I went to high school with a guy named R. Suess. He graduated in '64, a year ahead of me; but I think he is the same age I am. R. Suess went on to become a Huey pilot in Viet Nam. Now flies helicopters in the Vegas area. Tourists in and out of the Grand Canyon, that kind of thing.
But J Sus. . . ? Never knew him. I guess we went to different high schools together. But he died for me according to the mailbox. Well, maybe. Or maybe not? The mailbox is kinda impersonal, you know? I'll bet you say that to all the girls. Or guys.
Did J Sus die for the owner of the maibox? Am I supposed to be relieved and overjoyed by the announcement? Or does it simply add another dump truck's worth of weight to the load of guilt that I'm already carrying around?
I knew a family once that probably typified more than we'd care to admit. Pretty young Mom. Beautiful daughters. And a Dad who dressed in black, drove a flat black car and had wild hair and a scowl as menacing as Hurricane Katrina every time I ever saw him. One of the girls once said she was 15 before she found out her name wasn't "a..hole".
If you're carrying that kind of burden around with you, does it help to know that J Sus, whoever he/she is or was, went to the gallows for you?
"OK, so I'm responsible for that too! My Dad always made me feel responsible for all the crap in life. Might as well end it all right here... Now." The teenage girl I described could think such thoughts. If she could, others might.
There are days when a person might wish that nobody had died for them, that they had died themselves.
We have to be careful with our words because we don't know the heart and mind of the person who might read or hear them. That's why we have to get to know, really know, people before any deeply personal or judgmental words leave our lips. Or decorate our mailboxes, car bumpers, T-shirts or hallelujah halls.
If Jesus is not good news, maybe we'd better seriously examine the messenger before we give up on the message.
J Sus might be glad to hear that, too. But then, he died, I guess. Is that the end of the story?
If so, then maybe it shoulda been J Crew.