E- Easter Meant Everything

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Easter is a very important holiday to me. The first stories ever told to me weren’t fairy tales, but rather stories of friendship like Jonathan and David, or stories of Esther, the girl queen who saved her entire nation, or David and Goliath and how a little guy with insurmountable odds stacked against him could win if he trusted that God was on his side. Those are just a few of the stories I was raised on.

I hear it all the time. “Hey Kitt, don’t you find writing erotica and talking about sex all the time to be contrary to your personal religious beliefs?” No, I don’t. The God I know believed that LOVE was at the core of everything. Loving Him and Loving Everybody. As for the sexuality thing, well, I’ve already answered that question before, but you’re welcome to listen to me chat with the incomparable August McLaughlin on her Girl Boner show entitled: Kinky Christian: Not an Oxymoron?

Most of my life I’ve had a favorite Bible verse. In fact, throughout my life, it has stayed as my hope and focus whenever I felt weak or alone or even like a failure….and it helped me remember my end goal.

“Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself: that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3

Can you feel the hope God’s trying to send to us in that message?

Here’s the thing… whether you believe in God or not, it’s not my place to judge. Most, though, will agree that there’s a higher power. Why? Because despite all the hate and bigotry and anger, hope lives on and love remains.

Think about the incredibly powerful story of Jesus for a moment. For those who don’t believe in Christianity, imagine for a moment… What if it were all true. A higher power, God, sent his only son, to come down, live among us to better understand the daily temptations we face. Through it all, he had to find a way not to give in, despite direct taunts, hatred, bitterness, disbelief… And then, he did the unthinkable. He sacrificed himself on our behalf. And his father let him. Because they felt we were worthy of that sacrifice.

Worthy for a chance to go to heaven. Worthy to be adopted into His family. Worthy to be called his children. Worthy enough for Jesus to speak up on our behalf about the sins we’ve committed and the fact that it’s not easy, but he’d already paid our price.

Seriously? How could you NOT be moved by such a loving, benevolent Savior? Does that sound like the same guy who dooms people to hell based on who they love? Does he sound like someone who would turn his back at the first sign that someone might be a little bit different? Or because our bodies, the temple he gave us, designed in His image is flawed? Or maybe because we’ve learned to appreciate the anatomical gifts he’s given us? I think not….

Personally, I’m grateful every day for the sacrifice He made on my behalf. It’s going to give me a chance to see people I’ve loved and lost, like my brothers…. He gave me a way to be reunited with them someday. That, too, is a priceless gift.

Yup! Easter, and Jesus rising up from his tomb, means everything to a sinner like me.

I Bled For You

First and foremost, I want to say Happy Veteran’s Day. If you are a Vet and have served for your country…regardless of which country it is, know that I appreciate you and the job you did. I am sure it was not easy.

My blog posts the last couple of days have been fun and sexy, so I felt I needed to give notice…this next post is in honor of Veterans Day and is a little bit different. I was compelled to write a short story this morning. Most of you are well aware that the military is near and dear to my heart. Having grown up a child of the military has opened my eyes to all sorts of experiences and opportunities to really appreciate people and different cultures.

If you were ever made to feel that your contributions to our freedoms were not appreciated or respected, please know I appreciate you and the freedoms that you’ve enabled me to enjoy. I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. We’ve had so many wars lately that many have not always agreed with. You were doing your duty and your obligation…regardless of whether you agreed with the reasons or the politics. You didn’t deserve to get caught in the crossfire. I’m sorry.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He was tired. Mentally, emotionally. The weight of guilt and grief and anger were a heavy mantle around his shoulders. Today when his little girl came home in tears because of him had been more than he could take. Feeling like a failure, he’d gotten into his car and drove.

Pete knew he should have probably let his wife know he was leaving. She would worry. She was a good wife and didn’t deserve all the hardships and sacrifices she’d been forced to face, mostly alone. He just couldn’t help himself. After looking into his 6 year old girl’s tear stained face and coaxing the story out of her he’d needed an escape. He didn’t want her to see the rage that was floating close to the surface.

Looking around, he found himself in the middle of nowhere. Up ahead, to the right, there looked to be an old abandoned church. The tiny building with it’s dark wooden doors flung open seemed to beckon him from the road. As he pulled up and put his car into park he noticed the decay. Tall weeds surrounded the building everywhere except along the rubble path and the steps made of carved gray stone. The white paint curled and chipped with heat and age.

Stepping out of his vehicle he looked up at the little cross at the steeple. He walked carefully up the steps noting the cobwebs in the corners of the door jams. Although the doors were open with welcome, it was obvious to him that no one had been here in a long time.

