If you have not had a chance to see Moana, the latest Disney movie that came out not too long ago, you might want to put it on your list. While you’re at it, go listen to the soundtrack. It is a wonderful soundtrack.
There is a song in the movie called, “How far I’ll go”. The chorus has been stuck in my head. This is the 2nd chorus:
See the light as it shines on the sea
But no one knows how deep it goes
And it seems like it’s calling out to me
So come find me
And let me know
What’s beyond that line
Will I cross that line
See the light where the sky meets the sea
It calls me
And no one knows how far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I’ll know
How far I’ll go
The song is talking about the sea… the water. Back in May 2016 I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time, and it was the first time in seven-ish years that I saw an ocean with my own eyes. I hear the song and I can hear the water calling my name. I feel the pull, the longing, the desire to be free and go.
Disclaimer: Rant starts from here on out. Those who are easily offended be warned, highly opinionated processing and struggling throughout the rest of this post.
Yet the plans I had to go on a boat, to sail around the Greek Isles this summer have ended. Finances have interfered. Reality has kicked me to the ground, stepped on my face, and laughed at me.
- The dream to sail. To be on the water. (since age 12)- temporarily gone.
- The dream to sail in the Mediterranean sea. (Since age 14)- temporarily gone/who knows if I’ll ever get the chance.
- The excitement to spend that time learning from two of my closest professors while learning about ancient church liturgy… gone.
All things happen for a good reason, right? “…To them that love God.”
“God has a better plan…”
“Just trust in what He has planned…”
These are some of the “encouraging” words I have heard. But I will take sometime to say I do not need the encouraging words that are not what those passages are talking about. For one, I will give the last two statements their due respect if used properly. However I wonder, dare say I question whether I actually did the “right” choice. Placed into a situation where there would be no financial way to pay for it outside of a miracle, did I make the “best” decision by backing out safely because that was the most logical process? Or did I jump back into my “safe zone” or “boat” when God was calling me to walk out on the waters, where feet fail?
Which is right? Did I make a “good” choice and go with the “safe” route, or did I miss out on a chance to see God do what I deemed impossible? The worst is the suggestions I get from people saying that I did do the right thing, but that God is always able to provide. This especially bothered me while I was contemplating what to do. How could one person tell me in the same sentence, “You can’t pay for it, you need to withdraw… but remember that God provides”. That, without further explanation on what you mean by that statement is just screaming, “I don’t think God will provide for you. Don’t give God the opportunity, but remember, He always provides.” What sort of paradox does that instigate?
I’ve concluded from this that I need to watch my tongue ever more closely when consoling people. When I needed advice, I was give scripture. While this is not a bad thing, and the people meant it with well intentions, it was one of the most heartless acts to do to me during that time. Why? Because I knew what the Bible said about the financial options I was looking into. I did not need the “here is scripture”, I needed someone to listen and speak wisdom and advice, to suggest or be blunt and say “I’m sorry I don’t have an answer.”
What is wrong with saying you don’t have an answer? NOTHING.
Giving people an answer when sometime we just need to be there, love them, and try to be creative and figure out ways to solve their problems is what we should be doing. Honestly, people will get more out of how you live -(which if you are going to quote scripture, you had better have a good track record of what you’re telling the other person to do…. but that is another heated rant for another time)-, than by what you say.
If you’re gonna preach it, Live it. If you haven’t lived it, be careful preaching it. Speak Scripture when you can, but don’t let that be your Christianese copout for helping or listening to someone who is going through a hard time.
For me, I was not dealing with something too big. I was just dealing with the opportunity that I wanted to take that had parts to it that would have met some of my dreams that I have been waiting on for 11 years. Am I emotionally hurt by not being able to go? Yes. There is a lot that I have had to process, and it has brought up a whole can of worms with shattered dreams, broken trust, questioning the sincerity of certain people, and wondering if I was in the wrong to pursue the dream, or if I was in the wrong to give up the dream.
Comparing me to other people going through pain, I have it so easy. I can recover, cope, patch up my wounds, and press on with the hope that a good friend of mine gave me to obtain dreams 1 & 2. Through this experience though I’ve learned how despicable our Christianese language and copouts can be. “For a good reason…. This happened….” I don’t think I’ll agree with that statement for some time. But if the only good thing that comes from this is that I NEVER use Christianese copouts again, then I suppose it was a worthwhile experience. Especially as I go from here and try to relate to a world of people in hurt, in pain, who aren’t looking for your fancy memorization of Scripture. They need us to be there for them. To listen to them. To LIVE the gospel, not just quote it. To Speak it, and to Live it. They should be able to tell we are different before we explain why we are. If they can’t then our witness is obviously failing.
To cap it all off again:
- Be wary of using Christianese
- Do not use Christianese copouts
- Be Slow to speak and quick to Listen
- Not having an answer is better than giving hurting people paradoxes & oxymorons
- Don’t use Christianese phrases that contradict what you just said or are about to say
That is my advice for me, for you, for your parents, your kids, your spouse, your friends, your neighbors, your church family, to everyone and towards everyone.
– David Sager