Three months before Lewis was born I went to the bar with some friends. At the end of an awesome night I walked a mile and a half through the city back to my apartment, my heart and mind racing the entire time. Even though I didn’t get home until after 2am I had an overwhelming desire to tell Lewis about what had happened. So, I sat at my kitchen table and wrote my very first letter to Lewis.
Unlike most of my letters to Lewis this one wanders through a few thoughts with no real segue. This one also isn’t edited down to make it as short as possible. This is, however, my favorite letter to Lewis because it was the first.
I kind of thought I’d always keep this one for myself. But, today is my birthday. And hobbits celebrate their birthdays by giving presents to all of their friends. I promise, this is the most personal present I could ever give you.
March 22nd, 2013
When you use the bathroom in a stall at a gay bar always look at the ceiling. What you will see on the floor will warp you. When the day comes where you use this advice I hope, I pray, you’re there because of a man, a friend, like Jeff Hacker.
Jeff has been a friend to your mom and I for almost seven years. He throws the best parties in the history of throwing parties for one reason and one reason only: because he loves people. He loves all people. More than I do.
He’s the reason I was at the bar until 1:20am. You’ll meet guys like Jeff who will make you believe Atheists are better people than Christians. Most of the ones I know are. I’m not sure what to tell you about this because sometimes I don’t know how to respond.
Here’s what I think, right or wrong. People are broken. All of us. People need an escape, a place to be themselves, a place to feel safe and accepted. This is what Jeff gives them.
Sometimes you need to have a few too many drinks, feel confident, and dance. There is freedom in all of these. But something is missing: What do you do when the lights come up and it’s time to go home? What do you do the next day when you find yourself still broken?
And you will.
The one thing missing, the ultimate freedom, is Jesus. Jesus doesn’t medicate or numb your pain or make you forget you’re broken. He shows you that you are far more broken than you ever imagined. He forces you to be honest, confront your brokenness, and admit to it.
But…he never leaves you that way.
He loves you: gay, straight, married, divorced, drunk, sober, whatever. He loves you exactly the way you are, but he loves you too much to let you stay that way.
What bars and dance parties are missing is Jesus. Not bibles, not tracts, not sermons, not all of the nonsense people attach to Christianity.
Just Jesus. The person who was broken for you so that you could feel and be whole.
So dance, drink and party! But remember: these things will bring you joy, but they fail in comparison to the joy, the life, and the freedom of Christ because He is everlasting.
I heard a drag queen tell someone tonight, “Have fun tonight because the rest sucks. You’re 21? It’s all down hill once you turn 20.”
I disagree. My twenties have been incredible. I met your mom and Jeff Hacker in my twenties. I learned to risk in my twenties. I learned to fail in my twenties. While I still have questions, I learned why I love God, why the world makes more sense with Him than without Him, why He’s more satisfying than any other fix, all in my twenties.
My twenties are over this year. They’ve been great. But I can’t wait for my thirties. I’m going to be published in my thirties. I will cross the mark of ten years of marriage in my thirties. But best of all, I will have the honor of getting to know you in my thirties.
I may be home and done drinking for the night, but still: cheers to you, Lewis – my son, my joy, my friend.
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