Something happened yesterday that shocked me.
T had come over after work so I could help him with a couple of computer tasks.
After we had done those, he wanted to show me a Youtube video he had found inspiring of rappers doing good deeds…while I didn’t find it as inspiring as he had (let the reader understand), I watched it with him anyway.
Over to the side of the page was a list of other videos and I saw one I thought we could watch together for amusement.
This hip hop fellow watches videos of other types of artists and films his reactions to them…and he had done one watching Merle Haggard.
This should be a hoot, I thought.
I thought wrong.
As soon as I heard the Hag start to sing I started coming unglued and had to fight to stop from sobbing.
I turned it off and whisked the kid out on his way.
What the hell just happened to me?
On reflection, what had happened to me was the grief that I feel…the grief I have been stuffing …found in song the opportunity to break out.
I barely was able to cram it back in.
In the last year we’ve had fires that burned down our town and now the coronavirus is scorching what the fires left behind.
Today, the smoke from fires burning other towns reminds us that we are not safe yet, nor will we ever be again.
We have many suffering from what the sanitizers of terror call “economic insecurity” and “housing insecurity”…which really means broke and in the street.
These things I have endured and overcome…but the thing that crushes my soul is that the community I knew and the heart that community had is gone.
We are as divided as the rest of the country over politics and masks and vaccines and all the rest…our collective identity as the people of one valley is gone.
I was born here, raised here, have lived here for all but a short portion of my life, and will die here.
This is my dirt and these are my people…at least this is how it once was.
Our common identity that sustained us through so much has been ruined by those who profit from division.
What is left is simmering rage and grief that emerges without warning and threatens to devour us.
I grieve over that and over what once was.
I am left with one identity…I am a child of God…and my real dirt and real people will only be found when I enter that city not made with hands.
Until then, I cry with Merle… “take me away and turn back the years…sing me back home, before i die…”
Make your own application…
I recently related that a neighbor’s elderly father had passed. My daughter (the nurse) was helping and she asked the old man point blank are you afraid to die? He squeezed her hand and she told him just talk to Jesus, tell Him your fears and shortcomings. He squeezed her hand again. The next afternoon he quietly passed away. He wasn’t a Christian during his life.
We want to hope in his last hours he did receive redemption….
Michael, would love to “sing you home….”. But don’t want God to take you from here now. .. 😇
I think tragedy is cumulative. As we age, we are so full, it’s hard to take more. I read Paul and I’m not so sure that I can live up to his statement. “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”
I’m physically shot. I can barely walk and breathe. Today is the fifth anniversary of our flood. We are not faced with fire but hurricane, tornado, and flood. Family issues, all get mixed in and I feel crushed, perplexed, persecuted, forsaken, and destroyed. No amount religious platitudes seems to help.
We are still here. And like you said we are forced back to the one identity that can’t be taken away. But is not always a happy place. It reminds us that this is not our home. I hope there are better things to come.
I think I’m here for a while longer…and God bless your daughter…she was obviously well raised…
How well said and how well I relate.
We indeed grow full of accumulated sorrows as we age.
This is not my home.but I love it still…and grieve for what was.
I too hope for better things, but I wonder if we’ve moved beyond that possibility;ity.
Thank you for sharing, my friend…
Entering my 86th year now, it is interesting to see changes in my responses to hardship and trial does change…
It must be more perplexing for men… men who were raised to be Mr. Fixit.
I realize how little credit I’ve given our faithful Father in heaven over the years.
“Great is Thy Faithfulness” is one of my favorite hymns these days. .. and yet as i pray it is still hard to declare to Him, ” not my will, but Thine be done. ”
Had Jesus not prayed those words, would we have our blessed Redeemer?
I’m so sorry, Michael.
I think Satan and so many of our fallen consciences, full of Genesis 3 defiled consciences and independent senses of what we “KNOW” what is right and wrong (completely independent from what God and reason say is right and wrong much of the time) divides us more than the people who profit off of it. But who knows?
jtk…you might be right…but I’m sure I know who is behind it all…the god of this world, indeed…
One of the things that sustains me through the ever present seasons of change is knowing that everything our Father has is ours, without measure or reservation. Our friends, family & neighbors will continue to be, perhaps not physically near, but definitely in Our Father’s presence, as are we.
Dad doesn’t entertain the stories in our heads about how we insulted Him, squandered all of our portion of our inheritance, and how we’re now unworthy to be called His child. He just welcomes us, right where we are, and lavishes his untold resources upon us, and leads the party celebrating our realization that WITH HIM is where we need to be.
The WHOLE THING belongs to TheDivine and there is no lack, as so we, and there is but one family, regardless of our illusions of separation.
The way I find to overcome the separation is knowing the dear ones who are nor physically nearby are, nevertheless, present. They are on another beach, they have arrived with the joyous shouts of those who welcome them.
In the meantime, today, right now, Dad throws the party, even for those who want to disqualify us and others, point our our failures, erect flimsy and transient curtains of separation.
I take great comfort in the fact that the veil of the temple that separated The Holy of Holies from the rest of us was torn asunder by a convenient “coincidental seismic event” when Jesus yielded up His spirit.
We forget this stuff.
It’s always time to help each other remember.
Always good to have your perspective, my friend…
What a gracious perspective.
Thank you, G-Man!
Beautifully written G-Man!
Absolute holiness and righteousness
A ponder is…. how did/does our triune God reconcile that with His grace and mercy?
I think, dunno, that ability caught Lucifer by surprise. …. 😚
Not an exaggeration but in my life I lost counting folks I had worked with maybe 250 people, all of them I knew quite well. For the most part I never showed grief of any kind for any reason no matter what ( a gift from my evangelical days). God absolutely loathes grief with a deep passion from what I had shoved into my soul. I heard a song from the movie The Decedents” It was the last movie my whole family watched together. I started to weep first inside, which is disgusting enough, but then I wept outside. Even though there was no one around the utter shame of showing such vile weakness truly overwhelmed me. I know in my head this is not true and grief is natural etc. But in my heart and in the evangelical tapes I have stuck in my head its not.
Now this never applied to leadership, not once. But thats another post. Americans for the most part dont deal well with death, in the evangelical community in my personal experience death is dealt with even worse because its messy and inconvenient, two of the worse sins one can commit.