Sunday, December 28, 2008

Inside the Package

One of my favorite songs that I used to sing when I led Worship while in prison is called "In the Secret". We sang it in church this morning and the power of the words once again struck me.

I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You, more!
(From "In the Secret")
I spent the Christmas holiday with my sister, Debbie. As has become our practice whenever we seem to get together in the past year, we talked. That may seem like an unusual statement to make, but if you knew me (and the dynamics of our family), you would understand what a miracle that a genuine conversation in our family is. My history is that I would engage in conversation, but I would never "talk". There was just too great a possibility that by really talking, I might reveal part of who I really was and not just the mask that I had become.

All the changed when I went to prison. As anyone can imagine, prison changes a person...sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. In my case, I believe it was for the better. It's not that I would say my life today is's far from it. Instead of living in a quarter of a million dollar condo on the golf course, I live in a fifth-wheel trailer that is worth less than 10% of my last home. My salary is half what it was when I was arrested and the family I had married is no longer mine. No more wife. No more kids. No more mom and dad. No more grandkids. All gone.

But there is something else that is gone today as well...all my secrets. When your life is splashed across the front pages of the newspaper and makes the lead story on the five o'clock news, it doesn't make much sense to try to conceal your life any more. And there has been such a blessing in that. I can openly "talk" about who I am and what I'm feeling and what my fears are without worrying about whether it may tarnish my reputation or not. And since I've been out of prison these past 16 months, that has been my everyday practice.

While my sister and I were talking this week, I realized how little I knew my sister until this past year...and how little she really knew me. Through her blogging and the book she is writing and our "real" conversations, she has been willing to reveal her deepest wounds and dreams...not only with me, but with any who are willing to read her words. It struck me that there are people out there who know my sister better than our brothers do...and it broke my heart. Like the song I sang in the prison worship service speaks so eloquently about how we establish our relationship with God by getting to know Him, we can't have true relationship with anyone unless we get to know the person. I am thankful that I have been willing to enter into that conversation with Debbie, and the gift that getting to know her has been.

As the Christmas holiday comes to an end, I think of the gift that can be found in each one of us. Our story. But like the gifts we find under the tree, we can only appreciate what's inside when we open it. Opening the gift leads us into relationship...a genuine relationship that allows us to see each other's hearts and souls. It allows us to trust and love unconditionally. I've discovered that not only has my relationship with God become genuine in the last 16 months, but so has my relationship with my family. Everyone needs to be willing to open the gift that sits across the table from us in the morning or who holds the phone at the other end of a long distance connection. Only then can we truly know one another and hear the story that resides within.

I want to touch You
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more.

1 comment:

Deb said...

I can't tell you how much I've loved our conversations and getting to know you after all these years. I also treasure your desire and willingness to know me. This Christmas will live in my memory as one of the most love-filled and heart satisfying ever.

Your life may not be what it once was, but your presence in the lives of others is an abundance of love and acceptance. Those riches so exceed the wealth you lost, and I believe will begin to come back to you so that what you have ultimately will be far more than what you lost.

I love you so much, little bro.