Ever see a dance so sad and beautiful and painful that it made you cry?
This morning my friend Kris Irvin posted the following as his status.
I’m a Christian, I love Jesus, but I am not alright. I am sick of the facade. I am disgusted at what “christianity” has made me think that I have to be. I hear songs about God turning mourning into dancing, about him taking away all of our pain and sorrows. It just isn’t true. Is it possible, yes, but not the norm. I don’t want to be emotionless, I want to cry, I want to hurt, I want pain, these things are real to me. I also want joy, peace, comfort. I want to be human, because God made me human. He gave me these emotions and I want to embrace them. No one wants their parents to tell them to stop crying when they are in pain and hurting, they want them to hold them close. I want God to hold me close.
Shit happens and let’s be honest, life NEVER seems fair, and I don’t want to act like it is. No more facade, no more smiles to hide the pain. I embrace what God has made me and I hold onto the fact that sometimes it isn’t just going to be all better right away.
And when sorrow can’t rejoice, he holds me close.
This is truth. Naked, beautiful, honest, ugly truth.
Shortly after I read his post The CBE Scroll arrived in my inbox. It said in part:
God tells us that when we want an accurate picture of himself, we should look at his Son whom he sent as a tangible representation of Divinity; transcendence made flesh; God made human. In Scripture, I find that Christ was moved deeply by feeling. He was filled with compassion, love, loyalty, hope, and sometimes even righteous anger. Christ’s emotions moved him to be surrounded by the sick, the dirty, and the poor. His emotions led him to wash his friends’ feet, and weep when his friend Lazarus died. He told us to love one another, act with compassion, to be merciful. Christ was anything but a numb, distant, and “thick skinned” leader. Christ felt things, and he felt them deeply.
Years ago, at a workshop which is now called The Encounter, Derek Watson said, “Why do you laugh in the face of what sorrow brings?”
It is a brilliant question. I learned later that Derek was actually quoting the great Bob Dylan in his song, What Good Am I. The last verse says,
What good am I if I say foolish things
And I laugh in the face of what sorrow brings
And I just turn my back while you silently die
What good am I?
You can read the lyrics or listen to the full song here.
When I was in theater in high school, our teacher Mr. Avery (or just Avery, as we used to call him) would remind us that when things were particularly sad or tense or difficult not to be surprised when the audience laughed. Why is that do you suppose? Is it our mask, is it our upbringing, or is it just the voice in our head that calls us weak?
In Romans 12:15, Jesus asks us to rejoice with the rejoicing and weep with the weeping. He asks us to entwine our hearts with those around us so that they beat to the same music. So that the music of life, the rise and fall, rise and fall of the driving happy beats and the sorrowful moans of the cello become the soundtrack by which we live and breathe. And when “sorrow can’t rejoice, he holds [us] close.” We need to allow our feet to move to the beat of the music of the heart we are entwined with and allow our arms to encircle our brother or sister who in their sorrow just simply needs to be held and know they are not alone.
Jesus, Kris and Dylan, thank you for the invitation to dance.