Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Way Back Wednesday

On Wednesdays one of our local radio stations plays "Way Back Wednesdays", where they play old music (mostly 80s, early 90s) for the afternoon and, I imagine, old people wax nostalgic about seeing Van Halen in concert or dressing like cone-bra Madonna for Halloween. Old people do that, you know?

Well, recently I tuned in for a brief moment to Way Back Wednesday just in time to hear "Lightning Crashes" by Live, followed by an array of Pearl Jam songs. What was my immediate thought?

"What happened to Way Back Wednesday? Is it a holiday or something? Because surely, SURELY Pearl Jam isn't playing right now. That's my music, and I'm not old!"

But, alas, it was Way Back Wednesday and Pearl Jam is like 15 years old or something and I'm now approaching a point in my life where 15 years ago I was a teenager. Not quite, but close.

Anyway, I say all of that for my next story, which doesn't have a lot to do with the previous story but it's how I get to the next thought.

That incident caused me to dig out the CD's piled up in books in a bag in the trunk of my car. Many of those CD's were transferred over to the new wave of easy listening, my trusty 30 GB iPod (which is already as outdated as my CD's). But there are still several that haven't made the transfer and I decided to break them out.

I went through a phase for a while where I was only into Christian music. Not that it's a bad thing, just interesting. I still like Christian music because it sounds so much like the Top 40 Rock I love these days. Anyway, I stumbled across my collection and was drawn to a Michael W. Smith CD called "Live the Life". 1998 was the release date, which would have put me in my junior/senior year of high school.

The entire album is incredible, just so you know. It's powerful in all the right ways and moving and leaves you feeling spiritual--even without the lyrics. I would say it's probably MWS's best work that I've heard. I've played it a hundred times since last Tuesday when I dug it out and it gets me every time.

If you get a chance, listen to the CD. From the first track you will be moved, a song called "Missing Person".

But the real gem of this album is Track 4, called "Unloved". I found a video on YouTube that has the song in it....I don't like the video that much, but I wanted you to be able to hear the song.

I'll be honest--I don't always dig deep to understand my relationship with God. God and I have a conversational relationship...rarely do I get on my knees and really consume myself in prayer. Mostly it's continuing a conversation I started in the shower or drive to work and we just catch up as I go through my day. I'm not saying it's right, but it's how we connect.

I've been feeling a lot of disappointment lately, even though there are few things to be disappointed about. And it's natural to get bitter and frustrated and hopeless. I don't think I'm the kind of kid God is exactly proud of these days (though it's not like I'm the black sheep of the family....just the bitter older child who thinks too much, probably). I've been angry and frustrated and it's amazing what being seriously hopeless will do to your attitude. So, when I listened to this song again for the first time about a week ago, I lost it. I don't know why it was so powerful and so moving....but it was. It hit me like a ton of bricks.

Do you ever stop and think about how powerful that is? I think I struggle with all the things so many of us struggle with: being cynical and pessimistic in the face of unrelenting blessings; sarcasm in the face of kindness; hopelessness in a world where technology and medicine and opportunity have provided answers for even the hardest of questions. And I boldly struggle with my faith and my actions right in front of God. But I can be as unwise, unsure, unreachable, unfaithful as anyone can possibly be...and I will never be unloved.

Anyway...I don't often stop and think about how powerful love is. How powerful true, unconditional, deep, understanding love is. This song made me think about that, and made me so truly thankful to experience that. To understand who God is and know that he's always there and ready to forgive me and bless me and hang out with me anytime I'm ready to be there. I don't always have the strength or the will to pray, to continually ask him for help (I've got a couple of friends covering for me when I can't do it), but it's awfully nice to know he's there. Always.


Emily said...

"Lightning Crashes" totally reminds me of 8th grade. And that was only...good gosh THIRTEEN years ago!

Amy said...

You're just a baby - a senior in 1998?!

And I struggle with the same things you do. I think you said it so well.

But we're always growing, and I don't think we'll ever get past the tip of the iceburg to understanding God's love.

And I think He really enjoys just hanging out.

Julia said...

Good song.

Any way you connect with God is never wrong. And He's always proud. Especially of people like you, Jessica. I think God would be disappointed if you went through the motions of mindless prayer that didn't really mean anything rather than the conversations you two have. I think if anyone asked, He'd say He enjoys your conversations as much as you do. And, I bet He'd say He couldn't be more proud of you.