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Dear Jesus Christ,

I went to bed at 3:16 last night and started thinking about John—John who pissed away every paycheck he ever made and only fucked virgins, John who beat up a woman's husband and spent a Christmas in jail, John who shot himself on the front porch of his mother's house. I don't think anyone shed a tear except her. I heard she shed many tears as she cleaned up the mess.

I thought about when I first met him. It was at church. He and I were both eight. He sat next to me and we stared at that stained glass image of you in your white robe with your outstretched, loving arms, and he leaned into me and asked, "Do you believe in Jesus?"

"Of course," I said. "Don't you?"

He didn't answer. But it was Communion that day and he ate your body and drank your blood just like everyone else, and I thought he had to believe in you because you were inside of him.

I asked him once, Jesus Christ, I asked him if he believed in you and he said, "I want to. But everyone says I have to find him. Why? If he's real and he loves me and died for me and all that, shouldn't he find me? Have you ever seen Jesus before?"

"No," I said.

"Me neither."

And then he cried.

I started praying for him after that. You remember, don't you? I asked you to find him, but I don't think you did, and then he ended up in the hospital because his daddy had given him three fractured ribs and a swollen eye. I wasn't allowed to visit, but I had his momma give him a note. In it I begged him to believe in you. He sent one back telling me to go to Hell.

The next time he and I spoke was years later. We were in high school. He was taller, skinnier, and older. Me, I was just older. I said hi to him, but he acted like he didn't know me. I watched him incite fights in the hallways and flirt with random girls. I watched him cuss out teachers and get suspended for hiding a knife in his shorts. He never did anything to me, but I knew he wanted to.

And I prayed for him again, Jesus Christ. I prayed for him as hard as I could.

He left school halfway through Junior year, but he didn't leave town. He had nowhere to go just like the rest of us. I saw him off and on, working jobs, driving around. Two girls said he'd taken their virginity. Later I was told about a third—the one he got pregnant. "He only fucks virgins," I heard. "Something to do with control. Makes him feel all macho, turning young girls into women." And the drinking—oh yes, the lost money and DUIs and bar fights. People said he was drunk when he beat up that woman's husband. They also said the woman's husband resembled his daddy. He supposedly called the man a "child-abusing bastard" as he was cuffed and forced into the cop car. It was a few days before Christmas. If I remember right, when he'd gone to the hospital for the fractured ribs it had been around Christmas time too.

Your birthday. The day you came down here because your daddy so loved the world.

I didn't hear about his suicide until a good month after it happened. I'd come home from college for winter break, and while I was helping my mom do the dishes she said, "By the way, John died. Blew his brains out on his momma's front porch, right in front of her."

I didn't pray for him then, or ever again.

He couldn't believe in you, Jesus Christ. I'm not sure if I can either, but I want to.

I want to.

I thought about John at 3:16 last night, and I shed a tear.
I almost cried while writing this.

EDIT: I got a DD??? :faint: Thank you!!! <3
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-12-13
John at 3:16 by ~TheEmptyChest is "spiritual and surprising without forcing conclusions" (suggester's words). ( Suggested by xlntwtch and Featured by neurotype )
:icontathea:
tathea Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2014  Professional General Artist
Really moving... Not sure I want to add a comment, though, because currently there are "316 comments". That seems the perfect number. Keep writing. 
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014
Thank you! Haha, well a 317th comment is more than welcome; thanks for deciding to post it, and thanks for the encouragement.  
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:icongale-oneofmany:
Gale-OneOfMany Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
A truly beautiful piece, and one that says so much. Well done.
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014
:aww: Thank you!
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:icongale-oneofmany:
Gale-OneOfMany Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You're very welcome.
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:iconrumai:
Rumai Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014
I can't even describe how this makes me feel...
Perhaps a combination of zealotistic (I know that's not a word) inspiration and sinking depression.
Very well written, good job!
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014
Thank you! :heart:
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:iconmistahwhiskaz:
mistahwhiskaz Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2014  Professional Artist
Sometimes we just can't bring ourselves to make it better.
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2014
True.
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:iconhairrosstandingmoon:
HairrosStandingMoon Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I  keep coming back to this, so good.
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014
Thank you. That's an honor.
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:iconhairrosstandingmoon:
HairrosStandingMoon Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Will definitely read more!
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014
Good! :happybounce:
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:iconautumnlit:
autumnlit Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013
:blackrose: Your beautiful prose has been featured here: fav.me/d6nss4z
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013
Thank you! :love:
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:iconmelpyra:
Melpyra Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I normally shirk away from "religious" pieces, but yours really drew me in and I am thankful for it. Consider me pleasantly surprised and more than a little ashamed for judging so quickly. There are so many lines in this piece that really cut to the core. I ached, reading this. But that's exactly what I needed. Beautifully written. 
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:iconsir-herp:
Sir-Herp Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Student General Artist
Thank you, AP Art History, for teaching me about religions! I would've thought of zombies and cannibalism in the part about the Communion, otherwise. :XD:

This was... wow. What a piece. The poor kid just needed some support and love. The saddest thing is, there's all to many kids that have walked or will walk similar paths in their lives, just because they didn't have enough tangible support. Religion only gets you so far...

