I bought tickets for the Gungor show months ago, knowing it would be a good thing, something life giving although I had no expectations over what that would look like. Gungor has been in my iTunes playlist for over a decade now and they have become The Wife and I’s kind of people and as I listened to their recent work in anticipation of the show, my heart echoed their anthems of, “We are stronger together…” and “Tear down the walls that divide us, Let love rebuild and unite us.” When the shit hit the fan weeks ago, I still knew that going to the Gungor show could be a good thing as it was in all simplicity a night of music which has always been some healing balm to my soul.
I also knew I would meet God there. I just knew it.
I’ve had an emptiness, an absence of faith. There’s a hole there and I can’t tell yet if it’s me closing that door or if I’ve been abandoned as the wounds are still to raw and my heart is reeling of pain and loss and grief. I can’t sing the words to songs of praise. I can’t read scripture – I physically can’t because of the emptiness. Still I find myself drawn to worship, drawn to songs of simple expression.
“You don’t give Your heart in pieces. You don’t hide yourself to tease us.” I don’t believe it yet I can’t stop listening to it.
“You turn the bitter into sweet. You turn the winter into spring.” It’s as though subconsciously I’m hoping the truths in these anthems will be mine too. That my heart would be open again.
I just don’t know my way back.
I went to see Gungor with The Wife and our pastor last Saturday. It was one of the most aesthetically pleasing shows I’ve been to in a long time with an apparent emphasis placed on art and storytelling and the beauty of the music. And this show, this space was healing on several levels. On the surface, it was the first place (outside of our church home) centered on faith-based ideology where I felt comfortable to hold The Wife’s hands as my lips spoke words of praise. It was another act of reconciliation, of expressing who God has made me to be, with His people..
On another level, I was met with empathy and stories of, “Me, too.” Science Mike spoke of his story of leaving faith years ago in a tender, gentle way. He said something crucial about those who have walked away from their faith – “First off, give them a hug. Next, let them know that this doesn’t change your love for them.” Having grown up in the conservative Christian bubble, I was taught how harmful it is to question, to doubt. Years later having abandoned such theology, and especially today when there are zero fucks given, I have to ask hard questions because my heart is literally broken from the unanswered prayers, unanswered promises.
Michael Gungor shared about the writing of the song, “Vapor” and how it was written in an incredibly dark time in his life. It took him over two years to write all the lyrics because sometimes he wasn’t at a place to confess them yet. To go there. And he realized that in the process of allowing himself time that his fists clenched from pain and loss were slowly beginning to open again, open to the love of God, the promises He speaks of, His truth.
I can’t stop listening to that song. The lyrics declare how the earth proclaims the glory of the Lord and that sometimes holy is the only word that satisfies such magnificence. It’s haunting. I can’t sing along yet. But the words echo in my spirit and I’m tired of these great, mighty and powerful phrases not stirring something within me.
I don’t know what it all means today.
But I know I’m ok with it. I’m ok sitting with it. And for the first time in a while I have a little bit of hope in who God can be to me again. My hands that have been clenched tight are beginning to ease just the tiniest bit. As I continue to allow myself room to cope and heal I can feel things shifting back in to place. My body is resuming it’s natural form, my hormones are coming back to balance. And I feel a little piece of me coming back.
This dance, this love story with my Creator isn’t over yet, I just know it.