the difference between saved and solved

real life

i like to say that when i got high for the first time, i was solved.

i was up north and sitting around with people older than me, who knew better, but didn’t care.  we passed around dented beer cans and wore ripped jeans.  i sat back on a stranger’s sofa and i was solved.

that would imply that i was a problem, i guess.

i used to travel to ann arbor when i was teenager.  i’d meet older guys who knew better but didn’t care about me and sold large amounts of weed for a living.  they didn’t know where the money came from or what i had to do to get it.  it didn’t matter.  i had problems and they needed solutions.

this sunday i drove to ann arbor to walk through the peony garden.



for a long time i was a problem that needed a solution and for a long time drugs were the answer.

but i was always wrong.

i wasn’t a problem and i didn’t need to be solved.  the truth was that i was a sinner.  and i was sinned against and i’d sinned.  i needed a savior, not a solution.

twenty years later i forget that still.

i still look for ways to avoid the love of god.  i spend too much energy trying to find ways to dull pain.  a fix.  in more ways than one.

ann arbor

my youngest girl runs through the lanes of full flowers.  she is more exquisite than any bloom.  she stops, turns around and flies straight back to my arms.

“mom!  this is so beautiful!”

but it’s more than that child.

petals from flowering trees fall like rain and this moment feels breakable.  it’s breaking me.  it’s all too lovely.  grace and redemption like a song that doesn’t stop playing.

a thankful heart prepares the way for you, my god.


i’m still a sinner.

and it sucks.

but now i live close enough to the truth that i can come around and hear a truth teller calling out from the pulpit.

god likes you.  god likes you.  god likes you.

and not because of how well i’m pulling it off, but precisely for the opposite reason.  he sits with me when i fall.  when i fail.  when i betray.  when i lie.  he likes you because of the state you are in.  because of the state i’m in.

jesus christ, friend of sinners.

i reach out and feel the softest love revealed on stems.  i am not a problem.  i am a solution and i am loved.  i am good and kind and a friend.

i solve, with the god who likes me, i solve.

gratitude list ~ one thousand gifts ~ 2010 – 2022

aunts and uncles
my dad in an apron
fairy house
rocks in the river
sunday school
old miami
favorite humans
far away friends
paying attention

5 replies on “ the difference between saved and solved ”
  1. My solution recently has been a combination of
    cigarettes, vodka and bloody knuckles, in varying combinations. Thank you so much for this reminder…

  2. Thank you for this reminder…that we don’t have to be anything, for Him to love us.

    Here via Multitudes on Mondays

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