moments. If you haven't, count yourself blessed, but these moments might yet still come, whether you had them in the past or not. You might be ashamed of these moments of doubt and moments of weakness and moments where you lost all faith and hope. You may have been angry with God and the world and you may lash out at the people you love the most. I am here to tell you to be not ashamed and or afraid. It is okay to pray, "My Father, hear my cry!", and it is okay to say to your loved ones, "I need help!", and it is okay to be angry with God, as He can handle it. But in the end, things are going to happen that you will have no control over. Sometimes the only control you have is controlling how you act or react. Try to do so with love. You will have to find the strength from within to continue on and accept the path before you. But if you find yourself laying on the ground weeping and questioning, know you are in good company.
Sincerely with love from your dad,