All Death’s Dealings

I’ve been going through some of my old poems and a few stood out to me that I thought I’d share. This one speaks of the bitterness and cynicism that can fester in our world when we only see the darkness and despair. Realism is great and very necessary but if we aren’t careful we can become brutalists trapped in the spiral of never ending despair.

I felt a tremor but my eyes grew heavy that night.

And a voice whispered words never heard,

the darkness overcoming.

I belonged no where for the briefest of moments.

It was like the light went out inside my skin,

I was there alone.

A grey haze enveloping the tranquil scene that was painted for me.

A force not identified but described by only the shaft of shadow it left.

A sudden loss of all.

Is this how you felt my love being left to hang in place?

Were you scared like I was that night looking for the faintest hint of light?

All darkness taking your life.

I caught a glimpse of who I must become in a split second.

I heard the sound of death and his glaring grin at my light.

I turned around with tears.

The light beams into the darkness, and the darkness is shattered

like death was the moment it felt the most secure in all its dealings.

I am never alone.

Grá (love)
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It’s Ok To Be Sad or Blessed Are The Ones Who Mourn…

One of my favorite records is from a band called Brand New. The album is called ‘The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me.’ I remember when this album came out back in 2006 I saw Brand New play at UVA where they tried out a few new songs from the record. It blew us all away because it was such a different sound from their previous work. Devil and God is an album about as deep as anything I have ever listened to. It deals with death, the after life, questions of evil and good, questions of meaning in the face of senseless acts of violence, and the biggest question of all, is there redemption for humanity after we’ve done all we’ve done? In many ways it would be like Rust from season 1 of True Detective putting an album together of existential thought… ok maybe not that dark. Anyway, there’s a song on this album called “Limousine (MS Rebridge)” that tells the story of a little girl killed at the age of seven. I can’t recall her name but she was a flower girl in her aunt’s wedding on the day she was killed. The family was riding in a Limousine when a drunk driver started driving the wrong way down the highway. When the drunk driver hit the Limo the little girl was decapitated. She was only seven years old. This song starts out with the words,

“Get your petals out and lay them in the aisle
Pretend your garden grows and it’s your day to wed.
We found your man, he’s drinking up, he’s all-American…”

It’s a haunting opening and it breaks my heart to read the words. Toward the end of the song it builds into this massive wailing like I’ve never heard in a song before. He repeats this line from the perspective of the family while counting up to her age, seven. I would encourage you all to listen to this entire record but if you listen to one song listen to this one. I’ve linked the song in this post at the bottom. At least get to the 3:15 marker where it builds. This is a song thats worth your time.

” Well I love you so much, but do me a favor baby, don’t reply.
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.
(never again)
One’ll love you so much, but do me a favor baby, don’t reply.
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.
(never again)
Two’ll love you so much, but do me a favor baby, don’t reply.
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.
(never again)
Three’ll love you so much, but do me a favor, baby don’t reply.
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.
(never again)
Four’ll love you so much, but do me a favor, baby don’t reply.
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.
(never again)
Five’ll will love you so much, but do me a favor, baby don’t reply,
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.
(never again)
Six’ll love you so much, but do me a favor, baby don’t reply.
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.
(never again)
Seven loves you so much, but do me a favor, baby don’t reply.
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.”

We live in a society that doesn’t value the process of mourning. We don’t do ‘sad’ very well at all. When we do feel pain or empathy toward a person in pain we often has the instinct to move forward as quickly as possible without allowing the pain to seep into being, baring the pain of others. We want people to be happy and for our realities to go back to the status quo they were at before so-and-so got sick or before my friend’s daughter was killed. This is an understandable reaction.  Who wants to be sad or who wants to cry? Who wants to feel pain? No one. Which is what makes this next sentence so outrageous. “Blessings on the ones who mourn, they will be comforted.” Jesus actually pronounces a blessing on the people who are currently mourning and in pain. His entire life is spent among those very people. He actually breaks down over the death of one of his close friends to such an extent that hes actually angered at the injustice that is death. This is a man who is very familiar with pain and mourning. And he says you are blessed when you mourn. We should note how ancient Jewish culture would mourn. It was a very big deal. This is where the sackcloth and ashes thing comes from. Often a person would shave their head. It was an event. They wouldn’t just have a funeral and scatter ashes. In our society of ‘he’s in a better place’ we have no real category for the mourners of old. Death doesn’t need to be quietly ushered aside as though it were a natural occurrence. N.T. Wright speak of death as containing the very sorrow of god over the way his creation has split. The creator is very present in the moments of death and this creator mourns with his creation. The truth is that we need to allow ourselves to mourn better than we do especially when we follow a god who allows himself this mourning. This doesn’t mean we escape into a sense of delusional bleakness that coats our reality. We can mourn and allow pain to penetrate us while fully retaining the hope of Life itself. I’ll touch more on that hope later because I really want this to sink in, “blessed are those who mourn,” because this is what god is like.

Seriously watch this video… do it, do it now!

Introductions

By the time you get through setting up a blog I feel like you end up losing whatever you had originally intended to say. Maybe I’m just really impatient when I have an inspiring moment of thought. Maybe I just hate having to sit here for twenty minutes trying to figure out a cool name for a blog only to find out someone has already taken that name. Anyway, here I am again. A new blog. This is probably my tenth blog over the past ten years. Yikes, one every ten years…. And good lord ten years…

People are constantly telling me I should blog. Whether its people who are generally annoyed by my Facebook posts and want me to flesh out my thoughts more or people who enjoy my Facebook or twitter posts and want me to flesh my thoughts out more I think the point is I need to flesh my thoughts out more. Let me be honest, I do not do self promotion very well at all and I can’t stand bandwagons. Both of which are intricately attached to blogs today. They are both ‘cool’ and self promoting to an extent. I’ll try and get over this as much as I can. You know that line from Garden State where the character Sam says, “Do you know what I do when I feel completely unoriginal? I make a noise, or I do something that no one has ever done before. And then I can feel unique again, even if it’s only for a second.” (clip inserted into this post) That pretty much sums up how I feel when I realize I am jumping on a bandwagon or getting into a trend. Yeah yeah yeah insert line about millennials needing to feel unique… and I know its completely reactionary but its honestly just how I feel in those moments. Whether I act on it or not. Side note, I did jump on the beanie bandwagon a couple years ago when that was a thing… I don’t think I pulled it off all that well.

So this is it. This is my blog. Hopefully the last blog I’ll ever have or ever need. I like talking about social issues, comic books, religion, philosophy, and music and art. If this interests you, awesome. If not, its ok. Again I don’t self promote very well so you’ll likely not give this a second thought. I’m going to try and commit to writing at least once a week. If you have followed me on facebook and the ever rising tide of controversy that seems to follow my thoughts, please contact me and let me know if there’s anything you want to discuss. That’s the other thing, I’d like to dialogue more on this blog than simply talk.
Grá (love),

Dan