This is a personal letter to you and the many others like us who do not seem to fit into this frenetic society. For the sake of self-preservation, we have learned to put up a front; but the real “we” is mostly in hiding, like a terrified and hunted deer in the forest. We are afraid to show ourselves as we really are for fear of being misunderstood or rejected. At times the strain of pretending has been so great that we have become physically and emotionally exhausted or ill. At times we seem to walk along the edge of an abyss, wondering if we can take the strain of another day or even hour. “If there were only one person we could trust, one person we could talk to who understands our situation, our loneliness, our guilt and anguish,” we say to ourselves. Maybe I am or can become that person for you. Maybe you are or can become that person for me.
God did not intend for us to live like a bird in a cage or a hunted deer in the forest. He does not want us to be the lone survivor in a world of our own making or imagination. He desires for us to have fellowship with Him and with one another. I realize that it takes courage to open up and let others look into our fragmented and unique world—we may even get hurt when we do. But no doctor can help us unless we voluntarily take down our physical, emotional and mental barriers.
Let me help you take down these barriers, by taking mine down first. We do not have to take this step all at once; and no one should do so indiscriminately. I need you and you also need me. You are a unique gift for someone because no one else in the world has had the training, experience, and background that are yours. No one else has a heart that responds with the same compassion and passion to the situations that touch your heart.
God does not create misfits. It is we who have allowed others, including Satan, to label us misfits. Refuse to wear those labels. Peel them off and throw them into the trash. If you have adopted the ways of the world and have soiled your beautiful soul, remember that God’s mercy is greater than his judgment. That’s why He sent His Son Jesus. That’s why I had to write this book.
It has taken me a long time to get rid of the debilitating labels the world pinned on my lapel. It is still a battle, for this world wants us to conform to its vague and shifting definition of “normal.” But how can our souls, our unique personalities survive if we permit ourselves to be molded by the peer pressures of this world? We have all tried to conform, but have never measured up. We have never been tall enough, young enough, old enough, slim enough, rich enough or educated enough. In one way or another, we have always fallen short. Only when we are conformed to the image of Jesus can our souls prosper and be forever satisfied and at peace.
I share my story in The Wood Blossom to let you see the conflict that has raged within and without for my soul. There must be others who have experienced similar battles. I want my world and family to grow. I would like to meet those who will gently unwrap the rest of my grave clothes. And I want to be available to help others unwrap theirs. Lazarus could not unwrap his own grave clothes and neither can we.
I have not always been this outspoken with my rhetoric. But ever since I have identified with the apostle Peter, my heart is poured out in gratitude to Jesus. He has pardoned me. I am forgiven. I am healed. I am very alive. When Jesus spoke these words to Simon Peter, He also spoke them into my heart, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for you that thy faith fail not. And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31-32). I have been converted. It is now my high calling to “strengthen the brethren,” to encourage the fainthearted and those on the edge of despair.
But who is Phyllis? Phyllis is Rebekah’s sister; and that makes Phyllis my sister-in-law. Rebekah is that special woman I married in 1973 after going through a painful divorce in 1971. Phyllis’ questions about the occult provoked me to retrace my own confusing and terrifying journey. I have always enjoyed writing letters. I not only enjoy writing them; but I also enjoy receiving them. The story of The Wood Blossom has been framed in the style of a personal letter.
The difference between the first edition and the revised edition is: “There is less of me and more of us.”
Peter D. Laue
Published – 1983, updated – 2008
Pagosa Springs, Colorado