bailout please?

what do you do when everything that should excite your heart fails to do so? what does that mean? have i gone numb? am i still human? or am i a dancer? oh, oops--that's a killers' song.

jokes are healthy sometimes. other times they are a mask over deeper emotion. sometimes i wish i was a funnier person.

it's interesting, i was doing dishes earlier tonight (a somewhat rare occasion i'll add), listening to music while i did it. something in simple mindless work opens up thoughts that other times are crowded out. also, music has such an interesting way of connecting us back to memories of places, people, relationships. songs through an hour of dishes (yeah, there were a lot) led me through lots of different places in my past, and i noticed the difference in my heart. it's good to pay attention sometimes to what affects you. we too often neglect to care for our soul.

i've realized that there are still lots of things in me that need to be healed. i still find myself connected to things that are severed now for one reason or another.

when i was a kid i didn't know how or i just wasn't able to deal with the emotions that came from my parents divorce and other somewhat traumatic events. so i shut down. i buried my emotions and rarely felt stirred by much of anything, save a few girls. it took a lot of work years later to unearth those wounds i had just covered. when they were covered and ignored they couldn't heal. and it took time to get out the infections. and it's taken time to learn how to be normal emotionally--i'm still learning in a lot of ways.

yet i feel like i'm almost in a similar place these days--i'm just able to recognize it this time. i don't know how to process a lot of these emotions. i don't know how to help myself heal. it makes me think of that great horrible movie that's an old dubbed kung fu movie and the guy goes to get neosporin for the other dude who's arms are chopped off (kung pow: enter the fist--brilliantly stupid). and he sings a nice little song about it. my old healing methods don't seem to be enough. and i feel myself shutting off in some ways, just putting a band-aid over the deep gashes. i can't even control it some of the time. there is just nothing there even when i try to engage. i can't think of what to write. i can't focus on what i try to read. i find myself even unable to stay focused in conversations, floating away in my mind and then trying to put back the pieces of what i missed when i shake out of it. forgive me if i've seemed out of it at times in any conversations you've had with me.

something in my blog post a couple days back really struck, and not until i had written it. i feel that this season i am in is really well characterized as a "poverty of spirit." my heart needs a welfare check. i keep getting laid off and the union seems to have cut me off. the rich internal spiritual experiences of the past seem really far away. i am not destitute now, but there isn't that much change in my pockets.

but i am fortunate to be part of a community that is quite rich in a lot of ways. and i feel like the other night someone dropped a few bucks in my open guitar case as i sat there not playing (let's be honest, i don't even know how to play). geez you'd think i could have put this together myself, but it seems Jesus had something to say about all of this. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." hm. that strikes me in a couple of ways.

first it gives me hope for being called to kansas city. i mentioned in that same post how the contrast of that calling with how i am feeling has been causing me concern--but it seems as if that is almost a good thing actually. as if a poverty of spirit gives me some sort of "authority" in the kingdom of heaven. i put authority in quotations because our understanding of that is very different from the biblical concept. it is much more about the ability to bless rather than the ability to control. and i hope that i have the ability to bless the people of whatever neighborhood God leads us to, because right now i really wonder how i am going to do that at all.

i also notice that the only other beatitude that talks about who also receive the kingdom of heaven are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness. so i'm also hoping that this keeps me from some suffering! well, ok i'm not sure the two are entirely different. one is more inward while the other is outward--but i think there is a connection here Jesus is making. i've heard it said that maybe the american church needs some persecution to shake it out of apathy--well maybe there are other similar things to that. but the challenge is knowing how to stand up to it. knowing how to confess your passion in the midst of numbness. knowing how to hold your faith amidst a myriad of doubts and questions and loneliness from God.

but like i said i don't know how to process these emotions. i don't know how to heal from these wounds. i don't know how to let go of the things that still hold sway over me despite all i do. and i don't want to shut down. if nothing else that stirs my heart. i know what that's like and i never want to do it again. but i don't know what to do. i throw my hands up and let them fall on my head. i can't figure it out. and maybe that's the point--this thought just came to me. it is a further continuation of learning how to let myself die. a cutting off control. turning myself over in all aspects, the mind included. and that is another loss. i like to be the one who has all the answers and is usually right. it is a security and a sort of power. but this--i won't figure it out. i can't. i don't have the answers. i have to empty myself of that as well. another surrender.

shadow holds the day,
but clouds will break;
winter will loose her icy fingers.
though not until i quit looking for shine,
the warmth that will rouse the old.
no, newness is born in death,
when i close my eyes to finally see
the end of myself--
and the life new
that cannot be known
on this side.

we do not know resurrection.
it is not a doorway we pass through.
it is not something to be figured out.
there's no groundhog to foretell the season change.
six weeks at least.
stupid furry little animal.
so while i'm here,
how about some food stamps?
warm chicken soup for the soul perhaps?
or do you not have that kind of aid?


  1. Luke I feel very similar to you about the pains from divorce. Being able to block emotions/people who can cause pain is an ability that I have and that sometimes alot of the times wish I didn't. The divorce was like 12 years ago and still the pain lingers. I wonder if that's because marriage represents us and Christ and divorce is splitting the two apart which is what neither our hearts nor Christ wants. it must be one of the most painful things.

  2. Luke, I SO SO SO SO SO SO wish I had some words of wisdom to help bring you out of this place, but I don't have that.
    But I would like to say this. You shouldn't worry about not being able to bless. You are a natural blesser... and I'm not just speaking for myself, a lot of other people say the same thing. You have blessed me in so many ways (and I'm being completely serious and honest... why else would I make you two plates of cookies :)... and during this whole time of blessing me, you were for the most part still forging through this "poverty of spirit." God has had you in this place, and you're still choosing to bless. There is a lot to say for that.
    It baffles me as to what the Lord is doing with you, because if I was in your shoes I would have crumbled a long time ago... you're a lot stronger than that. Even though this is a long season of pain, I also could see it as a long season of equipping. Your heart is persecuted right now, but you can rest knowing that the Lord delivers. There will be people down the road, pastor Luke, that will benefit IMENSLY from your pain through your words of counsel when they are going through the same thing.
    But all the same, Lord, I still plead for my brother Luke, that he would feel the warmth of your joy.