Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the Silence of the SAMs

Activist and writer Wallace Stegner once said of humankind that  “We are the most dangerous species of life on the planet & every other species, even the earth itself, has cause to fear our power to exterminate. But we are also the only species which, when it chooses to do so, will go to great effort to save what it might destroy.” Stegner also once said that “A teacher enlarges people in all sorts of ways besides just his subject matter.”

Stegner’s causes were environmental. I wonder what his reaction would be if he could know how his words have strengthened my resolve to fight for justice and humane treatment for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

In the eyes of this world, I am a nobody and content to be so. But even a nobody can become a force to be reckoned with when moved upon by God to undertake a burden dear to His heart.   After prayerful consideration, I have decided to share, without apology, the following two letters.  My hope and my goal is to prevent the extermination of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and to ignite the sleeping conscience of my country.

Letter #1

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500
The Honorable George A. O’Toole Jr.
John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way, Suite 2300
Boston, MA 02210
J. Grondolsky, Warden
FMC Devens, PO Box 880, Ayer, MA 01432
Dr. Charles Stanley
In Touch Headquarters
PO Box 7900, Atlanta, GA 30357
Pastor Gary Wilkerson
The Springs Church
1515 Auto Mall Loop
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Pastor Joel Osteen
Joel Osteen Ministries
PO Box 4600, Houston, TX 77210

Esteemed Gentlemen:

My name is Lynn. I have been a citizen of the United States since the year of my birth in 1958. I have been a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ as the way to salvation since the year of my spiritual re-birth in 1974.

I care deeply for the forgotten, the cast-aside, the have-nots of this world. I firmly believe the pen is indeed mightier than the sword and the protest signs being wielded by this generation. My affection for this nation and its past as well as my desire to positively affect its future compels me to write.

I trust in the unshakeable truth of God’s written Word, the Bible. A favorite passage of scripture is 1 Corinthians 1:27 “For God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” A favorite quote is from John Bunyan: ”If my life is fruitless, it doesn’t matter who praises me, and if my life is fruitful, it doesn’t matter who criticizes me.”

I hope you are at least a little curious as to why you have received this letter.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has just been found guilty of the horrific bombing of the Boston Marathon and related crimes. I have grieved these many months since the bombing over every aspect of this tragedy.

Many believers, me included, have tried, with heart-felt, God-inspired compassion to send letters to this incarcerated young man. Our letters were returned. Ongoing enforcement of SAMs continues to prevent the accused from receiving or replying to mail from anyone other than immediate family.

I no longer understand the country that I love. How can a country that was founded to be “one nation, under God” from whose shores countless missionaries go out “into all the world to preach the gospel” continue to refuse this inmate exposure to the saving, transformative message of Jesus Christ through letters from sincere believers?

I am not fooled by the argument that it is in the name of national security. Existing protocol already provides for incoming and outgoing inmate mail to be screened.

When did it become a threat to our national security to send letters of hope, encouragement and comfort to an inmate during what is surely the darkest time of their life? Why is it acceptable to isolate an inmate under restrictions that all but guarantee the only voice they will hear, the only ideology they will continue to embrace, remains that which is being largely, whether or not correctly, attributed to the crime for which they are accused?

Or am I making this request to correspond with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev too simple?

If there is another reason for the continued denial of correspondence with him, I can only conclude that it is of a punitive nature. I want to believe we are better than that.

On January 27, 2014, when the decision of whether or not to seek the death penalty in this case had yet to be made, I sent the following email to Attorney General Eric Holder:

“Dear Mr. Holder,

As you consider the appropriateness of the death penalty in the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, I must weigh in on the side of mercy. I was encouraged to read that you are personally against the death penalty. As a born-again Christian, I too am personally against it. There is a living and active God who is monitoring closely the events surrounding this case and He takes specific interest, and is surely carrying out a divine plan in the life of the accused, though Dzhokhar is likely not aware that this is occurring as of yet.

This past week I was led of the Lord to re-watch the movie Ben- Hur. I strongly recommend that you do so before making your final decision regarding Dzhokhar and the death penalty.

