Thursday, May 27, 2010


It's been over a month since I wrote anything here, and something in me rebels against the idea of the month of May going by without a single post. Life has been hard lately, and that has made it difficult for me to find words to say.

About half-way through the Fall semester of 2009, Relient K released a new album, Forget and Not Slow Down. There is a track on that album that quickly became my favorite, and that also became the theme song of my sophomore year. The song is called Therapy. Matt Thiessen wrote it while staying alone in an isolated cabin after his girlfriend (and fiance) of four years left him. He did nothing but think and write songs for weeks, and Therapy is a reflection of that.

I never thought I'd need all this time alone, it goes to show:
I had so much, yet I had need for nothing but You.

This is just therapy, let's call it what it is (not what we were)
With a death-grip on this life always transitioning.
This is just therapy, 'cause you won't take my calls
and that makes God the only one who's left here listening to me.

Letting it all sink in, it's good to feel a sting now and again.
I hope its one less woeful thing there is to fight through.
Forgetting it all begin, fresh paper and nice expensive pen.
The past can not subtract a thing from what I might do for You--
unless that's what I let it do.

All that is a necessary backdrop for what I want to say.

I think I often get this idea in my head that there are things God has to use to speak to me, to make me feel better, to heal me. When I am sad I think I need music or a concert. When I am lonely I think I need my close friends. I often sit here thinking "if only I could talk to ____, I would feel better."

I have had to question that purely through the circumstances of life. I can think to myself that I want close friends here, but the bottom line is, all my close friends live all over the United States. I have only had one face-to-face relationship where I actually trusted the person in the past 5 years, and that relationship changed radically a few years ago so it's not even the same anymore. And so there is this disconnect in my head-- I keep telling myself I need something that is eternally denied, save for a few days here and there. Circumstances are such that even the people I do feel safe with on some level are busy (as am I), and I usually only get to talk to them once every several weeks (if I am lucky). I also have a strong tendency to lose close relationships, or at least to lose the closeness that was once there. "I never told you then that I'd be easy to love..."

And there is a theme of loss that runs deep through the life of every human being, always tearing beneath the surface, breaking through our windows in the night and stealing away things we thought were stable. We question the right of the thief to steal from us, ask God why He didn't shield us (because we know He could).

I think that sometimes the terrible loss and loneliness are allowed to hold sway because they take away the false sense of security that claims that God somehow needs to follow our expectations in order to rescue us (or, worse yet, the lie that would claim that He doesn't need to rescue us at all). Does God really need a certain set of people or a certain event to rescue His children? No. He certainly can use familiar ways to heal us-- He often does, maybe in part because sometimes we refuse to open our hearts to Him except when we see Him moving through things He's used before. But He is not limited. My God would not be any less powerful or any less good or any less able to save me if every song on earth faded to silence and every person on earth who loved me turned away in scorn.

And sometimes there have to be the moments when everything falls apart in order to realize that the hope we thought we lost has actually been running beneath the surface, waiting to catch us, all along... God's voice is clearly heard when it is the only voice left. And His hope is a place I am running to, because I realize that it is the only way for me to see beyond the circumstances of my own failure and my own flawed expectation and my own foolish moments of despair.

My grandfather is dying of cancer right now. My great grandfather is also dying. My family just lost the part-time job we've been doing for years, and thus a very vital 25% of our income. At least 75% of my few friends at school just graduated and/or got married and left. Relationships that were stable are now seriously in question. There are moments when I feel I have nothing left. And those are moments that force me to cling to the Everything who I have been refusing to surrender to.

All that said, I think once that foundation is in place again-- the foundation of pure, unmerited, unconditional Love-- it is then that to grow we must reach. I naturally love solitude-- I love to be alone. I even love the pain of loneliness, because it is so very familiar and safe. But when I face God's unbroken grace, I can't seem to make myself believe anymore that I am meant to simply absorb it. I am to soak it in and let light pour like liquid from all the places I have been broken.

I have been in a time of silence for a long time now, a time when loss hits hard, over and over again. Maybe this blog is more a reminder to myself than anything else-- a shove towards the reality of hope found in the wreckage. Because it is only then that there can be such a thing as healthy relationships, as meaningful experiences...

This word and concept that our modern world is addicted to, "community..." I think it is really the idea of broken people living for love. And if I am to live for love, then first I have to believe it exists... and so first I have to find the definition of love, the Love that reached down in a perfect act of surrender and sacrifice. What great loss that was. My own losses grow pale and hollow in comparison.

Loneliness and solitude are two things not to get confused,
because I spend my solitude with You.

There will be the empty moments and the lonely moments to drive me back to His hope, and it is hope in turn that will be my strength to love and to breathe in life. That is the only system, the only therapy, that will ever work: complete trust in and reliance on His love. Even if that means losing everything in order to see Him clearly.

He is worth it.

- Elraen -

"Thank God for disaster-- disaster and tears. Thank God for my reasons, my reasons to fear. Every time that I've lost it all and death is calling me, I understand this is what saved my life again. Wake up." [Since October]