"Graceland" is the name of my favorite song and album. It's by Paul Simon, but more importantly, it's what "home" sounds and feels like to me. We always listened to this album as we traveled from my home in Tennessee to my parents' childhood homes in Florida. But today, it's also a pretty good snapshot of my theology. Somewhere I really believe that the Christian journey is all about a wild trip to Grace-land. As I see it, Grace-land is the place where God is waiting to meet even us–with all the baggage and brokeness that we tote with us. Grace-land is the place where we will be received with open arms, even though our attempts at “getting it right” have been miserable failures at best. But, I think, every step we take is a step on the journey to Graceland.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Beyond Words

Several years ago, singer Bobby McFerrin (whose name you know from “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and “Medicine Music”) came out with an album called Beyond Words. Considering words were a big chunk of how he made his living, that was an interesting switch.  I can’t say I loved the album, because I missed what he had to say.  But today, I understand that sometimes you have to say things other ways, because sometimes, you find yourself at a place that is beyond words.
I guess that’s where I am, and it’s odd, because I love words and putting them together.  But today, all the words I have are all a jumble and none of them come close to saying anything intelligent about the ways my heart is broken open.  I wish I could write beautiful words of lament like the psalmists did, but maybe that will come later.  For now I’m beyond words, and this is what it looks like:
Holding my husband’s hand, even in public, because it feels like the only thing to hold onto.
Eeking out a pre-dinner prayer that said simply, “Thank you for the food” because anything else was too hard to pray.
Being “kissed” over and over by my doggie, who doesn’t understand, but who knows that something is wrong.
Avoiding the phone, because I haven’t anything to say and there isn’t much I want to hear. Except maybe the voice of God, answering with a brilliant explanation that I hadn’t previously considered.
Going to the gym and running and running and running, as if a treadmill could take me to the far away places that my heart dreams of.
Sighs too deep for words, unintelligible to anyone but the Holy Spirit.
Tears running down my face, making a mess of carefully applied mascara, cracking my carefully constructed facade of strength.
Asking the question “why” but not really wanting an answer.
Still praying “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” because you know, somewhere,  that God comes to messy, broken apart people.  It’s just been so long since you were of those people, that you don’t remember what is it is to wait.

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