I sat down and strummed my guitar today. My heart was heavy as I sat crouched over it. How many people in the history of the world have taken solace in that stance–hugging the echoes of strings and wood. I just wanted to play a few chords. Maybe explore vocal melodies and release ideas like only music can. I tuned it and strummed the strings. Open chord. My heart squeezed. I played a C chord. Like an old knitted dishrag, my heart squeezed again. This time tears dripped down. “How can there be any left?” I ask myself. Why does even the sound of my guitar hurt? Is there any place in this world where my heart is safe? It aches in every way. In every word. In every memory. In every sound. To walk through another day is to walk through the blistering sun of a thousand days before. Memory is a beautiful gift and a brutal friend. Most of us walk a delicate line between carefully and cautiously taking new paths, and processing outcomes of old. Today’s agenda included processing.
Most of us walk a delicate line between carefully and cautiously taking new paths, and processing outcomes of old.
Oftentimes when I was small my father would sit by my bed at night and play guitar. He knew a handful of songs and I had heard them all. Still I would listen. Perhaps I was the only one who would. Some were loud, some were quiet, some were funny and made up, and others were covers of ballads that spoke to his soul, i.e. “The Letter” and “House of the Rising Sun”. The common thread in every song was passion. Even if he was singing about a duck flying upside down. Passion. And he sang for me. I was his audience. As a child it was fun to stay up late listening, but looking back I realize it was so much more than that. It spoke love to me. I was loved. And not just love—my father’s love. When I played those chords today my father’s love reverberated off the walls. It came back to my ears and instantly soaked my soul. My defenses came down before I had a chance to reinforce them. Heart overruled mind like a defiant sparrow leaving a cage. I wept at how good it felt and how painfully I have missed it—love.
The curious thing in all this is my father lives up the street. He still loves me. He would most likely be thrilled if I asked him to come play guitar for me again. I look into my spirit and questioned myself hard: “What is really going on here?” I came the the conclusion that when I was a girl I was loved. When I grew up I searched for that same love in others. I could not find it. I found putrid imitations and reckless people. I found deceit and pain. When you search long for something and keep looking at counterfeits, you tend to forget what the original even looks like. Copies of copies distort the true image. I felt the original today and realized how far off track I have been. It was beautiful to hear it again, but it hurt to know how long it’s been. To be loved purely and simply is the greatest gift. It is not only craved, but necessary through every stage of life. It is proof of our souls within us. When we live without it we die, emotionally and then physically.
I have been dying for too long. I hear the quote about leaving the table when love is no longer being served. I put down my napkin, nod slowly, and calmly walk away. I was excited for the feast, but the extravagant dishes presented on fine china have made me sick. Even the bread and water were poisoned morsels. No more.
I put down my napkin, nod slowly, and calmly walk away. I was excited for the feast, but the extravagant dishes presented on fine china have made me sick.
I have left the banquet of forgeries. It’s been only a few months, but already I am stronger. I am secretly dining on Love that never fails. Love that laid down life for me. Love that sings over me continuously. Love that makes all the unresolved dissonant melodies of the past into beautiful songs of hope and peace. I am on a new path. I am an explorer, an adventurer, and an architect. I am building beautiful stone castles with the headstones of old hurts. My God is resourceful. His ways are good. I will trust and not be afraid.
I will stand amid the eternal ways and what is mine shall know my face.