“I know there is a law in life that blood gets more blood as dog begets dog. Death generates death as the vulture breeds the vulture. But the voice I heard today on the hill said ‘Love your enemy. Do good to those who despitefully use you.’ ”

These words are as relevant in an email to you, Mr. Holder, as Attorney General tasked with deciding whether or not to recommend the death penalty for Dzhokhar, as they were when spoken in the movie by a faith-filled wife to a bitter and grieving Judah Ben-Hur following the tragedy suffered on him, his mother and sister by Messala, a boyhood friend turned deadly enemy.

The more I watched the movie, the more amazed I became by the obvious parallels: at so many points, the name Tamerlan Tsarnaev could have been substituted for the name Messala:

“It was Judah Ben-Hur I loved. What has become of him? You seem to be now the very thing you set out to destroy, giving evil for evil. Hatred is turning you to stone. It’s as though you have become Messala.”

For anyone who believes that putting Dzhokhar to death is justified, it is as if they have become Messala (Tamerlan), giving evil for evil.

When Pontius Pilate says to an angry, vengeful Judah Ben-Hur “Messala is dead. What he did has had its way with him” I nearly felt a wave of shock go through me: Tamerlan is dead and yet there are those who want to destroy a young man who I believe was bullied and forced to go along with a plan he would never have embraced or entertained on his own.

If you choose the path of hate, your decision this week will be a relatively easy one. But I ask once more, that you consider this final bit of dialogue from the movie. This time Judah Ben-Hur is speaking: “Almost the moment he (Jesus) died, I heard him say ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And I felt his voice take the sword out of my hand.

If I were standing before you, Mr. Holder, I would tearfully implore you: take the sword that some in this country want to wield against Dzhokhar, and lay it down. Do not seek the death penalty against this young man.

I am praying for you.

I understand why so many want to see Dzhokhar Tsarnaev dead. In a letter I attempted to send to the accused, I said this: “I know many would say it is easy for me to extend the olive branch to you because I and my loved ones were not harmed by the bombing at the Boston Marathon. I hope if I or a loved one is ever affected by an act of violence, that I will have the strength of heart to reject hate and the desire for vengeance.”

In the horrific events surrounding the bombing of the Boston Marathon, this is indeed a tall order. I am well-aware of that.

I find deep and lasting encouragement and spiritual strength from sermons given by great men of God such as Dr. Charles Stanley, Joel Osteen and Gary Wilkerson, who are all very different in their manner of preaching.

I want to share something Pastor Gary Wilkerson wrote in a sermon newsletter I received by mail many months ago:

“During the past year, my heart was especially stirred to seek a greater manifest presence of the Holy Spirit in my life and in my work. I was not disappointed. God moved mightily in The Springs Church and in World Challenge.

My prayer for you is that the coming year will be one filled with God’s manifest presence. His presence brings power, healing, wisdom and supernatural abilities to forge ahead into the great things God is calling you into.

When Jesus says, ‘Be merciful to others, even as God has been merciful to you,’ the word ‘mercy’ is from the Greek word for ‘misery’ (misericordia). The full meaning is ‘to take to heart the misery of another with the intention of giving him comfort and relief.’ Being merciful means taking on another person’s hurt. That includes those who have hurt us.

This is just what our Lord Jesus does for us. How many times has Jesus taken on your misery caused by sin, giving you comfort and forgiveness in return? How often has he wiped away your tears and spoken kindly to you through his Word? He does this for us time after time.

I ask you: How can we not find it in our hearts to take on the misery and pain of someone we know is hurting? The word ‘compassion’ means ‘being affected, touched by the misery of others and determining to do something about it.’

If you’ve had a revelation of the Lord’s glory, you know what it means to taste his love, mercy and forgiveness. And you are being changed by that glory. Now, Jesus says, ‘Take that glory and shine it on the world around you.’ It is time to act in love, as your Lord has continually done for you.”

While many are (rightly and understandably) extending compassion toward the victims, I ask only for an avenue to extend compassion to the accused, that he may be led to repentance one day. If we truly want to fight a war on terror, let us remember that the Bible says “Be ye not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

If nothing more comes of this letter other than the fact that many more believers begin to pray and intercede for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as the result of these pastors sharing it with their congregations, I will not feel that my efforts were in vain. In His time, God will make a way.

Many of the writings of the apostle Paul found in the Bible were written during his time in a prison cell. I pray that you will never again be able to hear or read them without remembering Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who waits alone, searching the Quran for comfort, in his.

May God bless you and move your heart to respond as He so desires.

