A Terrifying Lullaby

Tonight I wrote a paper for my Old Testament class.  I turn it in tomorrow, but I don’t want to wait till then to post it here.  I think it needs to be posted tonight.  It’s nothing long or extraordinary – it’s a Job response paper.  Job as in Job from the Bible, with the suffering and questioning and comfort.  Well, it’s always been comfort for me.  I talk about that in the paper.  The premise of the paper is simply to talk about the point of Job as we understand it.  Because Job isn’t about refining fire or growing closer to God because of suffering or even that being a Christian will make you happy and content.  The point is this: Do I follow God because He can make me happy, and I want to be happy, or do I follow God because I must, because He is everything I’ve got and because His joy is eternal and because ohmygoodnessHeIsGod.  (And yes, I know that is technically a question, but I needed the sentence to end with a period so I did it anyway.  Sometimes, you just have to break grammar rules.)

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I often find myself going to Job for comfort.  Throughout high school, I remember pouring over Job (occasionally moving to the more depressing portions of the Psalms for variety), as if I was searching for some semblance of reason behind my pain, some definitive promise of “all will be well.”  Once, after months of living in Job, I remember stopping abruptly and questioning my insistence on finding what I was looking for in this particular book.  It felt like I was just seeking comfort in the fact that someone had suffered a whole lot worse than I ever had – and if that was the case, I was obviously evil, or so I thought.  No one who really loves God delights in someone else’s pain, even if it was the pain of some ancient, long-dead Bible guy.  I related all this to my mentor and youth pastor at the time, wondering why I kept returning to Job even though I never felt better afterwards.  I only ever felt vindicated in my sullenness.  She told me she didn’t think I was comparing myself to Job; rather, she thought maybe I just longed for what Job longed for: I wanted God to speak.  I wanted Him to tell me I was wrong, that I couldn’t understand Him, that His plan was too vast to comprehend, and therefore my trials were as well.

I read Job differently after that.  I read it with my true intentions in mind: in the midst of my own pain, I wanted God to assure me of His glory.  I wanted a reminder of why I chose Him even though nothing made sense.  I didn’t have real, concrete words to put to my intentions for a long time.  But in a book of the Bible so many people avoid for its gloom, I found solace.  I read God’s responses in Job and I tried to imagine myself standing in the middle of a great desert, being talked down by the God of the Universe.  I imagine it would be the most terrifying lullaby in the world.  To have Yahweh calm my spirit by unveiling my eyes to my own insignificance was a joy.  In His words to Job, God was also proving to me that as hard as I tried, as controlling I thought I was, I could never come close to getting it right.  You see, I yearn for order.  I can read a person’s voice and tell you his feelings, then predict what he is going to do in order to launch a counter-attack for my own advantage.  I like to be in control, and I’ve gotten horribly good at it – earthly speaking.  But I hated that I was like that, growing up.  I hated that I drove myself sick with worry over my lack of control, that there were so many things far out of my control.  I worked hard to combat this trait throughout high school.  No one would see it, but inside, I was grasping blindly for an order that I could never truly master.  I had gotten so good at having a perfect life, but I was crumbling.  I wanted someone to tell me it was okay to let go.  I wanted to be told I couldn’t do it.  So I read Job, because that is exactly what God tells him.

When I finally got a grip on myself in college, when I finally started to understand the “letting go” thing, I had time to think about the process.  I had time to reflect on why I sinned the way I sinned, why I thought there would be comfort in control.  I realized that when my mind felt frenzied, it was because I thought there would be satisfaction in the end I could achieve.  If I could master my life, if I could ensure that everything would always fall into place exactly right, then I could be content.  I worshipped – I still often worship – control.  I worshipped my own power.  But in the back of my mind, or in my heart of hearts, I knew I could never do it myself.  I knew that I was inadequate.  I knew I needed God to control everything, not just the aspects of my life that were easy.  I knew I needed to trust Him.  I was born into a community of people who trusted Christ.  I grew up in a family of loving, wonderful people who, despite their faults and trials and humanity, knew they needed Christ.  But I am so, so stubborn.  I wouldn’t let go unless I was forced.  And God, in His infinite grace and love, kept a spark burning within me that sought truth.  As cliché as it sounds – and I do not like cliché’s, so I only use them when absolutely necessary – God led me to Job.  He instilled in me a love of Job.  Because He knew I’d hear Him there.

