Turbulence and Transformation.

I’ve been trying for nearly 5 hours now to somehow squeeze the last week or so of my life into a single blog and my 3 attempts thus far have failed miserably. I have 10 minutes to be back home for family night, and I don’t want to leave here unsuccessfully. So here goes nothing:

One of my strongest desires has always been to use this blog to tell stories in multiple formats. Mostly through words and music (hence the name of the blog) and images. I’m gonna capitalize on that today. So much has happened since my last blog post that I don’t have the time to expound on it all the way I want to, so I’ll navigate all of it through the role these songs played in it all.

Find Me- Wynton Marsalis & Jennifer Sanon

This song is my heart cry right now. This is the world I see and share with you, and the world that hurts just as badly as you and I do. I couldn’t say enough to stress the pain, but these two say it all so beautifully.

I see, I see shattered people
Roaming the streets night and day.
Say can you see?
See what I see.
See their minds.
I see tattered ragmen, reaching for eyes of a friend.
None can be found.
Oh I see you pleading, see your crazy stare.
See you as you’re falling, dropping everywhere.
And it goes round and round and round and round.
It goes round and round and round and round
It goes round and round and round and can you see?
Where we stand
You and me?
I see starving people screaming,
Crushed as we rush on our way
Say can you see?
Can you see me?
Hear my cries.
I see women dragging souls of their womb vanquished dreams,
Never to be.
Yes I see you tremble.
See your angry eyes, see you as you’re falling, thrown back to the skies.
And it goes round and round and round and round.
It goes round and round and round and round
It goes round and round and round and can you see?
Where we stand
You and me?
I see scattered people praying
Stick figures chant ghostly names
Say have you seen
Have you seen me?
Seen my life?
I see people dying running with bags full of gold lost on the wind.
I see cities crumble, ripped apart inside
I see mountains tumble, nothing will survive.
And it goes round and round and round and round
It goes round and round and round and round
It goes round and round and round and can you see?
Here we stand
You and me.

Letting Go- Lupe Fiasco feat. Sarah Green

Lupe’s music is always powerful and this song came at a time I didn’t even appreciate it fully. I heard it again this week though, and it rocked me for a couple reasons. There was a guy named Ryan who I vaguely knew in middle and high school to be a jerk. He went to my church and was extremely popular, but wasn’t living for Christ at all. I hated him for it. Fast forward 5-10 years and he is suddenly a kindred spirit, a brother, I have a huge amount of respect for him and over the last several months, we’ve enjoyed a couple of long, deep, and wide conversations and we share a passion for the Gospel, art, an media (He went to film school and is an aspiring actor!). Last week, our conversation took us to the music industry and interestingly to Lupe and his music. We talked about trying to be a solitary light in darkness is too much for one person and how Lupe’s music has been reflecting how its overwhelmed and is overcoming him. In this song Lupe speaks very openly about what its doing to him.

My self portrait shows a man that the wealth tortured
Self-absorbed with his own self-forfeit
A shelf full of awards
Worshiping the war ships that set sail on my sea of life
When I see my own self I wonder if we still see a light
We was tight seeing lights
Speaking right and breathing life
Now I see my demons and barely even sleep at night
I don’t get high life keep me at a decent height
As the old me I predicted all my recent plights
Exhausted. Trying to fall asleep. Losses at my recent fights
Burdens on my shoulders now, burnin’ all my motives down
Inspiration drying up, motivation slowing down

We came to the conclusion that we need each other, and I’m supporting his vision to pull together a group of Christian artists in our area for mutual accountability, outreach, and discipleship. Pray for us.

Dig- Propaganda & Odd Thomas

As you all know, this has been a terribly turbulent season for me, and it only becomes more and more so as the days go on. This song has been an essential in keeping me grounded and focused on God and my goals. My favorite part is the last verse:

I’m not the artist, I’m the canvas

Remind me of my own words, though I can’t stand it

Hold me accountable, call me on my laziness

Call me by my birth name, look me in the face and dig

You’ve gotta dig

If I ever lose sight come and get me

you’ve gotta dig

I’ve been subjecting myself to a lot of scrutiny and accountability from lots of people recently, because I want to be surrounded by people who I can trust with my life and with my growth. I want to be the best man I can possibly be, and that’s only going to happen with lots of good, Godly counsel. Like Prop says, if I start straying, I want someone to hit me hard and set me straight, as many people as possible, as many people who love me.

Yes, the song order is on purpose, I wanted you to go on the redemptive journey that I’ve been taking over this last week. From long work days, fickle fights with words, being faced with ugly scars of the past springing up, and watching loved ones make horrible decisions. All the way to seeing old friends grow up, finding my new voice and coming of age myself, discovering new lifelong companions, and my entire time being punctuated by deeper levels of peace by God’s providence, and seeing God’s plans fall into place while realizing a powerful truth.

Thank you for the heartbreaks, the stress, the drama, the disappointment, the struggles, and the sadness. The encouragement, joint soul searching, criticism, music, and love. God is doing something incredible with all of it.

Everything is perfect, it is always exactly as it should be, the way that God intended: Perfect.

How’s that for peace?

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