Sincerely,

Lynn

Letter #2

Dear Jahar,

This is my first time writing a letter to someone in jail. You and I have never met. My name is Lynn. I am of Swiss, French & German descent. My people came to this country from Zurich, Switzerland and Alsace Loraine. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and now live in the Orlando, Florida area. I have never been to the Boston Marathon and do not personally know anyone who was witness to or affected by the bombing.

I was born and raised Catholic. I broke with that religion freshman year of high school, much to my family’s shock and dismay. I love God with all my heart. I would now be called a born-again, spirit-filled Christian if one were to label me. I hate labels.

I am deep-thinking and passionate. My natural tendency is to see everything as black and white, right or wrong, and I have to work hard to accept the abundant gray in this world. I am bold, which is also to my family’s dismay. I am willing and able to stand alone for what I believe. I do not require that people like, accept, include or agree with me.

Yet I am an outgoing, fun-loving, warm-natured people-person and others are drawn to me. If it’s outrageous and exciting I am usually up for it. I love parties, staying up all night, 2am meteor showers, bonfires on the beach, exploring an abandoned farmhouse, watching a thunderstorm. I love cats and live alone with four of them.

I love to laugh and have a good time. I’m an artistic, bohemian, creative hippie-type. My days of smoking weed are long over but I have fond memories. I would still consider it a huge blast if on some night I could gather a band of like-minded idiots to toilet-paper someone’s house. I know that sounds crazy but I never got to do that in high school and I feel cheated… (smile)

I gravitate to those like me whose depth is balanced with a sense of humor. I am most comfortable with those who have really failed and seen God bring them back from a place of total hopelessness and destruction. I find people who have always done the right thing a little boring. I admire and sometimes even envy them but they still seem a bit one-dimensional to me.

I think people are comfortable around me because I am real. People say they are drawn by my transparency and honesty, my willingness to allow others to see when I am broken and bewildered. When I am afraid, when I fail, when I am wrong, I admit it.

I’m a “fixer” and what I really hate is when I can do nothing to fix a mess I am in. I hate having to wait on, depend on God. I know that sounds awful but God already knows I feel that way so why hide it. I hate seeing how weak I can be, how selfish, how lazy, how impatient. I like to think I am better than that.

I have weathered many storms in my life and those storms have taught me, among other things, compassion. It is with compassion that I reach out to you now.

I am trying to live my life by these two quotes:

“Follow not where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

And:

“BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD”

While some are saying of you “lock him up and throw away the key” (or worse), I wish to befriend and comfort you. I believe you have worth and value, Jahar. I do not believe you are a terrorist.

index

I do not support or defend, on any level, the bombing of the Boston Marathon or the violence that followed. I refuse to ever become like those whose actions I claim to hate by imitating their actions.

Jahar, ever since that day, I have been unable to get you and what I imagine you are experiencing and facing out of my mind for very long. This is odd for me, as I normally would feel tremendous compassion for the victims (which I do) and nothing but outrage and disgust for whoever caused such suffering. As I said before, I cannot and do not support or defend acts of violence upon others, whether they are standing in a crowd watching a race, or lying alone and unarmed, bleeding in a boat. I believe the violence surrounding your capture was as shameful and indefensible as that which was inflicted on the spectators at the marathon.

I don’t know if you are aware of the Rolling Stone magazine article about you or if you have read it. If that article is factual, it only deepens my compassion for you.

People are a lot like sponges. Each of us can absorb a certain amount of pain. We can even hold in a certain amount of anger over that pain and still go about life as if everything is okay. But once the sponge becomes saturated, it can hold no more: the next wave of pain, the next bitter injustice that hits your life and increases the anger has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is going to be outward.

I have to wonder how many people who commit acts of violence are just sponges who became saturated by pain, injustice and what was for them unbearable suffering and saw or sought no other outlet to vent their anger and frustration. I can’t support making that decision, but I can certainly understand the path that precedes it.

If such a person truly regrets their violent actions and wishes with everything in them that they could go back and make a different choice, then I believe they are not a terrorist, but a hurting, suffering soul who made a very bad decision at a very bad time in their life.

I know many would say it is easy for me to extend the olive branch to you because I and my loved ones were not harmed by the bombing at the Boston Marathon. I hope if I or a loved one is ever affected by an act of violence, that I will have the strength of heart to reject hate and the desire for vengeance. America claims to be a Godly nation when in truth, we have become as vengeful as the nations we fight and fear. I choose instead to be the change I wish to see in the world.

