Lost. Wondering. Embarrassed. Hurt. Spent. Right or wrong, that’s how I felt.
“Did you really lead us into this to leave us dirty, immobile, and pining for water?”
Many many moons ago, I was a youth pastor. Yes…I was an envelope pusher with spiky hair: loud, (too) energetic, impulsive, and, of course, technologically savvy. Every summer, our group took a trip up the side of a Colorado mountain. No toilets. No smartphones. No washing machines. No Taco Bell. And teenagers. 2 days in a church van + 1 week climbing a mountain + 2 more days in a church van = an amazing experience.
One summer, my boy, B. Sheets (or B. Shizzle…or Sheetz…or Btween the Sheets…or well, you get the idea), joined us for the trip…a trip that ended with him hiking an airplane door off the mountain. That’s right, B. Sheetzy picked up the door of an airplane off the side of a mountain and took it home as a souvenir. Apparently, an airplane had crashed into the top of this mountain years ago, and some of the wreckage set up camp. Brandon (as he was referred to by completely uncool people) left a tip, picked up the door, threw up the deuce, and walked off the mountain. Even to this day, I have no doubt he has the door hanging up somewhere…probably with a spotlight, neon sign, or gigantic arrow pointing at it.
I know how that plane felt. All the wonderment, creation, preparation, energy, time, and sweat that went into crafting such an amazing invention. Someone receiving control of its instruments, harnessing its power and beauty to achieve lift off the ground and into the sky. Soaring. Soaring. Soaring…until it all crashed into a million pieces on the side of a mountain somewhere in Colorado, so that church groups could gawk at the destruction, wonder about how the plane got there, and laugh at the novelty of a 20-something hiking off with a door as a momento.
That’s how I felt. Left for dead far from the world reserved only for analyzation by passersby. A forgotten, once-was who, at one time, had a good thing, but in the end, crashed and burned.
For the first time in a long time (maybe ever), I expressed feelings of anger, resentment, and bitterness to the Lord. Well…I kept them inside for a good while, but eventually let them out. Honestly, this was new terrain for me. Given my upbringing and ecclesiological environments, questioning God was…well, out of the question. I guess no one ever said that to me point blank. However, risking God’s responsive wrath didn’t seem like a good idea.
It’s quite unfortunate, because I was missing out on a depth and complexity to my relationship with the Lord by not laying this out on the table. Ironically, I, often, do the same thing with my wife, and it never seems to get us anywhere. I pretend everything is fine when I’m actually pissed at something. Thankfully, she graciously yet sternly sees through my bull crap and cuts to the chase without cutting me down to size. She’s prophetic like that. She’s God-like like that.
During this season of life, I even wrote God a rap. Lol! Is that allowed? I forgot I penned it, but discovered it while reorganizing my @Evernote yesterday. It’s probably one of the longest raps/poems I’ve ever written, but I ain’t dropped no background beatz for it yet. What? You did realize a half Cuban, half-Iowan 30-pound overweight 34-year old father of 4 could write raps. You bettah reck-ugg-nize!!! (Check this out for footage from a recent concert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GEGS1tDFGU)
Anyway, here’s the rap from my time in the wilderness…(one of) my dark nights of the soul:
RISE UP IN ME
Eventually, another song will rise up in me
But for now, I’m ’bout to hit you with this poetry
It’s flow, you see, from a guy around the block
So take stock…give a listen to what I got
Pulling skeletons out the closet
Thirsty for water but nothing’s coming out the faucet
I’m parched. I’m dry. Forgotten Supa Fly
Lost in the never-ending search: Spotify
It’s like a fairy tale without the campfire
It’s like the NBA when the Magic Man retired
It’s like First Class without a frequent flyer
It’s like the little kid without Jerry Maguire
Why try? I got nothing real to say
Spitting sophisticated ignorance everyday
Trying to move well enough along the way
It’s closing time, and I can’t stay
‘Cause Lord knows that I’m clawing and fighting
Holding on to every piece they trying to siphon
Pulled in every way. No time to reply
Alone with my reflections. Wondering why
Why the pain? Why the hurt? Why the sorrow?
Dealing with today by stealing from tomorrow
And no moral to the story just yet
Nothing but sweat, fret, and full of regret
If I was honest I’d tell you that I shed a tear
That I just put down 3 bottles of Holiday Cheer
A tough year…switched into another career
This is real not veneer
But here’s the deal: things looking kinda shaky
Underneath, my feet, kinda quaky
Wondering where do I go next
With all these insufficient funds and cancelled checks?
How’d this list of bills get so long
I didn’t realize I was doing anything wrong
Bought her a dress, some filet mignon
And a ficus tree that don’t belong
But that’s not the real reason that I wrote this song
Just another attempt at staying strong
I’m really figuring out what’s next
To keep from going under from all this stress
Lord knows a “no” is what became of the “yes”
So how do I continue to give it my best?
Just what am I suppose to do?
All my pieces broke, and I’m searching for the super glue
All my ways are futile, I think I might be through
The only way out: faithfulness to You
Are You the reason that I find myself here
At this fork in the road not knowing which way to steer?
Looking up ahead through the haze unclear
Am I going straight or taking a veer?
what am I to do?
‘Cause in the end I really wanna honor You
I really want You to see
Truthfully, I want You happy with me
And this is nothing on my own to earn
I’m afraid that I’ve lost my turn
For me, a 3rd degree burn
I really have so much to learn
So, is a solution really out there?
So, does anybody else care?
Are they content to stop and stare?
Are you overwhelmed by the glare?
Yeah, I’m feeling this wasn’t fair
Yeah, I might be outta here
‘Cause to me, from day one, this wasn’t the same
‘Cause to me, from day one, this wasn’t a game
‘Cause to me from day one, through all the strain
‘Cause to me from day one, we live what we claim
Are we left with a facade?
A shard…redeemable but in the end flawed
I clawed too long to give up now
I just wonder how: I guess it starts with a bow
Or maybe that’s just how it ends
One chapter closes and another begins
The party’s over and so are the friends
I’m just afraid of starting over again
I might be a hostage of the unknown
Setting out without being shown
Trusting and hoping in what we can’t see
One day another song will rise in me