I have tried hard my whole life to follow Christ.  In the ever-referenced Seasons of the Life of a Christian, I have thoroughly experienced each one.  I have been the ideal church-going Christian girl, leader of her youth group and the next-generation hope of the local congregation, all while a darkness lived inside me that I didn’t understand.  I’ve been to the mountaintop, in the height of summer, blazing and on fire, truly, for my God.  I have prayed with passion and with legality.  I have been inexplicably joyful and inexplicably lost.  And I think we are all like this.  I do not think an ideal Christian exists; I do not think anyone is perfectly content for long.  We are cyclical beings, depressed for a season and then consumed with peace the next.  I think it is normal, but not natural – we weren’t made to feel empty, but we fell, and maybe when we fell we sprang a slow leak.  Job’s story, while extreme, is not too unlike that of many.  I question God constantly, even now, when I finally feel like I am beginning to really fall in love with Him.  We have been friends for my whole life, but these past few years I feel like I truly understand why people have called Him the Prince of Peace, the Lover of the soul, the Good Shepherd.  But I am still so often full of doubt.  It comes down to this, though: do I call Him my Lover, my Prince, my Friend, my Father, because of the way He makes me feel, or do I call Him this because He is Yahweh?  Is it about me, or is it about Him?  If it’s about me, then I only read Job because it makes me feel like I’m not alone.  It makes me feel vindicated in my anger.  But if it is about Him, then I read Job because He sings the most terrifying, beautiful lullaby, and nothing else can satisfy.  He doesn’t tell me all will be well; He tells me something even better:

 

“Who are you?  Because I Am God.”

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But Then on Monday.

This week, my dorm did this thing called Confidence Week.  The premise of the week was that we were supposed to forgo putting on makeup, wear plain clothes, cover all the mirrors, not spend time on our hair, and so forth.  When my RA first told us about it a couple weeks ago, I thought it was completely ridiculous.  You see, I am like a machine set to automatically reject anything that sounds cliche or remotely contrived.  I’m like a child, spitting up the mashed apricots or peas the moment it touches her lips, without ever even tasting it.  I don’t like anything that might possibly sound like A Lesson.

And Confidence Week sounded like the biggest cliched lesson around.  We reject cultural norms of beauty so that we can truly see that God created us all beautiful no matter what?  Yeah… haven’t heard that one before.  The depth – or, in my eyes, lack thereof – was almost insulting.

As you can see, I can be far, far too cynical for my own good.

But I did think a lot about it, and I did stick it in my prayers, mostly as an afterthought.  The more I thought about it and talked to people about it, the more I saw the value in it.  Personally, I don’t put a huge amount of stock in makeup or clothes.  My makeup regimen takes about five minutes (powder, eyeliner, mascara, done), and I generally cycle through outfits on a two-week rotating schedule.  I love clothes, and I love looking nice, but I don’t put my worth in it.  I like makeup, mostly because it helps me not look like a 14-year-old, but summers at camp have taught me not to worry too much when I’m not wearing any.  I rarely do anything more than blow-dry my hair, occasionally putting a clip in it, so that wasn’t a big deal either.  But I knew that I did put a certain amount of confidence in these things, and many of my sisters in Christ really did struggle in this area.  My cynicism wasn’t helping anything.

So this Monday, I didn’t put makeup on.  I wore a plain blue sweater, and I barely glimpsed myself in the mirror as I left my still-dark room.  No one really noticed the change, or at least they didn’t say anything if they did.  My day was normal.  I didn’t feel any different.

At least until four o’clock.  Monday afternoon, I was performing in a scene for my friend’s Directing II class.  The students in the class basically conduct rehearsals and prepare a scene with some volunteer actors for a couple weeks, then the scenes are performed in class and  the directors get graded on their choices or their staging or their rehearsal process – something like that.  I had performed in a few scenes last semester for a Directing I class, so the whole process was pretty familiar to me.  I benefited from it – I got experience with different types of plays, I got to refine my own technique, and I got to work with some other really talented student actors and directors.  And as a communications major, I do have a significant amount of time on my hands for this type of thing.  This time, we were performing a scene from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.  We were setting it in a contemporary garden, so a little before four, I put on some makeup, a flowy mint green dress, and pearls, and headed to the auditorium.

