When All Else Fails…

Sometimes you just need to sit on the porch with a good friend, watching the North Carolina sunrise. And sometimes the conversations need to be vulnerable, with a hint of exhaustion and a visible frustration. And as Chris Night sings about the back roads that lead to his mother’s house, we both know you can’t go back.
I would give anything to do it all over again…
Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I imagine that I am 18 and I have my whole life in front of me. I would have gone to Cornerstone and Mars Hill and North Park or maybe Fuller but in the end, I would have been a prodigy. I would have learned from all of the best, and become even better. I would have been the catalyst for a revolution in a city of spiritual pollution, I would have been the voice of a generation, seeking the Way, Truth, and Life.
But the personal pronouns have hijacked the glory of the One I have tried so hard to hide behind. And the illumination of the stage lights have demanded an exit, stage-right. And the curtain can’t hide the shame and the internal bleeding is one octave too high for the oppositional defiant disorder that refuses to conclude a run-on sentence like a train without breaks and a fist in the dark swinging at the voices of damn and erasers against flesh and we both know this won’t end well but you said you’d never leave me and yet this basement is hollow and I can’t bring myself to pick up the pieces of the church planters’ tool kit complete with twelve cassette tapes and a thousand pages hurled violently against the brick wall and my knuckles bleeding and then he asked, are you having any thoughts about self-harm?
I wish I could go back to Byron Road and standing in the driveway, the first time I kissed Jamie. It was October of ’99, and in those days the Oak Trees used to shimmer like the sun melting into Lake Michigan. I would have told her to wait for me, I’ll catch up to the man she needs me to become. And then maybe I would tell her to run away because I’m only capable of bringing pain to those who love me. Or maybe I would just hold her in a Kairos moment, and surrender to the freeze of a photograph in front of the Bible Baptist Temple when all we knew was true and there was no ceiling, only the expanse of an open sky – blue to her, grey to me. I wish I could go back to the hope and wonder and the optimism and the glass have full.
Sometimes you just need to exit the highway, and pull into an abandoned parking lot. Sit in the drivers seat hovering over weeds beneath the shade tree on Highway 40 – and put on some Bon Iver and crack the windows while you fall asleep. The exhaustion has finally caught up, and I can not go any further…
“Come on skinny love just last the year,
Pour a little salt – we were never here…
Who will love you?
Who will fight?
And who will fall far behind?”

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