He contemplated the dark, scarred wood that made up the cross in the front of the sanctuary. His feet led him forward, down the aisle. Stopping at the second pew, he glanced down. They were in good condition.

“What the heck,” he thought to himself as he sat down, “I’ve got nowhere to go anyway.”

Gazing up at that cross he started talking.

“I didn’t ask for this war. I believe in this country and what it stands for. I enlisted hoping to better myself. I wanted to provide a better life for my wife and my daughter.”

He laughed bitterly. “Little good that had done,” he thought. That same little girl that he’d wanted to give the world to, whose birth he’d missed because he’d been deployed, was the same adorable face that had looked up at him, eyes swimming in tears.

“You look like you’re in a crisis of faith, son,” a voice came from beside him.

Looking over, he saw a gentleman sitting beside him. He must have been so lost in his thoughts that he didn’t even hear the man join him. In coveralls, little chips of wood and sawdust in his dark brown hair and clothing, the man was fairly nondescript. Pete figured he was probably a carpenter.

He tried for a friendly smile, but only succeeded with a grimace, “It’s been a rough day.” He snorted softly as he rolled his eyes, “Who am I kidding? It’s been a rough few years.”

“Care to talk about it?” The man asked warmly. “Sometimes it helps to tell a stranger.”

Pete didn’t trust easily, especially after the welcome he’d received when he’d gotten home from overseas. This war was doing some crazy things to this country he loved so much. Something about this man called to him.

He found himself speaking, “My six year old came home from school today, crying.”

He swallowed hard, blinking back tears of his own as her precious face swam into his memory, “She was playing with the neighbor kids in their yard when she overheard a couple of the parents talking. One of the parents said that they thought it was ridiculous that we were even in this war. That our soldiers were out there murdering innocent people for a selfish cause that nobody agreed with. As other parents nodded agreement someone else added that they couldn’t believe that soldiers just went along with it. According to these people I should have voiced my disagreement and insisted on coming home.”

Pete ran his fingers through his razor short hair and looked into the sympathetic brown eyes. “They never considered the damage their hurtful words would do to those innocent six year old ears.”

He huffed out a breath, “Who am I kidding? I doubt they even cared. I came home from the war to be greeted by picketers, hate and angry words. Why should they care about how their words affect my wife and daughter?”

“Only your wife and daughter?” The man beside him asked, eyebrow raised in a very astute question.

“No,” Pete answered. “Not just them. I left today because I was so filled with hurt and rage. I didn’t even tell my wife I was leaving. She’s probably worried sick. I didn’t want them to see me that way! I feel betrayed! I serve for love of those same people who hurt my daughter. Who mocked my trip home. I’ve done it so they can enjoy their lives. Enjoy their freedoms. They don’t know. They have no idea what I’ve seen. What I’ve heard so that they can taunt me and make my daughter cry. I still hear the explosions in my head. The screams and chaos that follows never quite go away. I carry it all with me. In my heart. Scarred on my soul.”

He looked at the kindly stranger whose face was filled with such understanding, “Part of me wants to scream at them. I bled for you. I died a bit for you. Don’t you see I do this for you? How can you turn away from me so completely? How can you make my wife and child so sad for love of me?”

The man gently put his arm around Pete’s shoulder. “I know how you feel. It’s not easy to be turned away by the people you love so much. When all the things you’ve given up or missed seem unnoticed and unappreciated. Hang in there. Give them time. One day someone will realize what you’ve done and how deeply you loved them. Go home to your wife. Your daughter. Give them a hug. They love you.”

With that little bit of wisdom, the carpenter stood up and walked away.

Pete thought for a moment about what the man said and turned around to thank him for his kindness. The man was gone. As he looked back toward the cross, prepared to head back home, he looked up again. For the first time he noticed Jesus. He shook his head. He didn’t remember him being there when he first walked in.

Shrugging he walked to the car. As he pulled the car back onto the road he realized three things. First, the guy on the cross had a very familiar face. He looked an awful lot like the guy he’d been chatting with. Second, as he thought back to that man, he remembered the scars he’d seen on his new friend’s wrists. Third, those voices in his head had stopped screaming for the first time in years the moment he’d entered that church.

He bowed his head for a moment to say thanks. Someone understood his sacrifices all too well. It was time to go home.

~~~~~~~~

The life of a soldier isn’t easy…not on them, not on their family. Here’s a song for those still in service and overseas.

And for this country that I love…