So much has happened in my life since I last wrote, but at this moment I’m noticing that my desire to write and to allow the feelings and thoughts inside of me spill out into typed sentences is something I can’t put off any longer. My journal is half full of stories and private thoughts that nobody will ever see – confessions, lamentations, revelations, letters, and prayers, but it’s not yet satisfying enough for me to write what I know nobody will ever read. I have to do this for myself. There’s so much I need to say. I want to reflect on the past year, so let me tell you some things that have happened.
This year I was the coordinator of the weekly campus worship service, which is simply called “group”, and it changed my life. There’s so much I could say about that, but I’m doing it again next year and I’m going to let that speak for my experience. My band Darkpine released its first single. I think it’s pretty good for being our first studio recording. Our EP should be better, though. Very few people actually care about the music we create, but there’s something special and intimate about that. We’ve been given the opportunity to record with a big-name producer this summer. We’ll see where that takes us, but if nothing else it will be a neat thing to have done. Earlier in the year I cut off my dreads and experienced being someone that doesn’t catch the eye of strangers. I got my first job at a local deli, and I had my mom pierce my ear on my 21st birthday and then drank alcohol. I think alcohol can easily become a dependency in which one feels they can only experience joy in full when they are consuming it. I find that to be rather dumb, and something I want to be careful about.
This year friends came and went as quickly as the seasons pass and blossom. I guess very few things in this life are permanent. A revelation I had was that I had to be my own best friend this year and make sure that I met my own needs, that I left my desk and took an hour walk because at that moment I needed the early Spring wind to minister to me, that I said no to hanging out over some weekends because I knew that what I needed most was just time to bask in the silence of my room and get away from the sound of people talking, yelling, and complaining – time to be introverted, warm, sad and happy all at the same time. I would take time to daydream about what it will be like to live in this world after it is utterly transformed by Jesus’ complete establishment of God’s reign. I would write letters to God in my journal – a way of communicating my feelings to someone that would listen. And I would write responses to these letters because I liked pretending that I was God talking back. I would tidy up my room to Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, or take a nap to Cat Power’s The Greatest, or wash the dishes in the sink to Grouper’s Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill because these are some of the ways I feel at home. I would remember the freckles scattered across her face and how many dreams it took for me to finally admit that they weren’t mine. Admittedly, I wandered through the year with a broken heart that slowly healed and broke again and healed and then in its breaking once again taught me the symbolism of yearning, that what I actually want most is to fall in love with God again and, perhaps more than that, I want to feel loved by God.
I found that loving others is easier said than done, and is something that I can only do with the help of the Spirit. This year also made me realize that my questions, doubt, uncertainty, and frustration concerning my faith are not going to fade away over night. And if nothing else, this year has taught me how profoundly lonely I am at the core of my being and that this is one of the most tragically beautiful parts of me. Somehow my response to this is an almost innate longing to live life head on and without regret, without fear of the implications, so that I can firmly say to my loneliness that I wouldn’t have been able to do all that I’ve done without myself, and that being alone is often times the freest one can be in this life.
But God, there’s little I want more than to find you and enter into relationship with you. I want to know you more than academic theology could ever teach me. I want your kingdom to shine into the present so much that this world resembles its own destiny. I want to be the person you created me to be and to be firm in my faith. And in case you were wondering, this is why I took a break from my blog and why I parted ways with my silly dreadlocks and my Facebook and why I tried to stop caring so much about little details. I had to live into this paradox of being hidden in public. I had to grow some humility and be okay when I wasn’t being looked at. I had to be doing things for the right reasons, and while that is a life-long process, it’s something that can start now in the form of daily disciplines. Deep down I’ve always desired fame to an extent—to be seen and to be known, but I have to be okay with being someone who tends to their garden and commits to being a better person day after day. And I think in many ways this looks like blending in and being a source of water for those who are thirsty just as I am for a better world.