Lent 26

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

I have been waiting most of my life. I have waited since 1994 for the “next Seattle.” 20 years ago I was waiting for The Verve Pipe to make Grand Rapids the next Seattle. 10 years ago I was waiting for some of my favorite rappers in Grand Rapids to turn GR into the next NYC of Hip Hop. 5 years ago I was waiting for Sam Lachow and Raz Simone to turn Seattle into the next Seattle, only this time with urban angst instead of Teen Spirit. Instead the world got Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. As much as I love pop music (now that I am 40 I can finally admit that), I am still a champion of the underdog and the underground.

I have waited for weightier things. I waited for my parents to become something they were not. I waited for love to find me. I waited for the Holy Spirit to take away all sexual desire. I waited god to heal my mother from a rare neurological disease. I waited most of my life for Jesus to come back and part the sky and set the world right.

That has been the hope of religious faithful (at least in the Abrahamic religions), since way before Jesus. As the writer of Ecclesiastes goes on to say, “God will call the past to account.” But he also said, there was a time for everything under the sun. And thanks to Pete Seeger and The Byrds we all know how it goes:

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

There is a lot of ugliness. Some things are inexplicable to me. Torture, genocide, sexual abuse, Donald Trump. I can’t understand why if there were someone or something that could step in and make all things new, it wouldn’t make a little more haste to step in and bring a little more beauty into the ugliness of the repetition. I stopped waiting for the the final resurrection, for the trumpet to sound, for someone else to make everything right.

I no longer think all things can or will be redeemed or that sending something or someone to a fiery inferno can somehow right the wrongs of the past. More suffering? More pain? But like a fool returns to folly or a dog returns to his vomit, I always seem to return to hope. I see beauty in the repetition of the sunrise and sunset. I believe in beauty rising from the ashes. I guess not even the existential crisis of the last few years has killed my firm belief in redemption. I guess I haven’t stopped waiting altogether. Maybe I am just waiting for different thing. Or better yet, I am trying to become an active agent of change for the better, as far and as wide as possible. I want to be a better father, partner, son, brother, friend. I still want to be a light in the darkness, even if I am not always so sure that the darkness can be overcome.

Grant me the serenity it takes to never except the things I cannot change and goddamn me if I fail to make a difference! Maybe it’s better that the next grunge movement or British invasion doesn’t happen. Maybe the commercialization and commodification of artistic beauty, any kind of beauty ends up lending itself to the ugliness. Maybe somethings are better in the underground. Maybe a thousand little grassroots movements are what it really takes to change the landscape of music, of politics, of injustice. I am fine in the underground. I have a little light and it can’t be hid or blown out oh no! And maybe things will never be perfect, but things could be better, if we shine our lights together.

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