“NOTHING IS WASTED” Song by: Jason Gray

THE HURT THAT BROKE YOUR HEART
AND LEFT YOU TREMBLING IN THE DARK
FEELING LOST AND ALONE
WOULD TELL YOU HOPE’S A LIE
BUT WHAT IF EVERY TEAR YOU CRY
WILL SEED THE GROUND WHERE JOY WILL GROW?

NOTHING IS WASTED, NOTHING IS WASTED
IN THE HANDS OF OUR REDEEMER,
NOTHING IS WASTED

THE WOUND THAT LEAVES A SCAR
BECOMES A PART OF WHO WE ARE
BUT THIS IS NOT THE STORY’S END
THE PAIN THAT CLOSED THE CHAPTER
SETS THE STAGE FOR WHAT COMES AFTER
WHEN ALL WE’VE LOST WILL BE FOUND AGAIN

NOTHING IS WASTED, NOTHING IS WASTED
IN THE HANDS OF OUR REDEEMER,
NOTHING IS WASTED

WHEN HOPE IS MORE THAN YOU CAN BEAR
AND IT’S TOO HARD TO BELIEVE IT COULD BE TRUE
AND YOUR STRENGTH FAILS YOU HALFWAY THERE
YOU CAN LEAN ON ME AND I’LL BELIEVE FOR YOU
AND IN TIME, YOU WILL BELIEVE IT TOO:
NOTHING IS WASTED, NOTHING IS WASTED
SOMETIMES WE ARE WAITING
IN SORROW WE HAVE TASTED
BUT JOY WILL REPLACE IT
IN THE HANDS OF OUR REDEEMER,
NOTHING IS WASTED

Is it possible that “the hurt that broke your heart” is a pain you have carried for most of your life, hidden from all but you and God?

I believe your parents love you, Jahar, but their personal issues and problems are bigger than they are. And those things may have kept them from loving you the way every child needs and deserves to be loved. I understand growing up feeling forgotten and overlooked. I understand growing up in the shadow of an older sibling for whom everything good is expected and every talent is praised and nurtured while you are just kind of there.

I know how it feels and how it affects a person because I lived it. I believe it is one of the main reasons God chose to open my eyes and fill me with compassion for you. It is the reason I cannot hate or judge you. It is the reason I cannot forget about you. It is the reason I must try again to get this letter to you and pray that you will want to read it and maybe even be allowed to respond.

“Nothing Is Wasted” gives me a lot of comfort and I can only hope that just reading the lyric affords you some measure of the same. I imagine God has been singing this over you for a long time, waiting patiently until the day when your eyes will be opened, your heart softened and He becomes real and alive in you in a way that is dynamic and life-changing.

Have you ever seen the movie “The Natural” starring Robert Redford and Glenn Close? Roy Hobbs, the character played by Robert Redford, makes a decision that permanently alters the course of his life, almost derails his dreams and nearly kills him. In the midst of getting his life back and finally beginning to realize his dreams, a long-hidden physical consequence of that past mistake emerges on the eve of the pinnacle of his success.

Glenn Close plays his first love prior to the mistake that changed his life. She visits him in the hospital and tells him something I have never forgotten. Her words (in red) went deep into my heart when I first saw the movie. I think about them often these days in regard to you.

Roy: Doc says I have to quit baseball.
Iris: Why?
Roy: Some mistakes I guess we never stop paying for.
LONG PAUSE
Roy: I didn’t even know her…
Iris: The girl on the train. You liked her didn’t you…
Roy: Yes. But I didn’t see it coming. (She shot Roy)
Iris: How could you possibly know she’d hurt you? How could anyone?
Roy: I didn’t see it coming.
Iris: Do you think you should’ve?
Roy: Yes! But I didn’t. Why didn’t I?
Iris: You were so young…
Roy: Things sure turned out different.
Iris: In what way?
Roy: Different. For 16 years I’ve lived with the idea that I could be, could have been the best in the game.
Iris: You’re so good now!
Roy: I could have been better! I could have broke every record in the book!
Iris: And then?
Roy: And then? And then when I walked down the street, people would have looked and they would have said “There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game.”
LONG SILENCE BETWEEN THEM
Iris: You know, I believe we have two lives.
Roy: How… what do you mean?
Iris: The life we learn with… and the life we live with after that.

