January 26, 2012
Thursday, 7:00 p.m.
Letter #210: The Fly and I
The lazy fly on my window (which is 6″ wide by 5′ tall—the window, not the fly) has something in common with me: we’ve both chosen to be in prison. No one else chose for me to be here, and I certainly did not choose for the fly to be here. Yet, here we sit.
We are different in many respects. My plea deal for a minimum of 15 years will have me headed home in 2023, Lord willing. I have a feeling that 2012 means this fly’s world is coming to an end.
<One moment, please.>
There. Now we have something else in common: I have crushed my own hopes and dreams and I have done the same for the fly. Mine were crushed when I received the envelope with my sentence agreement in it. Similarly for the fly, an envelope—this one a decorative sort with three wise men on it—crushed him.
Interestingly, the fly did not move (not that I expect him to move now … ). He is still on my window; he’s just become far more aerodynamic. And here is yet another way in which we are similar: how easy it is to gaze longingly out the sealed-shut window of the prison we’re in, looking at the great wide world beyond, when there is a whole lot of something else we could be doing. And staying stuck on that glass long after it’s too late doesn’t help much either. It’s time to let go and move on.
Now don’t go feeling sorry for either one of us. “That poor guy?” Nope. Mr. Fly passed through three heavy solid steel doors that are opened solely by guards in order to be in my cell.
“Possibly he was sucked in … ” Oh, sure, we all could use that excuse for a myriad of wrong situations we find ourselves in, instead of realizing that maybe I was playing around too close to the door when it opened.
But, getting back to that wistful, longing look out the window. This fly is like the cellie I had who would pace in front of the door chanting, “I’m about to get out, I’m about to get out … ” to no one in particular, though my ears (and the ears of what I assume was an altogether different fly than my window-stuck pal) were the only ears in, well, earshot.
Trouble is, it is easy to stare at a door, praying it will open to that big, wonderful, new opportunity that God supposedly has for me rather than to simply look around where he has me and gratefully embrace the opportunities in that space. It is less work and takes less effort to sit back, waiting for God to open a door (or a window) that will somehow fulfill all our hopes than to faithfully serve Him in small things.
We pray, “Lord, give light to my path,” but then we don’t take a step down that path. Why? We often don’t like the way He’s headed, and we wait for a more “perfect” opportunity. Every moment in life involves a choice. Sometimes it isn’t obvious, sometimes it is a difficult choice, and at other times it is downright unpleasant or costly to make the right choice.
I’m discipling my buddy, Soto, and we discussed what it means to “carry your cross” and truly die to self, living for Christ. Soto leaves prison in a few months, and he has a big transition to make as he learns to view life from God’s perspective and not his own. He’s excited to learn, and it is obvious that God is at work in his heart. (Special thank-you’s to Ed Soria, my dear brother whose life of faith I planted a seed in, who sent me beginner Bible-reading plans Soto is using, and to Gordon Westwood, a true saint of God who has liberally watered my faith, for sending me an excellent resource on discipleship I’m using with Soto. Each part of the Body of Christ, working perfectly together!)
The difficulty is that a man leaving prison with hopes and dreams he’s built during his entire incarceration must now listen to God and get on His plan. The easier path, it seems, is to just hope for the best, but God has so much more in store for those who trust Him fully!
And for those of us who stray off our course, through doors we should’ve never passed through, what then? Gratefully, our loving God doesn’t “envelope” us to a window pane in one sudden, life-ending crush. Instead, He envelops us within His embrace, completely surrounding us with His abundant mercy and carefully guides us along the paths of righteousness.
And those hopes and dreams we’d crushed through our wrong actions—or even our inactions—He restores in His time, gently straightening our broken wings until we can fly again. And so do I!! Yeah. Riiiight.