I was so nervous.  I didn’t know why – we knew our scene, we knew our lines, everything was going to go smoothly.  I wasn’t afraid to mess up.  I wasn’t afraid of people watching – I thrive on people watching me perform.  I love performing.  I couldn’t figure it out – the killer butterflies who live inside me were gnawing away at my stomach, and I had no idea why.

The scene, just under ten minutes long, flew by.  The aforementioned killer butterflies dispersed the moment my director said “Action,” and the scene went wonderfully.  I was so proud of my fellow actors and of my director.  We watched the other scene, which was also stunning, and class was over.

Then something wild happened.  And I can’t really explain it in neat words, so I’ll just say it like it felt: it was like taking a drink of what you thought was water and getting lemonade.  It was like walking from a dark room into the sunlight, and staggering back a few paces.  It was like collapsing into bed after a long day at the amusement part, but not falling asleep.  I felt – aimless.  Confused.  Empty.

Do you know what the postpartum blues are?  It’s like a less-severe form of postpartum depression.  You spend nine months with this baby in you and then there is a baby outside of you and everything is weird.  At least (having never had a baby myself, obviously), that’s how I understand it.  I could be totally wrong.  But the illustration is what I want you to get: spending a certain amount of time and energy on life, looking forward to this great amazing thing, then turning around and finding the great amazing thing has happened, and now life has to return to normal.

Being an artist is like having perpetually-recurring bouts of postpartum blues, minus the Having An Infant thing.  For me, at least.  (But I have this sneaky feeling I’m not the only one.)  You see, I will spend hours and hours formulating a poem in my heart and my head, and then it will all come flowing out of me.  When I see it there on paper, it’s like an illusion.  How could all my thoughts, all my emotions be summed up in three pages?  How is it possible for those words to be adequate for what I was imagining?  I know I’ve created something, but I don’t understand what I’ve created.  The same goes for stories, but those rarely make it to the page.  I’ll write bits and pieces of hidden novels, and sometimes it is beautiful but sometimes it seems meaningless.  When I paint, no matter how much I like what I produce, I’m never fully satisfied.  And when I act – when I act, it is the worst.  I’ll put weeks into rehearsal, whether for a full production or for shorter scenes.  I will throw my heart into it: it’s like the character lives in my pocket, pointing out other people who look like her, or whispering her past in my ear, or pushing me to memorize her words.  No matter how inconsequential the final performance might be – whether it’s for a class or on a stage – I fall in love with it.  I develop big ideas for it.  I come to believe I can live up to it.  But as I get closer to performance, the more I start to doubt myself.  The more I notice the talent of others.  The more I believe I’ve made up any talent I thought I had.  When the performance is over, my head knows I did fine, but some beastly voice inside me tells me it wasn’t enough.  And I am empty.

When it happens, it never lasts long.  I call it an artistic funk.  I don’t say much about it, and it goes away within a day.  But Monday night was a particularly strong artistic funk.  And I did not like it.  All of a sudden, I felt like I was not the person I thought I was.  In high school, I did everything.  And everyone always noticed.  In college, I had to start over, which I was okay with, as a freshman.  But now I’m almost finished with my sophomore year, and I feel terrifyingly ordinary.  I had never felt ordinary – it wasn’t like an arrogant thing, just simply that I recognized that I was good at stuff, I liked stuff, people liked me and the stuff I created, and I found validation in all of it.

On Monday night, I felt no validation.  I felt grossly untalented.  I saw the gifts of others and then I looked at myself and it was like I had done nothing.  And who was I if I hadn’t done anything?

You could call it a miniature identity crisis.  I would label it as such.  I was questioning my future goals based on a momentary feeling.  In a word, it was irrational.  In two words, it was ridiculously irrational.  But on Monday night, I felt like someone had taken the batteries out of the well-oiled, intricately tuned instrument that was my life.

I wrote a poem in my attempt to deal with the onslaught of inadequate feelings (because that is what I do).  I had two amazing conversations with friends who, to my surprise, knew very much what I was feeling, even though I couldn’t have explained it all too well.  The following day, a pastor spoke on God’s calling for our lives, saying that we weren’t meant to bumble through life looking for a place to fit in our gifts – God had created our gifts for an unimaginably specific reason.

God was trying to talk to me.  And for once in my ridiculous life, I chose to listen.

“Courtney, don’t you see that you are not the sum of your talent?  Don’t you understand that I molded you as an artist for a reason?  Don’t you get that you’re doing exactly what I want you to be doing?  My will is not something for which you have to grope in the dark.”

