On Saturday, I was digging through my files and I found a program from my baptism and this photo was tucked away inside.
I happened to be on the phone with my older sister at the time, and I started to lose it.
I began crying. Hard. I tried to really feel and understand my tears. Why had this photo stirred me so?
I struggled to explain, though I sensed she understood intuitively what I was feeling.
My heart aches so much when I see this boy with such a beautiful spirit, who is trying his best, trusting the adults and people he loves and respects, who are trying to lead him to happiness in the best way they know how.
Does he know how much things will change? He knows nothing of the internet, pornography, masturbation, homosexuality, hell—sin of any kind is a foreign experience.
Look at how joyful he is! Free from sin, and following the path of righteousness!
But look closer—the boy is anxious, scared. He's frightened of causing anyone more pain, of letting people down. So much so, he's got a cold sore, which always appear on his lips during periods of extreme anxiety.
Dear Ezra of November 6th 1994,
I wanted to write you a letter.
You are of such infinite worth. You do not have to earn love. That love you so freely give is all that is required of you in this life. "As I have loved you, love one another".
You will have a lot of terrible things happen to you, but you will touch many lives with your love and your caring—please realize the value you have to those around you, and internalize that for those times when you feel like no one is there.
I love you so much, and I'm so sorry for all the pain I caused you.
I'm sorry for all the times I beat you and verbally abused you. For calling you stupid, and for never truly accepting you for the loving, sweet boy you are.
Everything will turn out alright. I love you.
Ezra of Sept 2009.
For the first time in my life, I've had a glimpse of how God must feel.
God knows what lies ahead of us. He looks across the reaches of Heaven, and His endless love swells for us—and oh, the sorrow He must feel! Seeing where we will fall, and wanting to warn us. But knowing that this is our test, and that He cannot intervene, no matter how much he wants to protect us from the pain. It is necessary for our growth.
God's hands are bound, lest agency cease.
I cannot spare that sweet little boy from 1994, any more than God can spare me now.
All I can do is embrace that young spirit inside me, and forgive myself, just as God will do when I finally feel his countenance shine upon me.