Archives for the month of: March, 2014

So i got this card a while back from a dear friend. Maybe you’ve seen them: 

GREETINGS FROM CRAZYVILLE

It sits on my bulletin board smashed in between a thousand other notes, mementoes, objects and to-do’s. But it’s hot pink and lime green, so it isn’t exactly camouflaged in the mess and clutter. 

GREETINGS FROM CRAZYVILLE

It’s the middle of Lent. We are a few days into Spring. Most of us just rushing to fill up the Easter baskets already, or think about summer vacation hot spots. I don’t know about you, but this year, more than most, I’m feeling like I’m in Crazyville. Like there is an alternate universe and I’ve just been transported to it. Where countries are being gobbled up by by other countries “just because” like a game of Risk. Where people disappear instantly into mud and and we are concerned if it’s still another day of the damnable winter we’ve been experiencing. Where the major news outlets keep posing theories of a missing airliner while millions of people die of hunger and thirst each day. 

And I sit here, trying to plan a service of Resurrection. Of renewal. Of life. Of belief. Of more. 

GREETINGS FROM CRAZYVILLE

 

 

Just give me a pain that I’m used to…” –Martin Gore, lyrics from song mentioned below

Pain is a word that at some point in our lives we all become accustomed to. Whether it be from a physical injury to our body from an accident, a sport, or sometimes just walking through our living room, from time to time we can injure our body and it causes us pain. Pain in our soul is something different. It eats at us. It seems to find a way, slowly and inexorably, through the various crevices within us, showing up at the most inopportune of moments. Soul pain is something that a cast, rest, and pills cannot shake or heal.

Lent is a time when some of us look deeply into our pain. The dark, long days of winter have made us introspective in some cases. We long for the spring buds to appear, and yet the weariness of holes continue to prick at us. And so often we cling to the pain, because we have become used to it. It is easier. It is familiar. Like a friend. It makes me think of a song by the band Depeche Mode.

“A Pain That I’m Used To” by Depeche Mode on the Album Playing the Angel

LYRICS

I’m not sure what I’m looking for anymore

I just know that I’m harder to console

I don’t see who I’m trying to be instead of me

But the key is a question of control

Can you say what you’re trying to play anyway

I just pay while you’re breaking all the rules

All the signs that I find have been underlined

Devils thrive on the drive that is fueled

All this running around, well it’s getting me down

Just give me a pain that I’m used to

I don’t need to believe all the dreams you conceive

You just need to achieve something that rings true

There’s a hole in your soul like an animal

With no conscience, repentance, oh no

Close your eyes, pay the price for your paradise

Devils feed on the seeds of the soul

I can’t conceal what I feel, what I know is real

No mistaking the faking, I care

With a prayer in the air I will leave it there

On a note full of hope not despair

All this running around, well it’s getting me down

Just give me a pain that I’m used to

I don’t need to believe all the dreams you conceive

You just need to achieve something that rings true

Many of us experience a time during Lent of darkness, of pain, of longing for something different. But to experience joy, we must let go of the pain and instead take on release and joy. It is painful and hard. It is a journey, for sure. It means letting go of some familiar feelings of despair, fear and pain for the promise of renewal and hope. It is the soul work found in the missive from St. John of the Cross (1541-1592) entitled Dark Night of the Soul 

This year, don’t conceal what you are feeling. Let your prayers be heard. Let hope reign. Take on joy and change. We know the end of the story; PAIN does not have the final word.  Maybe we will all achieve something new; something that finally rings true, and that leads us away from pain. I’m ready to get off the racetrack.

Image

It’s ash day. Not from fire. From our own messes. Our own recognition that we dusty souls and a conundrum of crazy choices. So many people still believe Ash Wednesday is a “Catholic” thing. So some of us find our way to chapels, drive through ash services, sanctuaries or tents to receive a smudge on our hand or forehead and remember that “to dust we shall return” and begin the long journey towards Jerusalem, and a journey of our own in introspection.

This day, for me, begins an intentional time with art. Yep. You read that correctly. Not a time of giving up anything, but taking on a practice of art, daily. Immersing myself in time and creation, so that I can connect with the Creator. Slow down. Breathe. Find solace. Co-create. Believe me, it’s an intentional spiritual practice in the life of this spiritually chaotic circus clown of a pastor!

Today, I have on rotation as I begin to color and scribble several tunes that are “ash” like. It’s hard to find songs about Ash Wednesday, ya know? But these are some gems. Links are here. One is even a free download. Stop. Rest. Ash. Reflect.

“Ashes & Fire” from Ryan Adams

“Ash Wednesday Blues” from Anders Osborne

“Ash Wednesday” from Elvis Perkins

“Ashes to Ashes” from Andra Moran (free download gift! Thanks, Andra!)