Jahar, hope in God. He is a God of mercy, of second chances. The life you are now living in the confines of a jail cell may still be part of the life you are learning with. I suspect fear will try to tell you this present solitary life is “the life you live with after that” but remember the song lyric:
THE WOUND THAT LEAVES A SCAR
BECOMES A PART OF WHO WE ARE
BUT THIS IS NOT THE STORY’S END
THE PAIN THAT CLOSED THE CHAPTER
SETS THE STAGE FOR WHAT COMES AFTER
WHEN ALL WE’VE LOST WILL BE FOUND AGAIN

I know God kept you alive through the shootout with the police, while you lay bleeding in the boat and throughout the trauma of the capture. He has and is preserving you alive and restoring you for a reason and I don’t believe it is just to suffer and be alone until the day you die.

God has a purpose for your life that you have yet to find and it is a purpose for good, not evil. You may have to dig pretty deep inside yourself to believe this, and I speak from personal experience when I say that if you dig to the depths of your being and there is no faith left, God Himself will hold you up and pour His love and presence into you until you can believe again.

I pray that God will become more than someone you pray to five times a day, more than a set of rules to follow; that he will reveal himself to you as Father, Savior, Friend, Protector, Comforter, whatever you need him to be in this dark time of confinement. I pray for his presence to fill your cell and invade your heart.

When I said earlier that I broke with the Catholic religion against my families’ wishes in high school, it wasn’t because I walked away from God. Rather it was because I met Him for the first time and found that He is not some mysterious force floating around in the universe, nor is He a cold and angry parent who is satisfied with nothing less than perfection. As a devout, practicing Catholic, I had wrongly believed both of these false concepts about God. My relationship with God, if you can call it a relationship at all, was based on my performance.

Then at the start of freshman year of high school I became friends with a girl named Vicki. One day I asked her what she did for fun on weekends. She told me on Friday nights she attends a prayer meeting. I didn’t know what that was and asked her to explain. When she did, it sounded OK to me, but it wasn’t like the heavens opened and the angels sang, if you know what I mean… She wasn’t trying to convert me; she was just answering my question. It was all very casual.

Then she added it just seemed right to her to give a couple hours back to God on Friday nights to thank Him for all He gives her during the week. And that is when it happened… I remember it felt like something exploded inside me. I grabbed her arm and said “Vicki! That’s what I need! I need the Lord!” She must have thought I was crazy.

From what little Vicki said, how did I figure out I needed a personal relationship with Jesus to fill the emptiness I’d assumed would always haunt me? I think it has to do with the fact that God knows all about us. He knows what we think, feel, what we are going to say before we say it… and He knows what it will take to open our heart to let Him in. I know He sees our every wound; He is there when each hurtful thing is done to us or said to us.

Thinking back on it now, I believe when God is calling someone, when He wants to initiate a relationship with someone, He orchestrates events to lead the person to Him. When it’s time, it just doesn’t take much. At least that’s how it was for me. One minute I was alone and empty and the next there was a very real, loving presence, filling me from the inside. It took time to fully understand and appreciate what I had been given, but I knew in that instant, something amazing had happened to me.

I grew up in an emotional wasteland where I was told in no uncertain terms that everything bad that happened to me was my fault. I dried my own tears and never knew what it was like to be held and comforted when I was hurt or afraid. I learned very early in life to create a fantasy world in my head where I could escape whenever I chose. This kept me from feeling the emotional pain that constantly threatened to overwhelm me.

I used to wish I’d been born into a loving, supportive family. I know now that God does not make mistakes. Since it’s not up to us where and with whom we start out in life, we have to trust God that He sees the big picture and can fix, use, or redeem anything – and heal us in the process.

You are not a throw-away, Jahar. You were meant to BE in this world. There are people who you matter a great deal to. I am one of them, though we have never met. I can’t stand to think of you in solitary confinement all this time. The anguish I feel over that is unbearable. God must have made you incredibly strong. I pray that He takes over with His strength when your suffering becomes too much to bear.

