Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Above the Noise Find Joy

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of traveling home to NY and working with my sister, Imani as she produced and managed a concert in the middle of downtown Manhattan. To say that it was an amazing time would be to do it an injustice. It was absolutely epic. So much happened on that trip that I haven't really had a chance to process, but I know that I am forever changed by the experience. Many thanks to Imani and the whole crew that helped pull it together.

But this isn't what this particular post is about. It's about the journey to get to New York.

My flight left ridiculously early from DFW and when I arrived to the airport, beleaguered and bleary eyed, I joined the throngs of people snaking their way through what was an unusually long line in security for such an early morning. After making it through the mildly humiliating experience that is TSA, I found myself with about a half hour to kill before my flight. I walked rather leisurely towards my gate after stopping to get an overpriced breakfast bagel from somewhere that wasn't nearly worth the price. As I continued the walk to the gate, I noticed a guy off in one of the full service restaurants that wasn't open yet. He was Jewish. Now that may seem as if it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of the story, but trust me- it does. As I continued to walk, I noticed that he was preparing for his morning prayers. He had his yarmulke, his Tzitzit, his tallit, and all of the other elements that clearly identify him as a member of his faith. He knelt down for prayer, completely oblivious of those around him and completely lost in his devotion. To be honest, I thought little of it and kept walking.

A little ways down was another slightly abandoned restaurant, and there, yet again, was a gentleman performing the same ritual I had just seen a few doors down. These two guys had probably never met, but here they were in one of the busiest airports in the world, united by a faith in a God who required their obedience- and obey they did. Neither of these two cared a lick about the fact that I was watching them. Neither of them noticed my slightly awestruck and dumbfounded gazes in their direction, and neither cared even a little bit about whether or not I approved of their actions. They were lost in reverential worship and devotion to their God and my presence there mattered about as much to them and their devotion as the fly that perched itself on the wall next to me.

All of their devotion got me to thinking- am I that devoted? Do I care as little for what people think of me as they do- to the point that I will carry out my devotion with little to no regard for how I may be viewed by those around me? Am I concerned more about what my God requires and asks of me than what my peers approve of for me that I will follow him at the expense of social acceptance? Or am I such a slave to culture that I care more about what the created thinks than I do the one who is the creator and gave them the capacity to think to begin with? To be honest, this isn't one of those pondering and deeply introspective posts. The answer is abundantly and shamingly clear...I care more about you.

I care what you think. I am concerned with your opinions of me. I hide my faith behind clever witticisms and attempts to be accepted. I say I love Christ but my willingness to talk about Him leaves that highly doubtful. They say that you talk about those you love- and Him, I don't. Why? Because you are apparently of greater importance to me than the savior of my soul and of greater value than the greatest treasure. More than that, I care so little for your life that I am willing to let you live a life that is empty and devoid of meaning, as you pursue things that fade as life passes and decay with time. I laugh at your jokes about lifestyles that leave you waking up empty, searching desperately for the next thing to fill the hole. I console you as you tell me of one empty relationship that ended as we both knew it would, but don't counsel you to stay away when the next one presents itself. More than that, I have been with you in those stories. I have sat by you and joined in the emptiness, waking up knowing there is more and knowing what that more is. I have pursued the fleeting in lieu of the fantastic and made you to believe that this is all there is. But there's more, and I've always known it- even if I've never told you.

In the end, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for being weak and failing to speak up where voices could be heard above the din of life's cacophony. I am sorry for not being a friend enough to say that there's more and to offer you the opportunity to drink deeply from a limitless well that won't leave you empty as dreams litter your floor like the bottles we've discarded. I want to be better, and so I'll try. Please forgive my bumbling attempts to speak to you of life, and know that this isn't about judgment, but rather life offered freely. This is not about pleasure suppressed, but rather joy revealed. Let us pursue it together. Let's start now.

Pursue. Original.

1 comment:

petrov82 said...

i want to thank you in a meaningful way, but i'm afraid i won't be able to use words.