And in the light of His majesty, my inadequacies began to fade into shadow.  I made myself pay attention to the talents of others not as something to compare myself to, but as something to cherish and praise God for.  I made myself accept my poem and my scene and my aspirations as valid, worthwhile blessings.  Because that is what they are.

I didn’t think Confidence Week was going to mean much to me.  Turns out, I needed it more than ever.  It’s true, I really don’t find worth in the things I wear or the makeup I put on my face.  I am empowered by those things, yes.  But I am not discouraged without them.  As I sat with my unit-mates, reflecting midway through Confidence Week, I realized – so much of my confidence dwells in my gifts.  I base a huge amount of my worth on my ability to write, my ability to create, my ability to act, to learn, to play music and to find meaning and to conceptualize a vision.  But instead of becoming arrogant, I’ve become flippantly self-deprecating (which is really just another form or arrogance, isn’t it?).  Over the years, I have come to put so much stock in the idea of being an artist that I doubt I can actually be one.  My heart sees me from within so it knows my passion, but my eyes are blind to the value of what I produce.  I let something that is not of God trick me into thinking that I am not good enough.  Then I feel empty.  Because I start to question the satisfaction that can come from the blessings of the Lord.

What made me believe that I was not good enough?  But more than that, why do I let myself think that God’s call is not good enough?

It would be easy to summarize my tumultuous week by saying that I can now find confidence in my gifts because God gave them to me and I am not as boring as I thought I was and cue the Veggie Tales theme music and voila.  But, of course, that would completely miss the point of Confidence Week.  Because really, I couldn’t be the person I am without Yahweh.  Without His grace, I wouldn’t be a writer.  I wouldn’t be creative, because He was the first Great Creator.  For His glory I have chosen to pursue mastery of my gifts – I can never forget that.  The moment I forget the One who bestows is the moment everything I do becomes obsolete.  My confidence can’t be in the things I do, even if I recognize God’s hand in those things.

My confidence has got to be in the only One who can make me feel full.

 

A Sonnet

I realize that the last few posts have been poetry, and I sort of apologize for that.  I don’t apologize for the poetry itself, but I do know that sometimes poetry can be sort of confusing and exclusive and I really don’t intend this blog to become a place solely for poems.  But I hope you’ll take it all in stride – my soul has been particularly heavy with words over the last week or so, and I’m glad I have this place to deposit those words.  My poetry is just as important and meaningful to me as my essay-like prose.  It’s another way I figure things out.

I am formulating one of those essay-like things in my head currently, to be up Saturday night at the latest.  My dorm is doing this thing called Confidence Week, where we don’t wear makeup and we cover the mirrors and stuff.  I, however, have taken a slightly different approach to Confidence Week – and the following poem was the start of my discovery as to where my confidence lies.  I wrote this a few days ago, after a couple days of having an artistic cold (as in, it was like my nose was all stuffed up but instead of my nose, my brain and heart were all stuffed up with words and I couldn’t figure out how to get them out).  Then, I had a particularly challenging day on Monday and the result was this poem.  The day wasn’t challenging in that it was a hard day – really, it was just a deep day.  A lot to think about.

Anyway, you’ll see that post soon.  In the meantime, I’m sharing this piece.  I was hesitant to do so – still am – because it sounds sort of dark.  But it’s not.  It’s only honest.  Don’t be afraid of something honest, because the most true stuff is usually also hard to swallow.  It’s meant to be read aloud – preferably by me – but if I’m not around, it might help to read it out loud to yourself.  I wrote it to the song Spiegel Im Spiegel, too.  It’s called A Sonnet, for various reasons.

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I am not like everyone else.An enigma but only a shrouded one.
A breath but only a gasped one.
I flirt with this world as though it meant something.
I exist like I’m important but I’m not.
What do you think when you are collapsing?
To whom do you run when no one sees you coming?
They’ve always told me that everyone was special.
So I believed that included me.
With my talents so rare and precious,
my flittering eyes begging to be caught.
You tell me what I do means something.
But I can’t place it anymore.
I thought I was a magnet
but perhaps I’m turned the wrong way.
They called me special but failed to admit that I was only just.
I am enough for my small portion –
Risk a bit, yes.
But a distance is kept that confuses me.
It goes against who I thought I was:
I thought I was a stolen breath,
a wide-eyed blessing.
But what the hell is going on?
Do I trust you all or not?
I want to come into my own.
I want to be magnificent to someone.
Don’t you get it?
There is some blackness living inside me that I don’t understand.
I am convinced both that I am alone
and that I am only one honest with the universe.
How quick broken hearts feign healing.
Are you all as mixed up as I am?
How quickly people are forgotten.
How quick we are to pretend life is normal.
I am not like everyone else,
but only because I’ve admitted it.
Break through my icy veil
so I can glimpse she who hides in the depths of my soul.
If you saw her,
would she be more than special?
Would she be the magnet people call her?
When you find her,
tell her to keep going.
Tell her she is only lost because no one will search hard enough.
She is not like everyone else,
and maybe she doesn’t need to be.

