“Jesus, you were there the whole time, weren’t you? All through the careless, thoughtless carnage of my youthful disbelief. You were at all the parties, all the ridiculous choices, all the attempts to feel something loud enough to make the questions go away. You would have been just and right to constantly never enjoy me for a moment of those nearly three decades. After all, nearly everything I did was sin, the very fiber of being that put you on the cross. But you chose to enjoy me even then. You laughed at my jokes. You winced and shrugged your shoulders at the angels, saying, ‘I know. I know. It’s all so wrong. But that was funny. You have to admit that.’ You were somehow able to overlay it with how you see me today. I imagine you shaking your head, thinking, ‘He’s a mess. But few can make me laugh like my boy John! It’s all there. Eventually, it will be used for good. He doesn’t know it yet. But that smile will not change. That passion, that intensity…I can use every bit of that. Oh, hey everyone, watch this scene. He’s on his way to Las Vegas, driving that 60 VW convertible with the fishing rod propping up the engine hood to keep it from vapor locking. It’s near sunset. He’s rolling a joint, while steering with his knees. Forgetting he’s in an open air car, he’ll lose three of those cigarettes out the top before he catches on and pulls over at a rest stop. I know I should be sad for the boy. But I am going to redeem it. He’ll use this very moment in a sermon illustration one day.”