Needle in the Hay

“…sometimes they just get caught in the eye,
you’re pulling him through…”

“I want to do right,” he tells me, “but I don’t do it. I do the wrong things over and over, and I know what I’m doing is the wrong, but I want the wrong more than I want the right.”

His name is “Paul” and this was the first thing he said to me at the outset of our relationship.

Pause, and deep breath.

Desirous to speak to the “universe of discourse” his words have wrought into existence, yet do I also wish to answer with clarity of Truth.

We went on to speak of many things over the span of days between then and now. Though I was briefed on the illicit particulars of his crimes in the documentation provided, he felt compelled to unburden the extent of his transgressions to me. Of course, having no formal training in psychological or behavioral sciences, I could offer little diagnosis or treatment in such…  however, as a redeemed lifelong sinner, I could speak well to the dark inclinations of the human heart.

All the same, the strictures of my title and position count me as under the authority of the state (and, by extension, federal) government. It is stated policy that religion and/or spirituality is not to encroach upon the clinical treatment of the individuals in our care. The unintended irony/hypocrisy in this policy never fails to ruefully amuse me.

Paul hurts. Paul weeps. Paul is greater than the sum of his parts. Luminous beings are we, not merely this base matter. I will not trivialize this young man’s suffering by appealing to unfounded and self-contradictory naturalistic aphorisms of folly in the cloak of wisdom. Mind and body and heart wage an ongoing siege for the Soul of this person. Paul is a reed heavily bruised, a smoldering flame in the winds of addiction and their accompanying demons.

We talk of things like mutually assured destruction and political religious syncretism, as he is a rather scholarly cat, but mostly we talk about a Carpenter from Nazareth…  He that is called Christ, the Living Word, King and LORD.

Jesus makes Paul angry, then He makes Paul feel guilty. Finally…  Jesus breaks Paul’s heart. The Spirit lays him low in a conviction that easily surpasses the one set forth by the civic authorities.

Paul confesses. Paul repents. Paul believes. Paul is baptized. Today…  Paul goes home

Today…  Paul goes home, and out into a world that seeks to devour one such as he.

My prayers shall go with him. Soli Deo Gloria.


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