Pith

I do not have anything meaningful within me,
she mused.  Mostly it is this shallow blackness,
deeply rooted in some rocky heart.
I don’t know if you want it.

I looked up the definition and they told me
it was a muscle that contracts and dilates,
bringing life to where life can’t reach on its own,
shriveling up and expanding to the tune of some
tireless divine drummer.

A tangled web of contradictions is nestled
in the cold waters of a soul long-dead.
You may use what you can of me,
but be warned that it is not much.

In the shadow of that tree trunk cross
she sat, fading away into the trees and the air around her.
I don’t think this wrung-out mind can think much more,
she mused.  Half the time it sings praises,
but usually it just exists.

She was a broken stained-glass window,
dirty and cracked but filtering some sort of dusty light
through her marbled pane.
She faced outward, overlooking the cars that drove past the church,
afraid of who she might find if she turned around.

In the woods she found him,
waiting at the edge of the lake.
She thrust her dried-out heart at him and swore he would find it lacking.
High above the glassy water,
she wept for something she didn’t understand.

I don’t understand why love is so contradictory,
she mused.  How it can breeze in and away like a storm
or a scent.
This isn’t how it is supposed to be.

I don’t understand why people are like love,
too inaccessible and temporal.
Why do we promise a love we neither see nor believe?
This is wrong, she says.

And then this: some loud whisper of solace.

She was a broken stained-glass window but she was bright nonetheless.
Too colorful for her own good but
too close to shattering with the right amount of sun.
Her eyes are losing as the brilliance awakens the night.

If it means living forever, I can die once,
she mused.  If it means this torn-up heart can be patched anew,
I will let you own it.
They told me it when it expands it is only preparing to shrink again,
but maybe with you it will be different.

Maybe the pumping of one Heart can suffice for all the life that must circulate.
Maybe, she mused, there was a difference between being undead and being immortal.
Splitting the glass with a water-worn stone,
she let the light all the way through.

If this was love that could be seen through,
she believed she finally wanted it.

Transitional Orchestration

Finishing anything is always really weird for me.  I don’t do transitions very well, so it’s less the ending that is hard; it’s the something else that gets me.  The past five summers, I’ve lived at camp for around eight or nine weeks straight, and even after that many summer-to-fall transitions, it never felt right that something should just exist and then not exist.  It never felt right that one day I should wake up at camp, caring for children and playing games with them, living with my best friends, having the responsibilities of so many parents’ worlds on your shoulders, and then the next day wake up at home, finished.  It doesn’t make sense that life shifts so quickly.

Tonight we finished up a two-week run of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a musical based on story of Joseph from Genesis.  I worked on the hair and makeup crew for this one, so I was really only part of it for these last two weeks.  It’s the second production I’ve worked on here at school, and I felt so at home with everyone, doing what I was doing.  And now we’re done.  Something that took a lot of people many months to build will begin to disintegrate tomorrow.  My roots didn’t even grow deep in this project, but there is still an uncomfortable tug as I walk away from it.

In Joseph, there is this wacky musical number called the Megamix.  It’s the finale, basically: most of the songs you just spent an hour and a half listening to are reprised as a disco-club beat thumps in the background.  When you think about it, it doesn’t make a lick of sense in the actual story (because really, the story is over and now you’re hearing the story again).  The thing with Joseph, though, is that you sort of assume that it shouldn’t make sense, so everything just seems normal.  Even so, one night I asked my friend what the purpose of the Megamix was.

“Probably because Jacob and Joseph’s brothers seeing Joseph again isn’t really much of an ending.”

Of course that is why Andrew Lloyd Webber and his musical cohorts wrote in the Megamix finale.  Because the audience needed a concrete ending.  I’m convinced that the reason musicals need big finishing numbers is because humans need eight or so minutes to prepare themselves for the world outside the theatre.  They need to be properly re-acclimated to life.  They have to know that a transition is coming.

