Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sitting on this Side For Now

David Grey writes a song called, "The Other Side." I watched a live concert with him on television the other night with Jeanine, and he discussed his meaning behind it, much of which I don't remember.

This song, though, makes me think deeply about paradigm shifts, worldview changes, the questions we ask ourselves about faith, and the questions we want others to ask about their faith. The song is an invitation and a confession. It's a declaration of hope; it's a plea for understanding. I feel smack dab in the middle of this song. I imagine myself standing in a field, with a fence in front of me; the wooden kind, with 1x6 panels and the slits in-between the boards. It's got holes where the knots came out of the logs, and it's worn. And about two feet over my head. I can't see what's on the other side of the fence, but I can see what I'm leaving behind; I can smell it, taste it, hear it, feel it. It's tangible. Uninviting. And the other side? I don't hear anything, and when I peek through the knot holes, I see acres and acres and acres of nothing. No horizon, no darkness, no light, no nothing. It's like a blank canvas without border, without surface, just a vast amount of inviting nothingness. And I think about these lyrics from the song:

I know it would be outrageous/To come on all courageous/And offer you my hand/To pull you up on to dry land/When all I got is sinking sand/The trick aint worth the time it buys/Im sick of hearing my own lies/And loves a raven when it flies.

And I am struck with the deeply humbling realization that I have no idea what the other side holds. And that courage has nothing to do with jumping the fence or tearing it down. Most days I don't really know what I'm inviting other people into. I've got nothing tangible for you to put your hands on except for wet tears, beating hearts, and smelly bodies. I'm learning more and more that the words I've learned don't really carry the vastly deep pains that people experience; they're like buckets with huge holes in them. So many words and ideas and experiments that smell like feces and taste like vomit and sound like the screams of a dying cat; that's what I can smell and taste and hear and it's what I want to leave behind.

So, I don't know when I cross the fence; I don't think it'll have so much to do with courage as it will with hands filled with tears, reaching down from atop the wood and inviting me over. So many hands with so many faces and so many different stories and tears and wounds and fears. Because the shift isn't the end; it's not the fullness; it's simply a shift - I'm just hoping that when Raven flies, he releases the sun that's in his beak and when the sun bounces off of the nothingness and into the sky that the stars are remade, and when the sun stops bouncing that it will find its place in the sky and reveal the potential for creative action in a world yearning for buckets without holes and words and ideas that finally have meaning and experiments that have integrity.

O Lord, please. Hear my prayer.

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