There’s a song called ‘Hazelnut Butter’ by Medium Troy. One line says, “I want everyone to call their mom right now and let her know that she’s the shit.” The first time I heard the song, I called my mom directly after. “So, you think I’m the shit?” she said laughing. My mom passed away last year. All I’m saying, is every chance you get to tell someone that you love them, do it. I’m glad I did that day.
It is not until I’m seated in a reclined position that I realize how heavy the mental burdens of the day have been. Then I can see how unwieldy they really are.
I’m wondering out loud a lot to my fifth grade definition of God. “Why all this pain? Why all this broken and bent and tragic? What are we doing? What are You doing? Do you love us, still? Did you ever at all?
Basically, it boils down to : this life is really hard. A real slog at times.
God doesn’t like to be asked direct questions, it seems. He likes to whisper in the wind and speak in a mourning dove’s song. I’mma be honest, I get pretty tired of discerning meaning from the breeze on a blade of grass (that’s a joke).
How about some megaphone responses? Maybe he does that too in the face of tragedy, but I’m talking some straightforward, not cryptic, unmistakable commentary. I mean all of this light-heartedly (for now), but it would be nice to see some road signs marked, “Tyler, go here.”
I’m in a life-lull for the moment and a big, clear push is welcome.
I am gone away, in part, since your passing.
I have no beginning without your home,
and in your end, I am gone away.
When you would sing, I would listen and look
up into your eyes before I had the word
‘beauty’ to shine up at your face.
All my words came from your first
“I love you.” The foundation of my language
is your embrace.
I know the meaning of the word, not just
in the breakdown of sounds, but by your
relentless pursuit of my heart.
You were a force, and the wind has not died
since you’ve gone. The trees are permanently
bent from your crushing blows.
You dared me to love greatly; you lavished me
with praise. Everything I am is you and you are
everything to me. A home is not a building,
made of wood and nails. A home is not this place
or that place where we lived. A home is you,
my mother. You are my home.
I feel alone more than a lot.
My friends love me and I’m lucky for that.
They don’t know how alone I am though, they can’t even comprehend it.
They walk around with all these connections and loved ones and spouses.
They wouldn’t know how to define the word.
Some people say ‘depression’ cause they want to be part of the club.
Some people can’t stop ruminating about killing themself.
Like, I have a bad day and I make plans to end my life.
But what surprises me, is that I make plans on the good days now too.
Like dying sounds kinda peaceful and nice and I sigh a contented sigh when I think about it.
I never asked for this life.
I didn’t go around begging for it.
But here it is.
This big, crazy mess of sad and tired and confused and alone.
There’s some good in there too.
And despite my most concentrated efforts and furrowed brows and clenched fists, I keep right on living.
Sometimes I wonder if the ones who really want to live, like have big gusto and whatnot, die young and their time gets added on to the end of my life.
Is that how God works?
Whatever you want real bad, he gives you the opposite to test you?
Kinda seems like it.
When I was 6 years old, I thought life was just about Jesus.
That was it.
No other things.
Just me and Jesus talking about how much we loved each other in our sunday school shoes.
I didn’t know there were any other things you could believe (my little kindergarten self shrugs his shoulders).
I told people I would die for Jesus.
I was very sure of myself back then.
Sometimes I think God really loves me.
Sometimes I think I’m growing from my suffering.
I like to look at the world through that lense, but sometimes I’m bad at it, ya know?
Randomly, I’ll think of God as one of us.
Ya know, a fallible human that’s just real big and powerful who’s trying all these different experiments and he keeps messing them up and he feels really bad that he’s messing up so he just gets stressed out and cries a lot.
This makes me have compassion on this human-God I’ve imagined.
But, if I’m honest, I don’t think God is really like that.
God is this real complex idea/being/creator/force/power/grace that we have boiled down to something really simple so faith doesn’t scare us so bad.
“I can’t believe in a God who would do that!,” we all say at one point.
But I bet he’s so much more than a figure head in the sky or an old man that our mom told us about when we got scared in elementary school.
I bet he’s the connecting tissue to every living thing.
I bet he whispers to us when we look at a big tree and say, “That is so beautiful.”
My friend said she knows God is real because “there are small bugs that light up hot summer nights with magic, and they’re slow enough to be held in our hands.”
She said that she knows God is real because, “The trees turn a soft pink and deep red twice a year with no other colorful purpose than to be enjoyed.”
She said that, “there are one million types of laughs and my friends bring out my heartiest.” And lastly she said because, “My friend went into the darkest depth of a mental hospital and knew in his core that his job was to love people there.”
That last line was about me.
The funny thing is, my friend who wrote those lines four years ago, doesn’t believe in God anymore.
I think she sometimes believes that there could be a God, but she definitely doesn’t believe that he is good.
And haven’t we all been where my friend is right now?
Haven’t we all said, “There’s no way that goodness is at the center of all of this chaos.”
I’ve been there, in her position, earlier today even and I bet I will be there again tomorrow any some point.
Maybe if you think of God as a metaphor for goodness, it’s like taking a step.
And hugging a stranger who’s crying is like taking another.
And sweeping a child up into your arms is like jogging a bit.
And talking a friend out of suicide is like quickening your pace.
And telling a friend your painful story is like running.
And then you’re hugging and sweeping and talking and telling and loving and kissing and helping and singing and hoping and praying
and then you start thinking.
I want to be about goodness.
I want it in my life.
I want to help and I want to grow and get better.
I want to be about goodness.
I don’t really care what you call it.
I’m quite sorry ma’am, but there’s been a mistake in how much broken you were handed. It makes sense now, doesn’t it? Yes, yes too much broken, I understand completely.
It’s an egregious error, I agree. What’s that, dear? No, I’m afraid we can’t start the whole thing over from the beginning.
Yes, I agree that does sound rather nice. But I’m afraid the wheels are already in motion. Yes, yes we can’t rightly stop the ride now, it would be too jarring for the rest of the customers.
I know, my dear, it is very unfair. We cannot begin to explain how sorry we are for the mistake; truly. That amount of broken is usually reserved for our most surly customers.
Yes, I can call down to the main desk and see if any refund is in order. Why, I’m sure we can offer a complimentary fruit basket, wouldn’t that be nice?
Oh, I see, nice only goes so far this time round. Well … sure … I’ll see what my superior can do, but I must remind you how busy he is this time of year.
I know my dear, but please bare with us, we’ll have this turned right side up in no time. Forty years is too much time passed? Why yes, my thoughts exactly.
We’ll put our best men on this job. Nothing a few days in the sun can’t fix, am I right? Thank you again for staying with us. We appreciate your business.
What happens when you write a song,
Is all your life comes flooding back,
All the life you forgot,
All the life you’d like to gather up,
All your life that fell on the floor,
All your life.
What happens when you sing that song,
Is all your life comes out your mouth,
And whoever is around,
Will know you better,
Even if it’s just you.