So many grab a hold of this word to write about their desires and wishes for the new year, but I take it as an opportunity to communicate my love of writing and books that convey hard truths in live, yet always focus back on the Truth and Love to redeem fallen situations. The author I most admire and respect in his works for such feats is Charles Martin, little known by anyone I have talked to, he remains in my view, one of the top three Christian Fiction authors I have read. He never fails to bring to light what truly matters—Love. While his narratives are wrought with pain, hopelessness, resignation, and raw agony, he continuously restores the souls of his broken characters to rely upon the One who delivers us from the events this world thrusts upon us that leave us speechless for lack of comprehension.
I am reminded of my own admiration for such hope as in the characters he writes about by reading a Christmas present: The Mountain Between Us. Hovering around three hundred pages, I stuck my nose in this book and emerged a little over a full twenty-four hours later. His writing styles flows easily into my eyes and generates a vivid image within my mind, as though I am walking along with the characters through their every step in the book. Instantly, the characters attach themselves to my heartstrings and I find myself traveling upon the rollercoaster, or mountains, they experience. Within minutes I disappear to the world, engulfed in a story narrated so poignantly that throughout it, I discover laughter bubbling from my lips and tears snaking down my cheeks. Perhaps he concludes his books unrealistically, granting the reader his/her desires for the characters. Some may condemn his books as impossible and too happy, yet I find that within these endings, something stirs deep within me, something that cannot properly be expressed with mere words.
Through his descriptions of deep, romantic love between a man and a woman, I believe he has either glimpsed such beauty, or experienced/experiences it, allowing vision into what cannot be comprehended by those who have not experienced the specific occurrence. His profound conviction that such love portrayed by fairytales and found in the wildest dreams truly exists infects me. I find I cannot escape the hope that such love may find me in time or that I would hear more whisperings of it in daily life. Through one of his characters, he illustrates a concept I have struggled with since middle school—at what point do we settle for less? His character pours out her thoughts, uttering the cry I believe is in most, if not all, of us. “I’ve been hurt, I imagine we all have, and I think somewhere in that pain we convince ourselves that if we don’t open up and love again, we don’t have to hurt again. Take the Mercedes and the two-carat ring, the house in Buckhead, and call it a day, just give him what he wants when he wants it and everybody’s happy. Right?” she continues later to say she dares “anyone to show [her] a true love that’s worth dying for. More than that, one that’s worth living for.” So often I believe we are caught up in the ideal of self-sacrifice being the ultimate display of love, and is it not? But what of living for a cause? Sacrificing all that we are here for something or someone? As someone who deals with depression, suicide has crossed my mind more often than I would like to admit. In dwelling on death, I was willing to die for my pain, sacrificing not myself, but those I love for my own selfishness. How can we even utter a proposal that dying for a cause is more sacrificial than living for a cause, when some of us are more willing to die than live? I do not say this as a blanket statement over all of us, as most prefer to live and fear death, causing willingness to die for a cause to become more sacrificial than living for it. Yet I am left wondering, how many of us truly live for a cause? Do we truly and deeply live for a cause, or do we offer it mere lip-service, bragging about our own convictions and dedications? To sincerely live for a cause, we must be willing to abandon all that we have for the sake of this cause, something I discover far less often that I would like to. Instead we settle, accepting what we believe is our fate or destiny, too weary to hope for anything more than what we think we deserve. But we neglect the truth that if we live in Christ, truly, God gives us life—life to the fullest!
“O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city–the city that bears your name–lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy.” ~ Daniel 9:18