Ashlee and I have been married nearly 5 years. Having been single for the previous 33 years I related to the world, to grief, to joy, to music, to travel, to career from a very isolated framework. I have always thought myself generous, caring, and aware of the needs of others. However, I began to realize how selfish I had been. The initial months and even first year of marriage were a shock to my system(physically and mentally). Before that point I’d been able to reserve time, energy, emotion and consideration. Confronting this and realizing I could no longer continue down this path stunned me, you could have literally seen it in my eyes. Not that I could have done any differently and not that it was terminal, but I can remember how overwhelming this new openness felt for the first few family gatherings. A raindrop that had been joined to a river, only knowing how to be a single droplet of water. Struggling to leap back into the air and upward into the clouds to retreat to the safety of the rushing wind.

Eventually this feeling wore off and I got acquainted to these new rhythms and patterns. I’m still in the midst of discovering new ways to relate to everything I’d previously known. Recently a new feeling or understanding of the world has been coming to the forefront of my mind. That I’m beginning to see from this new perspective as my primary lens and not a secondary sense.  That my relationship to the world is no longer as a lone individual, but motivated and out of the framework of my marriage relationship. The Bible reflects on this very thing as it says two become one flesh. I’ve heard the trinity described as God in community and that marriage is the nearest glimpse we will have into this intimacy. The joining together of our flesh is not an overwriting of my spirit or losing my distinction from Ashlee. Our bond produces new life and enables me to be a husband, a dad, a part of a church, and a man. It’s not less definition, it’s more definition. Though to be clear I don’t see this as filling in a gap or alleviating a deficiency in my life; I’m not greater than my single brothers and sisters. It’s just that it’s from this perspective of our bond that I’ve realized I’ve begun to see and relate to the world around me. 

knock, knock; Sufjan again…

So apparently the only thing I’m able to write about are the words and lyrics of Sufjan Stevens. Listening to The Only Thing today. Sufjan wrote this album in response to events unfolding in his own family. However specific he intended this to be today what struck me was the ‘Perseus aligned with the skull` that made me pull up the lyrics and give them a more thorough read. My interpretation was viewed through the lens of spiritual relationship with Christ, so I thought at first he was relating this to Golgotha. Which he wasn’t, but I think the idea I’m seeing now is that through death a new unseen beauty is born


The only thing that keeps me from driving this car
Half-light, jack knife into the canyon at night
Signs and wonders, Perseus aligned with the skull
Slain Medusa, Pegasus alight from us all
Do I care if I survive this, bury the dead where they’re found
In a veil of great surprises I wonder did you love me at all?
The only thing that keeps me from cutting my arm
Cross hatch, warm bath, Holiday Inn after dark
Signs and wonders, water stain writing the wall
Daniel’s message, blood of the moon on us all
Do I care if I despise this, nothing else matters, I know
In a veil of great disguises, how do I live with your ghost?
Should I tear my eyes out now?
Everything I see returns to you somehow
Should I tear my heart out now?
Everything I feel returns to you somehow
I want to save you from your sorrow
The only reason why I continue at all
Faith in reason, I wasted my life playing dumb
Signs and wonders, sea lion caves in the dark
Blind faith, God’s grace, nothing else left to impart
Do I care if I survive this, bury the dead where they’re found
In a veil of great surprises, hold to my head till I drown
Should I tear my eyes out now, before I see too much?
Should I tear my arms out now, I wanna feel your touch
Should I tear my eyes out now?
Everything I see returns to you somehow
Should I tear my heart out now?
Everything I feel returns to you somehow

Friday memories

I’ve listened to a lot of Sufjan over the years so it’s no surprise that at certain points his music triggers memories of past experiences. Today his song ‘Futile Devices’ took me back to a long drive that was a  particularly unique moment of serenity and peace. Lightening flashes danced in the distance, wind rushing by with the windows down, music cranked up and a friend along for the ride. Almost two hours of sitting, watching, and listening. Soaking in the air around us and the peace of a far away storm I don’t think we talked at all. What a haunting quiet to be accompanied by Sufjans soft words and melodies. A certain stillness in the midst of motion and noise. His album ministered to me more often than any other in the phase particular phase of life and any time I put it on now I’m transported in time. Tough, but filled with a depth that’s hard to explain. Although a lot of those times were filled with heaviness and upheaval, that’s not what is brought back when I reflect. What comes forward are these simple moments; in the car, my routine of falling asleep to the album on repeat, music accompanying my experiences and solace it provided. I wonder at all if this is similar to the peace brought to Saul when David would play his harp?