If Jesus wasn’t real to me, if He wasn’t alive and living inside me, I wouldn’t have survived my own fiery ordeal that was to forge who I became:

I was living in the luxury apartment of my dreams. I had a good-paying job that I was good at. When I began to rise in the company, I made enemies. Sometimes people are jealous of you for what you have, other times for what you are. And jealousy makes people do terrible things…

I became the target of severe workplace bullying for almost seven years. I was so caught up in the fight that I couldn’t see what it was doing to me and I lost sight of how much my daughter needed me. She was going through her own struggles in high school and could certainly have benefited from having a mom who was not consumed with and distracted by the extreme daily circumstances in which I found myself.

When I finally lost my job over a very serious lie my boss told about me, I had no savings and so lost the roof over our heads as well. Those four little words “I had no savings” are another story. You see, I’ve tried to fill my inner emptiness with things. When I had money, I spent it. When I wanted something, I bought it. This fact continues to be a source of on-going torment, especially because my family is more than happy to keep pointing it out to me. Knowing I was part master of my own disaster does not comfort me. But honesty is a necessary part of healing…

My daughter moved out in anger at what I had caused. My pets would have been euthanized if my sister, who lives out of state, had not stepped up at the eleventh hour and paid to board them at a vet while I was homeless for four months. I lived in a number of places I never imagined I’d set foot in, much less lay down to sleep in at night, one of them being my ’96 Honda Accord.

My family, the very ones who caused me so much pain during childhood, stepped up and helped me when government assistance was delayed and/or inadequate. Without them, I hate to think where I would have ended up.

My daughter, my only child, who I would go through fire for, is only three years older than you. I failed her while I focused on the battle against me, as surely as I believe your parents failed you while they battled each other and whatever else was coming against them. I hope that in their quieter moments your parents are able to face how their choices hurt you and contributed to your residence in a jail cell.

Jahar, life sometimes presents us with impossible choices, as parents and as children. I could go on and on about the shit that my life became but it would serve no purpose. It is what it is. That saying “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it” is true. And I have spent more than enough time responding in unhelpful ways to the 10% of crap that made up my life.

I will never forget the day the blinders came off for me and I saw, really saw, my part in some of the bad choices my daughter ended up making. Her pain broke my heart and recognizing I caused so much of it nearly killed me. But it was absolutely necessary that I saw it. I spent three days in pain so raw it felt like the emotional equivalent of having your skin ripped off without the benefit of anesthesia.

My pain was made worse by the realization that for some things there are no second chances. She will never be my little girl again. She will never call me at work and ask when I am coming home. She will never ask me to take her to a pet store to look at the animals. She rarely has time to visit me these days. She is too busy with her own life… and she is still too angry and untrusting to let me see the sweet girl she really is inside. Most times she is tough and independent and doesn’t need anyone. Then, once in awhile, she lets her guard down and I get to spend a little time being her mom like I was in the days before it all fell apart for us.

I was finally able to forgive my family. I have asked my daughter to forgive me. All I can do now is wait and pray while trying my best to live in such a way that she may one day see I am again worthy of her trust.

I have known nights and days so painful, so full of fear, closed in with nothing but my anger, regret and self-blame for company. I know the helplessness that comes, the injustice of having to let a lie stand with no way to challenge it. I know what it feels like to be in so much pain you can’t even cry anymore. I know how you just go numb. I know how it feels to fight as hard as you can and be as brave as you know how to be and have it work for awhile until you come to the end of yourself.

Some things are so big, so beyond us, so wrong and so painful that even God doesn’t seem like He’s enough to get you thru it. I know how you sometimes have to live minute by minute, because day by day is too overwhelming to think about when each day is painful beyond words.

Thinking about all I’ve been through and how bad it was always leads to thinking about you and I can only imagine the hell you are going through in solitary confinement for this long. I wish I could see you, spend some time with you, to lessen the loneliness and give you hope.

It’s no surprise that I eventually developed clinical depression. I have faced down the desire to commit suicide more than once. I have finally and fully decided that for me, suicide will never be an answer. I am a very strong, person inside, one of the strongest I know, if I may say that without sounding conceited. God has built a core of pure steel into me. The events of the last 9 years have taught me this: even steel has its melting point. When my meltdowns happen, God is there.

It has been frightening to see myself go from a strong survivor type capable of handling whatever life threw at me to someone who can be totally broken. My biggest fear remains that in some way I will always be broken, that I will never again be the person I was. Even though I have suffered, it all pales when I think about what you have gone through and what you are facing now.

