Too Mutch

...a safe place to dance with ideas, play with theology, and re-create a life implicated by God

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Lenten Reflections from a Hospice Chaplain #2

One of the nagging frustrations of this whole metaphor of “journey” is that it implies movement. Can I get a collective “ugh” with an accompany sigh on that one? Movement, as simple as it may sound, can sometimes be TOO much. What about the days when I don’t want to get out of bed and go ANYWHERE! So sure, we can talk about journeying in life, journeying towards death, journeying through lent. But do you ever feel stuck? Do you ever feel that something very real is clinging to your ankles—holding you back, tripping you, controlling you, debilitating you?

This might seem a bit odd to some of you, but try to hang with me. I’d like to offer some spiritual, theological, etc. reflections on a Coldplay song. I believe that a variety of mediums are able to engage us, speak to us, and teach us. Often, it is something quite out of the ordinary that can prick our hearts, open our eyes, and soothe our souls in a whole new way.

The opening lines of the song…
when you try your best but you don't succeed
when you get what you want but not what you need
when you feel so tired but you can't sleep
stuck in reverse

Do you ever feel stuck in reverse? So tired you can’t sleep? So anxious you can’t really live? What is that at my ankles that is holding me back? I was unemployed for nearly a year before coming to HOM. I was stuck wondering what sort of meaningful work I would be able to find. Would it even be meaningful? Who am I? What is wrong with me? Much of the time, I was spent. No answers. Lots of questions. It was a kind of deathly existence.

and the tears come streaming down your face
when you lose something you can't replace
when you love someone but it goes to waste
could it be worse?

Perhaps tears fall down your face because of a loss or a wound. Is there a broken relationship that you long to see mended? A sibling, a parent, a friend, your’self’? Is there a wound that has been covered over but not healed? Something that causes fear, doubt, anger—and inhibits your ability to live with the kind of freedom you were created for? Do you long for something more, something healthier, something that resonates? What is that “something” for you? (pause, soak, breath).

The Refrain…
lights will guide you home
and ignite your bones
and i will try to fix you

I’d like to take these three lines one at a time…
1. There is a place called home…and inside is the warmth of a fire delivered in an embrace. It’s an embrace meant for you. It’s an embrace designed for you. And “lights” will guide you, Coldplay tells us. The New Testament tells us something very similar. One of the predominant metaphors and images of Jesus is Light. “lights will guide you home.”
2. “and ignite your bones.” That sounds especially nice this time of year! But the image is one that resonates clearly to anyone that can slow down long enough to let it rouse their attention. Is there a greater feeling of “alive-ness” than to be welcomed home in embrace? There is a passage in the OT book of Ezekiel (Chp 37 if you are interested enough to read it) where God shows Ezekiel this pile of bones and asks him “can these bones live?” The paraphrased response from Ezekiel is “uh, say what?” And God has Ezekiel say this to the bones (yes, he is going to talk to the bones—I believe there may be a DSM-IV diagnosis for this), “I will make breath enter you and you will come to life.” I want to be those bones. I sometimes feel stuck in reverse…can you bring me back to life? Someone? Please…
3. “and I will try to fix you.” Here I take some liberty to rephrase what Coldplay is “really” wanting us to hear. I don’t think we can be fixed. Cars get fixed. Machines get fixed. A couple of weeks ago, I took my coffee pot apart and fixed it. We don’t get fixed. Rather, we get made whole. We get put back together by God’s embrace. This is what peace is. It is NOT the absence of conflict, it is the re-making of us and the world we live in. It is wholeness through and through. It is restored relationship—to God and others and to creation. It is bones coming back to life. It is breaking free from the things that plague us and hold us back. It is what we long for at the end of the journey…it is why we journey. We must continue walking, jogging, running…and always lifting our heads to get a peek at what is ahead of us at the finish line.

Here are the rest of the lyrics for you to dwell on without my rambling. One more thing before closing this reflection. Indulge me, please. You MUST LISTEN to this song. Very Very Loudly!! In your car or on your headphones. I will have copies on my desk you can sign out, borrow, and return. And notice this while you listen…
The song starts out slow. Down. Heavy. It is how we sometimes feel on this journey. But in the score of the music one hears and feels life waking up, of bones catching fire, of hope calling us forward. Even without the words to this song, it inspires.

high up above or down below
when you're too in love to let it go
but if you never try, you'll never know
just what you're worth

lights will guide you home
and ignite your bones
and i will try to fix you
tears stream down your face when you lose something you cannot replace tears stream down your face and I... tears stream down on your face I promise you I will learn from my mistakes tears stream down your face and I... lights will guide you home and ignite your bones and i will try to fix you

When the journey gets long, hard, oppressive, lonely, etc.—you are not alone. We journey together. And there is light ahead drawing us, calling us, compelling us forward. And up around the bend there is an embrace with your name all over it, too.

Blessings on the journey,


At 7:57 PM, Anonymous dl said...

So well written, Greg. Very applicable to me, made me think. dl

At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey greg, just read your blog. you continue to amaze me . well done my son, love and miss you.

At 10:39 PM, Blogger JenPost said...

I love that song. I just found your blog thanks to JB at the meeting tonight. I have one too. Don't tell :)


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