Every year people in my church make up a daily reader for the season of Lent. I love Lent as it feels like a period of 40 days where we can take time to notice where we have chosen to go towards death and choose to face into new life again.
For my portion of the Lent book, I’ve been sitting with psalm 27 for a while now. I initially chose it as my passage because I thought… oh that’s easy! I can record that song I know that’s based on the first few lines of it….then people will think it’s so cool that I did my lent reflection in a different medium than normal.
But it’s not really that cool if you haven’t sat with it and wrestled with it. So I’ve been sitting with it longer and wrestling with it and pushing it away and not wanting to do it and constantly singing another song that seems to have nothing to do with the passage, but I just can’t seem to get it out of my head.
Then as I was reading I was struck by the words of verse 10, “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.”
Passages like that have never really struck me much because I have always had a really close relationship with my parents. We were like this cohesive unit of three that went off to Africa together to be missionaries and we’ve done all kinds of other adventures together. When I moved to Vancouver to do my Masters degree my theology started to stray a bit from their strong evangelical beliefs and that caused a bit of a rift for us, but it wasn’t insurmountable.
Not until the last couple months has this verse about being rejected by my parents really taken on a new life and struck me.
You see I recently told my parents that I was deliberately opening myself to explore my sexuality in a wider spectrum and that I didn’t feel like I had to play by their conservative rules anymore. As you can imagine... this has caused a huge gap in our relationship and that has been very painful.
I recently had a really honest conversation with my Dad and he was sharing with me how he was being challenged by Brene Brown’s new book Rising Strong and how he realizes he has an attitude of being perfect which then causes him to judge everyone else as imperfect. She says everyone is trying and when we can see that, we have more grace for others… and for ourselves.
I was also struck by that part of her book and ever since have been singing my own rendition of Vance Joy’s Best that I can.
It was really powerful to sit across from my dad (over skype) and sing to him that I am honestly trying the best that I can… to figure out my sexuality… to be faithful to God… to be honest with my truest self. And then to turn around and say to him… I know that you also are trying the best that you can… to understand me… to understand how God could be in all of this… to be open to understanding more than you ever have.
As I sang it to him I had tears in my eyes, and I think he did too.
After that call I cried and cried and I recorded this. I welcome you into this vulnerable place where I feel raw and unsure. May it be a space for you to also be honest about whatever it is that you are unsure about in your life… whatever you feel at a loss about.
We always work so hard to portray our happiest and best self to the world. Sometimes it’s better to be our honest self. I had a vocal teacher who once told me that in order to sing with conviction you have to truly feel the emotions that the song is conveying… then your listeners can connect with you. Well here you are: As Brene would say… here’s my Shitty First Draft! But those drafts are important because they get the emotions out so we can honestly look at them and move from there. I think they’re also important because it is our brokenness that others connect with.