FROM THE INBOX
The email still sits in the organized layers of my inbox. A miracle because its survived many attempts to clear out and simplify. Bringing me back to that instant, eyes welling over inexplainably, something within resonating. Because at every stage in life, the darkness tries to invade all you hold dear, every last space of refuge. But hope is there in the shadows, a steady reminder to keep loving, keep creating, keep investing, keep living well. An announcement of album 10 from Switchfoot, a band that always brings what the soul needs most.
I captured the precious gift of a moment as best as I knew how.
FROM THE NOTEBOOK
When you stay awake until 3:11
Then the email hits and tears stream
Because there is light coming through
A favorite band with words that sink to soul
An announcement of the next chapter of story and song
And you’re wide eyed with wonder and hope to join along
To create and remind us why this life art making is important
How this truth-taking into the dark keeps us going
We have to always sing
In this chaos it brings
Back the joy and pulls emotions into depth
So we experience the moments and snapshots in time
We celebrate the valleys and mountains and importance of being alive
And we sing back to the chorus again
Telling these stories where the light is again and again
Here’s to my fellow artists, creators, makers, humans just trying to find and capture light. Keep it alive.
FROM THE BAND
Lately, he’s been finding me in the dark, sitting on a rock beside the ocean. And through these times in the dark I’m beginning to realize that “living it well” means something bigger than just pretending: pretending that everything is OK, pretending that I have all the answers. That living well begins by acknowledging the wound. After all, the dark wounds of our world are inescapable- the wound is you, it’s me, it’s humanity. The wound is Afghanistan, it’s Palestine, it’s the United States. The wound is our broken homes, our broken marriages, our broken hearts. The wound is Golgotha, the wound is the cross. But rather than running away, let’s embrace the truth about our broken humanity, and the truth will set us free! Let’s not pretend to be well- after all, it’s the sick that need a doctor. No, we are the wounded. Mortally wounded. Darkly wounded. But, the wound is where the light shines through. Do we really believe in a Living God who is our redeemer, strong and loving- capable of healing these wounds? If so, then let’s bring our darkness to him. All of it. Life is short I want to live it well. – jon
FROM THE MEMORIES
One year ago to this day, after a stretch of weeks where every piece of self was pushed ever harder – the physical, deep questions of faith, the relational, and everything – I arrived home from camp. The briefest of hours in early July, chances to view the faces of those I love, experience the softness of home, to tell the stories and gain perspective. Waiting in my room was this package, containing the album that became the soundtrack to that summer and the following year in many ways. Instead of a cardboard box arriving during the week, this unexpected surprise from a heart that knew mine well – my mom, something to care for the soul. And so the music swelled and a spent soul quietly found something there in the melodies and carefully placed lyrics to fight the wars of the days ahead – H O P E.
FROM THE DARKNESS
Now here we are, fast forward to a whole year later. 2017 and its summer have been drastically opposite of that time of sun colored skin, camp song emptied lungs, and sparkling eyes. In its place, even deeper waters, more nights searching the stars for answers, more filling the sky with whispers of prayers and hopes intertwined unchangeably with heartache, more notes to self of the truth, more tired eyes at sunrise, more climbing hills with heavy limbs (though this time the hills are metaphorical). It’s a season of reclaiming those souvenirs and staring at the snapshots, a way to not forget the amazing ways the One who hung those stars worked in each heart, each day, bringing strength and making new beginnings in stories. I pull up the camera roll often, sometimes scrolling and sometimes turning up sound, letting it all come back in. It does my heart good.
Brokenness has left its impact, pushing past all barriers, ruthlessly examining lies and truth alike, shredding the slightest perceptions of control, forcing you to consider. To consider the scars lining a paper thin heart. To consider again the songs and why we sing. To consider what it truly means to live well, to live with purpose.
Grief, shattered hopes, new realities, weighty expectations, silent tears, searching identity, old struggles coming back around again. These are why you once again need the songs of hope, the album that faces the darkness head on.
FROM THE ENDINGS
As the band said, I want to bring my darkness, all of it, all of the mess and fractures and fears, to the living God because He is more than capable of healing these wounds – this I know in the shadows and into the light.
Maybe we sing because hope deserves an anthem.
Maybe we sing because the wound is where the light shines through.
Maybe we sing because a year later, the light is still shining through the all new fractures and cracks.
Maybe we sing because we realize the wound is where the light is finding you daily, over and over again, bringing hope into the shadows.
And maybe brokenness, grief, and all the things that you thought would leave you in the dark completely, are the places where the light most shines through.
May the light find you, wherever the wound,