I wish I could share with you everything that has occurred over the past 10 years that has forever made April 23 a holy day for me. Not only has April 23 been a day of resurrection and the beginning to unknown freedom and joy, but it has been a day that I was completely unaware of being resurrected or that joy and freedom were powerfully moving in me and in my life. In fact, it was months after the second April 23rd incident that I realized two horrible events had occurred on April 23rd and both events had set me free from something that I was completely powerless to escape.
I am not exaggerating when I say that on 3 different April 23rds, I have been pulled out of a grave that I more or less dug for myself. I mean I did have some help and this is where the verse about “the world, flesh and devil” could be correctly applied. The funny thing about being resurrected to new life is that when the grave spits you out, it continues to hold onto the things that helped put you there. Consequently, I have left behind several men and women, dysfunctional relationships, abusive man-made systems and suffocating patriarchal constructs.
At the same time, through this renewal process I have been led to the most beautiful women and men, and to the most empowering and loving relationships. Two particular men, who have been used in my life to help me in unimaginable ways, are also connected to April 23.
I do not believe in coincidences, unless by coincidences you mean God’s providence. Below are two men who I am thankful to be forever interwoven by a divine thread. Henry David Thoreau and John Newton are witnesses of truth that have been used to encourage, inspire, nourish and help me remember God’s crazy stubborn love for me.
Thoreau and his essay connects to many important themes in my life.
Walking, or sometimes referred to as “The Wild”, is a lecture by Henry David Thoreau first delivered at the Concord Lyceum on April 23, 1851.
And the following passage seemed to kick this whole April 23 thing off for me!
Trust in God’s Will, a letter written by John Newton on April 23, 1779.
My dear Friend,
May I not style myself a friend, when I remember you after the interval of several weeks since I saw you, and through a distance of three-score miles? But the truth is, you have been neither absent nor distant from my heart a day. Your idea has travelled with me; you are a kind of familiar, very often before the eye of my mind. This, I hope, may be admitted as a proof of friendship.
I know the Lord loves you, and you know it likewise: every affliction affords you a fresh proof of it. How wise his management in our trials! How wisely adjusted in season, weight, continuance, to answer his gracious purposes in sending them! How unspeakably better to be at his disposal than at your own! So you say; so you think; so you find. You trust in him, and shall not be disappointed. Help me with your prayers, that I may trust him too, and be at length enabled to say without reserve, “What thou wilt, when thou wilt, how thou wilt.” I had rather speak these three sentences from my heart, in my mother-tongue, than be master of all the languages in Europe.
I am yours, &c.