Imagine a well-dressed young man walking along a well paved path to a sure and set destination. He is clean and put together, and he walks with his head tilted high toward the heavens. Though he is looking up and not at his feet, he seems to make his way rightly for most of the journey, short of a few steps and stumbles here and there. He’s handsome and he carries something heavy though nothing is in his hands.
One day while walking, a curious sound catches his ear. He looks around, but no one walking along the path seems to hear it but it him. It is as if it calls only to him, though he is unsure of the direction from which it comes. It is soft and broken cry. Something about it sounds defiant, though it does not make itself any louder to be heard, it asks for help but at the same time independently rejects it. It calls to him like a song, broken and out of tune, but so pleasant to his listening ears. He searches for it, it is certainly not on his well paved path, however, he cannot seem to walk away from it.
He strains his eyes, looking into the ditch on either side of his way, and far off he sees a hole. To the surprise of those around him, he leaves his paved way and heads in the direction of the hole. When he arrives, he sees something he did not expect. At the bottom of this deep, dark hole is a girl…a dirty, broken, angry girl. She’s a mess, her cotton dress ripped and torn. Her hair matted to her head. Her mud stained face streaked with both heartbroken and angry tears. She looks up and sees him at the same time he looks down and sees her, and she smiles. She hasn’t seen anyone in so long. Her smile stirs something in him that has never been before. Though she is a mess and clearly in need of help, she is as lovely to him as lovely has ever been.
“Girl, why are you in this hole?” He asked.
“I live here.” She said. She had never been out of the hole. It is her home.
“You do not belong in this hole.” He said to her, emphatically. He knows nothing of her, but he does know this.
And something about the way he said it, made her believe it.
She watched him move slowly, it seemed not to scare her. If it were anyone else, she would think they were treating her like rabid animal, but he was treating her like a small bird. He seemed to know quick moves would not be the way to help her. So, he laid down on his stomach, pressing his nice clean suit into the mud, and he extended his arm into the hole. “Grab my hand.” He was going to pull her out. Hope stirred in her and fear with it. Where is home, if not for her hole? But for some reason, it didn’t matter. She trusted him.
He reached down as far as he could, and she reached back. Their fingertips just met, but the distance between them was too great, it was enough to touch but not enough to grab. For what seemed like weeks he tried everything to get her out. She jumped, he lunged, she climbed, he pulled. But soon, the reality set in that he would not be big enough nor strong enough to pull her from this hole, and in seeing that, he did the only thing there was left to do.
She hung her head and looked at her feet. He would leave the hole and her with it and go back to his path and walk on. She sighed and squeezed her eyes tightly shut, forcing tears in and sorrow back down into her belly where it rose up. She had been alone before; she could do it again.
But that is not what happened.
Knowing he could not pull her out, but now having seen her could not leave her, so he did what he must, and jumped in with her. He landed hard and heavy mud at the bottom of the hole. He had never been in mud so deep, but somehow with her here, there was peace for them both. They stayed together for a long time in the hole, finding joy and companionship in loneliness and suffering that she didn’t know was possible. The hole had always taken from her, but with him here, it seemed to give her everything. Every day he told her of their future, what lay head for them at the end of the well paved path. He told her who she could be and who he could be with her. He planned and dreamed and built for them when she didn’t know how to see past the cylindrical walls of mud that encased them.
He did something curious ever so often. He would call up to the Heavens and dry dirt would fall into the hole. In the beginning it didn’t make much difference, the thick wet mud absorbing the dirt like a sponge, but overtime, the mud dried and the dirt began to sit upon it. Years passed and the hole slowly began to fill. At a point, it was full enough that he, a bit stronger and taller than her, could climb out again.
Out of the hole, he did what he had done so many years before. He extended his hand and she took it. This time, it was plenty close enough that he could pull her free. Together, eyes locked, hands tightly twisted together, he pulled. But instead of coming up, she dug in her heels and let go. She didn’t know how to live outside of the hole and fear gripped her, at least the hole was safe. She knew what to expect here.
“Please come with me.” He asked.
His eyes said something to her that his mouth didn’t, and she knew then she would rather brave the unknown with him than stay here without him. She reached up, took his hand, and jumped as he pulled. He dragged her out onto the grass that surrounded the hole. She breathed deep this free air she’d never known. Everything was well lit and lovely.
Looking around at the purity that surrounded her, she suddenly became very aware of her state. Messy and in disarray she became embarrassed and ashamed. She wanted to crawl back into the hole. She turned, but before she could climb back down, she saw a Man with shovel. He was dark and lovely, even more lovely than the boy who had climbed into her hole. He smiled at her, and she looked him curiously. She did not recall meeting Him, but her heart felt like she’d always known Him. He must have been who filled in the hole when the boy called out to Heaven. He nodded to affirm her thoughts, though she didn’t say them out loud.
With the boy not allowing her to crawl back in the hole, she stood still as the dark and lovely man walked around the hole and near to her. The closer He came, the greater the shame at her appearance, and the lower her head hung. When He arrived at her side, He said something to the boy, and together they stooped down and lifted a giant cistern of water into the air. Dark and Lovely was strong and He didn’t need the boys help, but He wanted to include him and so He did. Together they poured the cistern over the girl’s head and clear blue water flowed out.
It washed off all her mud and made whole the rips in her dress. It wiped clean her tear stained cheeks and closed her long open wounds. All the mess pooled at her feet. With the water pouring over her, water poured out of her. She wept at this moment of wholeness and redemption and love that she didn’t ask for or deserve. When they were finished, she looked up and met both of their eyes. The boy stepped to side, so that she looked Dark and Lovely in His eyes alone. In them, she saw herself, not as she was, but as the girl the boy told her she could be.
“I’m Jesus and I love you.” His heart said to hers.
“I’m Savanna and I love you.” She said back. Not knowing what love really was but knowing that this was it.
“I know who you are.” He said and taking her hand he walked her over to the boy who stood waiting.
He put her hand in the boy’s hand and squeeze them tightly together.
“I sent him to get you from the hole, and My heart in him is what bound him to stay.” He said to her.
“Thank you for going after her and not ignoring the sound.” He said to him.
“Now walk on.” He told them both, and they turned went, away from the hole, onto the well paved path, and with heads turned to Heaven.
Matt, my life is different because you jumped into the hole. I love you.
Happy ten year anniversary.