Great work.
Reply
:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013
Hahaha! I know, right? Although I can understand how one would think of zombies and cannibalism (especially the latter) even with an education in religions. The whole Communion thing is... interesting. :P

Thank you very much! Yes, John definitely did not get the love and support he needed, and unfortunately his life is experienced by many, many children worldwide. Religion can do a lot of good (I've seen people dramatically change for the better because of it), but in an unloving environment, it's not much help.

Thanks!
Reply
:iconx12-1992:
X12-1992 Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Also, John didnt need Jesus, he needed someone to care for him, someone to protect him from his abusive father. Then he might have found Jesus.
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013
Yes, if someone had sat up and taken notice and had gotten him away from his terrible father, he may have led a different life, which may have included finding Jesus.
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:iconx12-1992:
X12-1992 Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
And maybe he did find Jesus at the end, but, in his own mind, felt that he had no right to be a live because of everything he did.
Reply
:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013
That's definitely a possibility, and honestly, now that you mention it, I can relate. Not feeling worthy is absolutely terrible. Nice insight!
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:iconx12-1992:
X12-1992 Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
God, this is depressing, but still a wonderful piece.
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013
Thank you. :bow:
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:iconfeatherback:
featherback Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Oh my God I love this so very much. I love the way it's written, I love how the words resonate. Everything about it amazes me. It's more than deserving of a DD and I congratulate you on receiving one! :heart:
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
THANK YOU!!! :tighthug:
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:iconsurrealcachinnation:
SurrealCachinnation Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013   Writer
I love this so much.

It shows how powerful prayer can be... it can keep a person going, it can give a person hope. And if you don't have any sort hope like that in your life, it's easier to fall.

Very sad...
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
Thank you very much! :bow:
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:iconathematici:
Athematici Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
this is absolutely amazing, and damn do I resonate so much with it!
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
Thank you! I'm honored. :bow:
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:iconmelalina:
Melalina Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Professional General Artist
I'm not a big Jesus Christ fan, but it's FEATURED. BTW, I see what you did there with the John 3:16 reference...clever.
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
No worries, it's fine. This piece was neither geared towards Jesus fans nor Jesus haters, it's just a work of fiction for people to read. Thank you! I'm glad you found the reference clever. :)
Reply
:iconi-am-a-retro-lass:
i-am-a-retro-lass Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
i fucking love this. you may enjoy reading my journal called "the super small fine print of super small brains" xx
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
Why thank you! Haha, I shall have to check that out. It sounds interesting. :)
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:icondivafica:
divafica Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
You've been featured here: [link] :love:
Reply
:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
Thank you very much! :hug:
Reply
:iconsilverinkblot:
SilverInkblot Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Hi there! Just a note to let you know I've featured this piece in my 2012 showcase of literature: [link] :D
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
AHH, THANK YOU!!! :hug:
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:iconsilverinkblot:
SilverInkblot Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
:D
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
:heart:
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:iconrisingwolve:
RisingWolve Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I love the way that this is written. I'm just getting into prose and this is something I can really look up to. It's modern, but still spiritual and without shoving anything down anyone's throats. (Thank you for that! :clap:) I also like the reference to John 3:16 in the bible, I'm hoping you intended that because it sure makes me think. If it was up to me though, I don't think I'd have as many paragraphs or lines on their own. Nevertheless, I think this piece deserved the DD - it's purely amazing. :+favlove:
Reply
:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
Thank you very much for your comment (and sorry for the late response)! Your words are much appreciated. Yes, the reference to John 3:16 was intentional, and my endeavor with this piece was to explore faith and spirituality without shoving anything down anyone's throat. As for the paragraphs, eh, I think I like how many I have, but you're entitled to your opinion, of course. Again, thank you for your comment, and I'm honored that you think it deserved the DD. :hug:
Reply
:iconsnowleopard314159:
SnowLeopard314159 Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012
Sounds like God did come to him, several times, through you and probably others. Paying attention and accepting at those times was all John had to do. People can be so cruel to each other, but there are many kind ones out there, too -- including you.
Reply
:iconxenonkeyblademaster:
xenonkeyblademaster Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I agree. This piece is so great, well put. I'm really sorry about your friend. God knocks at everyone's doors, some people just don't open.
Reply
:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012
It depends on how you look at it. Thanks for the comment!
Reply
:iconmrsmyrnin:
mrsmyrnin Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Oh my god i love this so much.
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:iconfriendlyhorse:
FriendlyHorse Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2012   Digital Artist
OMG i'm crying. This is so good, but yet so sad...
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:iconchocolate-kitten5:
Chocolate-kitten5 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012
I'm probably going to sound like an idiot for this, but did this really happen?
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:icontheemptychest:
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012
No, it didn't. It has tidbits of truth, but it's still a work of fiction.
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:iconmjpr83916:
mjpr83916 Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Sad.
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