You know why it's so powerful and impacting when people are open and honest about their lives? Because it's inevitable that others will relate. Assuredly there will be someone within earshot that is thinking/feeling/experiencing the same thing, convinced that they are the only one.
I don't think think the human experience is too different for most of us. We'd like to think of ourselves as the sole proprietors of our own lives... but time continually shows us that we're not.
I was driving home from work yesterday and one of my favorite old Tom Cochrane songs came on the radio called "Boy inside the man."(BTW that's why it's so important to play radio roulette; because you never know what's playing on the next station) I love this growing up, coming of age song that always resonated with my teenaged self; hopeful of future exploits. It still does now as a man with that same boy not too deep inside my plumping, greying, aging exterior.
But it wasn't until yesterday that I realized the story told in this song followed my life timeline nearly EXACTLY.
When I turned seventeen
We had passion, we had dreams
Thought the love we were fighting for
Was something holy, something more
I used to make these grand, "principled" stands about the things I was sure that were of eternal significance. My wedding MC spent most of his airtime mocking me for it... rightly as retrospectively many of the issues were quite pedestrian ones. But it felt important... and so it was. Most of the motivations behind the stands I still believe. And then entered a girl...
When I turned twenty-one
We were outside on the run
When I walked out with my girl
We went halfway around the world
Krissy and I finished college and married at 21. It was time to blow this Popsicle-stand like the character in Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run who bursted out of class to get away from these fools. We moved to Africa for 7 months to experience the big blue planet. I hoped we'd never return to the culture I openly loathed and we'd run the globe hand in hand forever. But...
When I turned twenty-five
We were hungry, we had drive
When I turned much older then
When the boy was lost in pride
... we couldn't escape the call of God to return and dig in to our city to be agents of cultural change. We worked, sacrificed, bred, nested, built, pioneered... and were SURE that we'd see revival in our city before my 30th birthday. You couldn't tell me no.
Now I just turned thirty-one
I have lost and I have won
Still I've kept my dreams alive
Cause the boy will never die
I'm now 35. I HAVE lost and I HAVE won. The losses still sting and some I feel like I carry each day in my lunch pail to work . The wins are also marvelous and I revel in them. I'm figuring out how to reconcile the dreamer boy with the responsible adult and feel some equilibrium at night. Both me and my wife better understand that the boy inside the man never dies and if he isn't fed adventure... he gets grumpy :)
I followed this storyline yesterday shocked at the similarities. But maybe I shouldn't have been. We have different plot points, characters and scenes in our individual story-lines. But the ebb and flow of our lives are somehow kindred.
The life of man is very relatable to one another. I'm sure it's why it's so important to spend time with people older than you. They've been there and can tell the tales of war victory and defeat that remind us that we're not alone... but we still need to live ourselves through the season of life we're in. I don't like the phrase, "learning the hard way" because it implies that seasonal-struggles are because we've been dumb enough not avoid hardship and struggle.
We HAVE TO plough through seasonal-struggles. This is the result of Adam and Eve's "fall" where God said to Eve:
“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth."
Adam likely snickered until God turned to him and said:
"By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”
It's not all bad because it's how we grow. To have a child... there has to be labor pain. Women share stories to help assure the babied-one that they are not alone before and after labor. But eventually the moment comes when it's just them and that kid fighting it out on their way to wisdom, experience, that euphoric post-birth peace that falls in the room. Humans have been going through this process since Adam and Eve.
We're not nearly as unique as we think we are. Still make your plans. Still fight your fights. Still work your work and learn what you're supposed to from THIS day. But rest in knowing that God is quietly orchestrating & navigating your life through the minefields. He's done it before and He's doing it right now even as you're reading this. He's doing it so that one day you can lay resting on a bed reflecting on the beautiful story that was the boy inside the man
God often makes confetti out of our big plans for ourselves and uses it to celebrate His better plans for the world— Bob Goff (@bobgoff) February 8, 2012