Sunday, July 31, 2011

GUATEMALA 2011: (4) Something To Believe In

While I was in Guatemala last year, I wore my faithful Minnetonka Roll-Up Hat as I have on every excursion over the past decade. I had also rolled a bandanna and tied it around my head to reduce the amount of sweat that ran onto my face. 

I heard several of our group softly laughing, and I heard them say that I was trying to be Bret Michaels. I was perplexed. I had never heard of the man. I was raised as an only child, and in my home, secular music really wasn't something we heard. Naturally, my curiosity was peaked, and I knew that some homework was needed. me!

Bret Michaels
Chad P. Shepherd
 Yeah, I totally see the resemblance. We both have hats, we both have bandannas, hey... we even both have earrings! 

And it gets pretty pathetically funny from there! I think he has a little more of the "it factor" than I do. But, for what it's worth I will be rocking my hat and bandanna again this year, and he ain't getting any younger!

When we came home I was telling this story to my friend Kayci, and he immediately started scrolling through his phone. Suddenly I hear the music of Something To Believe In by Poison. It caught my attention and I downloaded it to my DroidX while sitting there. I now know the words by heart and can often be seen tearing down I-75 Southbound with the windows down and singing along.
I tried all night not to break down and cry
as the tears streamed down my face.
I felt so cold and empty
like a lost soul out of place.
The song captures that part of us that we don't let others often see. You know what I'm talking about. Those quiet moments when the day is done and you are left alone with your thoughts and reflections you just can't shut off when you close your eyes. When you feel the smallness of yourself and the enormity of the world and the impossible gap between the two. 

There is reason to doubt all around us. So many questions of WHY? 

Have you reached that point when sanity seems to have just slipped out of reach, and then you are desperate for something to cling to? Just the smallest finger hold of something to believe in?

This is a struggle that we all engage in. I am no exception, and you know it well too. We are all created the same, with the same needs and desires. Here is a recent interpretation of this cry of the human heart:

You spend your days alone still hopin' for the truth, oh
But all you hear are lies
But no on else is gonna tell you what to do now
No one else is gonna help you hold the line

What do you do when reality lands squarely on your soul when you least expect it?

I found myself one early winter day, deep in thought with this song and pulled my car over to take a moment. I saw an old cemetery and drove my car down the narrow lane. I heard the gravel crunching under the tires until I arrived at the peak of the hill. I shut the car off, buttoned up my coat, pulled on my gloves and began walking. I noticed the quiet stillness of the day. I could only hear the wind blowing through the needles of the surrounding pines. I looked across the landscape and saw this striking monument.

Angel Stone In West Chester, OH

The beauty and power of the wings that cover the posture of prayer spoke to my belief. I have kept this picture on my phone and I often look at it to remember that day.

There is a power that is available when we allow our belief to direct our actions.

Give me something to believe in. This is at the core of us all. How can we get through this life if we lack belief?

Adam Agin... your line, You can't believe in Nothing, from I Will Come Alone, seizes my mind and calms the chaos that attempts to take hold.

So here I sit, ending this day contemplating the words of Poison, Parachute, & Neulore; understanding that my true belief remains found in the shadow of his wing.

Psalm 63:7, 36:7, 17:8, 57:1

Take refuge in the shadow of his wings, and find your belief there. 

I return to this place daily, and I find something to believe in. Belief then leads us to action. In six short days I will go all Bret Michaels on Guate. I ask that you come alongside me on this experience. There is so much that can be done. 

So, from my ramblings of Poison & a Parachute, and my contemplations of wings from a grave marker... I challenge you to search out your something to believe in, and then act on it. Embrace your belief and combat the silence of the night with the knowledge that you are making a difference.

Make a difference for the least of these... clothe, feed, provide shelter. I promise you will find belief in this place.

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