Thawing Out

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It has been a while since I have written here. There are a number of excuses that I could throw out there:

  • We’ve been traveling.
  • I’ve been sick.
  • My kids were sick.
  • I have been working on other projects.
  • The laundry piled up.
  • It’s Super Bowl Season and we are obsessively glued to ESPN.

And although it’s all true, none of these excuses reflect the real reason that I haven’t had words.

One of my favorite bands is Brave Saint Saturn. (I could write 100 posts about Brave Saint Saturn, the lead singer Reese Roper, and his other band Five Iron Frenzy. Seriously – Reese, Dennis Culp, Leanor Ortega, and all the rest have had a profound influence on my life. Their music and words have impacted me, my walk with Christ, and my world view like no other words aside from the Bible. But this post is not an Ode to all things Reese. I’ll save that for later.)

Anyway, Brave Saint Saturn has a song entitled These Frail Hands. The song speaks of the darkness in the world and that at times it can be overwhelming. In the song Reese states, “…lightlessness has chilled us numb.” This very sentence describes the reason that I have been absent from this blog. It actually describes the reason that I have been absent from many aspects of my life over the past few weeks.

I have been chilled numb.

You see, a few weeks ago we received the news that a young man who had been a part of one of our very first ministries had taken his own life. This heartbreaking news shook me to the core as my mind was flooded with memories. He was a youth leader, an intern, and an active part of our lives the entire time we were at the church. Camps, conferences, parties, studies, service trips… we did it all with him.

We eventually moved away from the area, as did he, and over time we lost touch. Facebook brought us back into acquaintance, though, and even though we no longer lived life together, the comments, likes, and interactions kept up a feeling of quasi-connectedness.

To know that he was so lonely, hurting, and blinded by his circumstances causes a sadness that can’t be described.

As I heard the news of his death and saw the reactions of those whose lives he had impacted, my heart hurt. As I talked with other adults who had been a part of his life and had invested so much into him, my stomach twisted. And as I saw the young men and women who had been a part of his ministry left with so many unanswered questions, my head ached. And then I went numb.

Although the shock, grief, anger, frustration, guilt, sadness, and other emotions occasionally crept in, I mostly felt nothing. I went through the motions of life, dealt with the flu running through my house, and did what I needed to do to get by, but all of it in a sort of a haze.

And now I am thawing out.

I am sad about the loss of our friend. I hurt for his family and friends who will be gathering in a week to comfort each other and mourn his death. And I pray – because that’s all that I really can do. And I am asking you to pray with me.

Reese Roper is a far better poet that I can ever hope to be, so I am going to share his words with you now. These are the full lyrics to These Frail Hands, and they perfectly capture what I have experienced lately:

In this broken place where I was born it seems there is no peace, And the very soil we walk upon is filled with tears that never cease, And you can trace the scars of hopelessness Like sweat upon the backs of all the outcast and downtrodden, Water slipped through cracks,

Hold on, Hold tight,

And I am overwhelmed with grief, to see such suffering, For those who lack the voice to speak, for those of us left stuttering, May this not prevail, Dear Lord, Your love will never fail,

And these frail hands, they tremble as they pen perhaps their last, And these weak words, can never say what cannot be surpassed

When the concrete of the world becomes too cumbersome to lift, And the cataracts of fear and doubt cloak truth beyond what we can sift, And darkness, darkness bleeds its way, when crippling anguish clouds our sight, The ghosts of dusk have bared their teeth, set their claws to bring the night

Hold on, Hold tight,

Darkness can’t perceive the light, though lightlessness has chilled us numb,And though its wings may cloud the skies, the dark shall never overcome, Light of the world, Your love has never failed,

I need Your love, and most of all I want to feel Your peace, I need your love, Let everything that you are not decrease,

Your love, Your mercy, Your light unending. Your hope, Your peace, Your strength my heart is mending.  Daylight, Save me.

So that’s where I have been. I wasn’t going to post this here, and I was actually waiting until I “felt better” to write something. But then I remembered that I want to be real. And so I wrote.

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