I’ve been studying Joseph’s story in Genesis over the run of this show.  Really reading it, you know – looking for the point of it all.  I’ve seen the show about seven thousand times by now – I want to see the Truth from which it comes.  It’s this beautiful story of redemption, of God doing what God does.  His plans, His provision.

Sometimes I wonder what the real Joseph and his brothers would say if they came to see a production of the musical.  If they had a tagline for their lives, I don’t think it would be “any dream will do.”  Because just any dream won’t do a thing.  If Joseph taught us anything, it’s that his dreaming thing wasn’t a thing he just did – it was a thing God gave to him so that God could use Joseph to save lives.  I mean, Joseph even says so.

“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I had a dream last night, and no one here can tell me what it means.  But I have heard that when you hear about a dream you can interpret it.”It is beyond my power to do this,’ Joseph replied.  ‘But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.'”

And then Joseph, a kid who was hated by his brothers, wrongly imprisoned in a distant country, kneeling before the king of Egypt (a man who could literally say one word to end Joseph’s life) – then he’s made into a prince.

But the Lord still isn’t done yet.

Years pass and Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt, starved and dying.  Joseph, who recognizes them but is not recognized himself, now holds in his hands the power to punish the family who left him for dead.  Can you even imagine what must be going through Joseph’s head?  Countless nights he might have lain awake, first a teenager, then a young man, wrestling with a pain you and I probably can’t fathom: Why did they hate me so much?  Joseph may have found himself in the second most powerful position in the world, but that doesn’t mean he was alright.  Then, one day, all of his brothers are kneeling at his feet, fulfilling his dream, begging for his mercy.

He has to know.  Right?  Wouldn’t we all have to know?  Has anything changed?  Is anything different?  Did it hurt you as much as it hurt me? 

One of the most moving parts in Joseph the musical is the few transition seconds between Joseph accusing Benjamin of stealing his golden cup and Judah stepping up to sing Benjamin Calypso.  That is when the audience sees the pain on Judah’s face.  That’s when the audience knows something is different.

In the Bible, it’s clear that though Reuben is the eldest brother, Judah is the leader.  He calls the shots.  Reuben didn’t want to kill Joseph – he wanted to come back and rescue him.  But Judah concocted the plot to sell Joseph instead, making it look like a wild animal mauled his brother.  The reason Joseph was a prince in Egypt was because Judah, in his hatefulness, wanted to make some money and win some favor.  But God had better plans.

When Benjamin is accused, Judah offers up his own life instead.  Judah saw the torture Joseph’s “death” caused his father Jacob; he knew the loss of Benjamin would mean the death of Jacob.  He couldn’t do it again.  After all these years, Judah and his brothers were begging for mercy.  They were asking for Benjamin’s freedom in place of their own.

And then Joseph does the thing I might never have done.  He forgives them.  He weeps with joy, because the ones he has never stopped thinking about this entire time are back.  Every night, when I watched recognition dawn on Judah’s face, when I saw Joseph pick him up and hug him – this beautiful hug full of forgiveness and acceptance and strength and love – every night, chills flew up my arms at the sight.

The story could have been over then.  But as the Megamix began, awakening the audience to the reality on the other side of the theatre doors, all I wanted to think about was Jesus.

Because I am Judah.  I am the one who auctions off my affections to this world, searching for base satisfaction to supplant an everlasting love.  I’ve hurt the people I love and most of all I’ve hurt the God I need and long for.  But when I realize it – when I come crawling back to the Prince, begging for what small bone He can throw to me, begging for something to relieve the emptiness inside – that is when He pulls me up off the ground and wraps me in His arms and tells me it’s okay.  He tells me that even though I mess up, He means for good things to happen to me.  He quiets my confessions with mercy.  He feeds me with the bread of life.

I’m glad Andrew Lloyd Webber thought to give us time to transition.  I’m glad he didn’t send me out of the theatre without giving me time to think (thoughts set to clubbing music, no less).  I know tomorrow will not come with a soundtrack to warn me of impending changes, and there will be a tiny emptiness inside me as the stage returns to normal.

But I am so blessed to have been a small part of a production that reminds me of my iniquities and of God’s authority.  He doesn’t forsake us.  He doesn’t forget us, even when we forget Him.

Genesis 50:20      “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.”