The battle that began the downward spiral to my present circumstances has changed me. It is hard to accept defeat. It is hard to let a lie be true. It is hard to be silent when you want to defend yourself. It is hard to let people believe what they want to believe no matter what evidence is presented to them. It is hard to let people who should know you better think that you are weak. It is hard when people forget you at your lowest moment. I have experienced all of that and more. It is hard when your own family thinks it is mostly your own fault.

There is a reason for all we go through. There is a reason I have had to become so strong. Because of all I have been through and how it has shaped me, I am unafraid to stand up in support of you and advocate on your behalf. I accept any backlash or invasion of my privacy that may result.

I believe you once tweeted that “evil triumphs when good men do nothing.” That sounds like a cry for help to me, not a warning of evil to come, as some have suggested. I pray that others like me will not sit silent while you are condemned for what I believe are mainly the actions of your brother.

So what do you think, Jahar? Can you find it in you to believe God for the impossible? Can you own and repent of any part you played in the failures of your past and ask God to forgive you for any wrong choices you may have made? Can you then trust Him with your life? Can you ask Him to do what He alone can do – set you free, starting on the inside with your heart, mind, soul and spirit?

Can you trust Him completely even if He shows you that He has a purpose in allowing your physical being to remain incarcerated? How it hurts to type those words. I don’t want that for you! But God is sovereign and knows what is best for us…

I know how impossible and hopeless everything must seem now. I will close with these final thoughts:

When God told Noah to build the ark, it was not yet raining. I’m sure people laughed at Noah and wrote him off as a lunatic. But if you believe the story of The Great Flood to be true, as I obviously do, you know no one was laughing as the water rose over their heads.

index

Do you remember Secretariat, the legendary racehorse who won the Triple Crown in unimaginable fashion? The story-within-the-story, which is what I find so compelling, is that of the horse’s owner. What Penny Tweedy, a housewife, experienced and endured to make it possible for Secretariat to compete for the Triple Crown was a lesson for anyone trying to defy the odds.

Upon her father’s death and before the first race of the Triple Crown, Penny needed six million dollars to pay the estate taxes or she would have lost everything. The deadline to pay the taxes was fast approaching. The richest man in the world at that time offered to buy Secretariat from her for seven million dollars. He increased his offer to eight million when she refused. When she said no to eight million he said “You’re that stubborn…” to which she replied “I’m that right!” I feel that way about you…

The singer Mandisa recorded a song called “Born for This.”

A portion of the lyric:

THERE’S A TIME TO HOLD YOUR TONGUE
TIME TO KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN
THERE’S A TIME BUT IT’S NOT NOW
SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA GO UNINVITED
SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA SPEAK
WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE THE FLOOR
SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA MOVE
WHEN EVERYBODY ELSE SAYS YOU SHOULD STAY
NO WAY – NO, NOT TODAY!
YOU GOTTA ASK IF YOU WANT AN ANSWER
SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA STAND
APART FROM THE CROWD
LONG BEFORE YOUR HEART COULD RUN THE RISK
YOU WERE BORN FOR THIS
YOU WERE BORN FOR THIS

I will continue to do all I can to get this letter to you, Jahar, and to get permission to correspond with you. Please know that I will not forget you. I will always pray for you and continue to hope to one day hear from you. No matter how long that privilege may take to be granted, never hesitate to contact me. You will always be important to me. I will continue to follow your case closely and pray for a good and miraculous outcome.

God is not done doing great things in this world, Jahar. You might just be another of His miracles about to happen.

Sincerely,
Lynn
When The Stars Fall From The Sky – Song by Jason Gray

When the stars fall from your sky
And you’re lost inside the darkest night
And waiting’s all that’s left to do
For the dawn to break inside of you

Chorus:
Take it to the healing hands
Take it to the One who built the mountains
Take it to the One who stirs the ocean tides
Take it to your Father’s heart
Broken by the burdens that you carry
He will lead you to the other side

When you’re tired of holding on to hope
But scared to death of letting go
When there’s no burden like the truth
And faith hurts like an open wound

(Chorus)

Well time and time again I’ve traveled
Down this winding road
Surprised at every turn to find I am not alone

(Chorus)

When you think your well’s run dry and you send it down For one last try and you raise it up to find it full,
The overflow’s so beautiful…

Published by: iwasleah10years

Winston Churchill said no crime is so great as daring to excel. I am ready to take that dare. An unexpected and somewhat unexplainable compassion for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has drawn me out of my comfort zone.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s