Saturday, January 1, 2011

You Tell Me to Live

I am spending the turning of a year’s page far from home for the second time in a row. A year ago right now I was in a hotel in Nashville. Now I am in a friend’s house in Colorado Springs. This seems to help to mark the transition.

Occasionally there is a year that seems to be marked, gilded with fire and with ice, crashing like a meteor on the shell of my world. 2010 was one of those years. So much of me wants to call it one of the worst years of my life, and yet I can’t make myself do it, because I can only think of one other year that has ever impacted me more.

If I were to describe 2010 in a single phrase, it would be “the year that I learned I was wrong about everything.” About friends, about myself, about God, about faith, about the very concept of what it is to be alive... I was so completely wrong.

Some of the absolute worst things that have ever happened to me all managed to cram themselves in together in one year. I had to fall hard enough to figure out that I had lost my footing in the first place.

I have found myself weary and worn over the past two months, abandoning the principles I have fought so hard to uphold-- ideas of community, that honesty is important, that it is possible to be safe with people. I tried to find my way back to where I once was, the person who once could easily go days and weeks without a full conversation, who would commonly sit alone in a room for hours on end. I tried wandering paths that once owned me. I tried to find the start, maybe with some idea in my head that if I could do that, I could figure out who I was again. And yet it didn’t work. I had grown too much for the old molds to contain the pieces of my soul.

Throw myself back into the ocean, and I’ve lived to tell the tale. Throw myself back into the ocean, but it wouldn’t take me back-- no it wouldn’t take me back.

- Quietdrive

I looked forward to 2010 with hope. Some of the greatest things I had hoped for came true. Almost all of the things I feared most also came true. As I sit now in the early hours of 2011, I do not hope. I do not dream. I do not even fear anymore. I grit my teeth to hold inside the song burning still in my lungs, and I hold on with a white-knuckled determination that will not give up, even when I beg myself to.

And I am beginning to realize how much of faith feels like this. I will not give up, even when I am not particularly sure how to stand up anymore.

The temptation to regret parts of 2010-- most of it, in fact-- is extreme. If I could erase the first eight months and then the last two, I would be a much happier person. I have not known regret like this in three years. And yet part of me also recognizes how useless that would be. I grew more than I could ever have imagined. Yes, maybe that was mostly because I saw so many things fall apart, and in the process learned so much about the only thing that is whole. But if that is what it takes to break through this iron shell around my heart, so be it.

Heaven knows, I’ve tried to find a cure for the pain. Oh my Lord! To suffer like You do-- it would be a lie to run away.

- Jon Foreman

I will not regret, for to do so is to deny the reality of forgiveness. Where I go from here is uncharted. I stood singing on the side of a street in a snow storm yesterday. In the frigid cold and angry wind and the blowing white powder ghosts, I began to remember exactly how vulnerable humanity is. I began to remember how useless all of this if we choose to believe we were meant to rule our kingdoms alone.

I don’t believe in friendships. I don’t believe my life will amount to anything. I don’t believe there will be anything redeeming about 2011. I don’t believe in hope. But I am beginning to want to believe again.

Perhaps what I want most is to be alone. And that is the exact thing that I am coming to understand is not possible. And it makes me feel angry and helpless and terrifyingly human.

New beginnings. The idea of trying again just makes me feel inconsolably tired right now. And yet there is this heartbeat, this song, this pulse, that will not give up-- this idea of things that outlast me, this idea of hope and love and light pulsing behind the tormented skin of a broken world. Tomorrow will come, a sunrise for every night. And so I hold on. And so I choose to live.

When dark clouds cover the sky like there's no hope, You are the light. You tell me to live.

And when You heal my broken wings, yes You heal my everything. You tell me to live...

You tell me to live.

- The Rocket Summer

May you know the hope of new beginnings. May you know what it is to hold on. Thank you for staying with me through another year, another chapter. The road goes ever on and on...

- Elraen -


miruialiel.eternalprincess said...

I think the problem is that this broken world only wants to focus on it's brokenness. Whether they realize it or not. We're constantly searching...constantly looking for perfection in so many formats. *hugs* I am glad you choose to live--to fight and to toss aside those chains that Jesus broke for you. Thank you for running the race and singing the song everyday that God set aside for you. Thank you for being you in a world of uncertainty and copycats and not being afraid to admit the fact that you indeed are human.

Love you,

Eclectic Elegance said...

I have to say I love the simple honesty in your blog posts. I don't think I had quite as hard of a year as you, but 2010 definitely had some real rough spots for me. But I love your challenges to dare to keep hoping. *hugs*

MangyCat said...

As you said, "I grew more than I could ever have imagined. ...mostly because I saw so many things fall apart..." Maybe all this was to prepare you for the greatness that lies ahead.

You have mentioned many times before that without the darkness, there can be no appreciation for the light. Well, my friend, here comes the sun.