filling empty space

I was lucky enough to attend the Jack Johnson concert in Wisconsin on Sunday. It was a perfect day; warm, bug-less, and clear skies.

We had shuffled through the madness of traffic, which had more than doubled our travel time, and sifted through the crowds to get close to the stage with a good view of the smooth musicians: Money Mark, Mason Jennings, and Jack Johnson. It was an interesting setting and the crowd was an interesting blend of alcohol, smoke, some various drug use, as well as families, and the sober.

The two opening bands finished and the beers were kicking in. The music was moving through the soul and heads were bobbing. Jack Johnson came on stage and the roar of the audience rose across the field.

There had to have been several thousands of fans who were tightly packed in front of the stage; soaking in the sweet melody of his acoustic guitar.

I loved the music. It fit the scenery; it fit the moment. The sun felt like a warm blanket on my back, and as the stars came out with the darkness shadowing the faces and brightening the lights on stage, it hit me.

To my left there was a man who was obviously in an alternate reality, the air was now full of cigarette and marijuana, further down the row to my right there were 2 guys on acid and surrounding me there were people whose several drinks had finally caught up to them.

I started looking around me as the lyrics: ‘i love Jesus and Buddha too… how can there be one way to get to you- we are all apart of God…’ was met with loud cheering from the crowd and everyone echoed an ‘alright’ in agreement.

I was struck by the emptiness of those lyrics and the emptiness I was seeing in the actions of those around me.

There has to be more than life than escaping it.

I looked up at the stars; the vastness of the sky and the universe overwhelmed me- it all seemed so surreal that life like this’ in its infinite complexity, could exist. I started to feel the reality of how brief life was and how little life was truly being lived. I was filled with sadness.

I wondered what point there was in living life when it is so brief and in the grand scheme of the universe and beyond-  life of any human seems unimportant.

I did not stay in this state of despair however.

It has helped me gain perspective. Although the reality of life, all the sorrow, pain, and evil exists- I have come to the cliche conclusion that it is worth living the life I have been given to the best of my abilities- to make the most of the little time I have. This in my conclusion, is that this is done through loving and serving others; by offering the gifts and skills you have, to help others.

I want to LIVE life.

My question is:

How can one inspire others to choose life instead of simply filling empty space? And how do you go about actually living when the world gives a definition of living that seems to lead to the opposite?

What are your thoughts?

(CLARIFICATION: Now, I do not want to be misunderstood: I do not hate anyone who is involved in these areas. I am not trying to judge them. I am simply coming (once again) to the realization through observation, that this is not worth while and that there is so much more to life- and because I wish the best for others I wonder how I may share LIFE with them.)

Much Afraid

Empty again

Sunken down so far

So scared to fall

Might not get up again

So I lay at You feet

All my brokenness

I carry my burdens to You

Chorus:

All of these things

Held up in vain

No reason or rhyme

Just the scars that remain

I’m so much afraid

Scared out of my mind

By the demons I’ve made

Sweet Jesus, you never let me go

Oh, sweet Jesus, you never ever let me go.

So happy to love

Yet so far to go

You lead me on to where I’ve never been before

No, no, no, sweet Jesus, you never let me go.

by Jars of Clay

Under Construction

I stood today in the large NBA arena looking down on the blue caps and gowns of my High School. It has been exactly 365 days since I sat in those black fold up chairs. I was one uniform, 18 year old student among the nearly 800 other blue gowned students, who after four years of growth, had finally made her way out of the very crazy  k-12 stretch into young adulthood. I was looking ahead to the road that called me to my soon to come independence: College.

Now a Sophomore at my University, I look at these anxious and excited soon to be college Freshmen, and wonder what incredible changes they will allow into their lives.

I was recalling my expectations. I felt like I was finally an adult. I had reached the age I never thought would come, and looking back at my first year of college- I realize how little I could have even guessed would occurr in my life from those black fold up chairs, in just one year. I have been humbled and realize that I am NOT on top of the world. Even though college years are fun- I must and have (for the most part) adopted the learners heart… I do NOT know everything there is to know- I also know I am NOT all that- even though I have some of the coolest friends ever, and have been having a blast. I am an insignificant individual to the rest of the world. This doesn’t disturb me.

So much of high school is a search for relevance and significance to your peers, teachers, even your parents. Finally, at the end of those four years you may be the hottie, the jock, the brainiack who seems to be the new Einstein, etc. Then you toss your cap, you pack all of your belongings into the trunk of your car, and all of a sudden you are a nobody. No one knows your history, and it doesn’t matter if you were the most popular boy or girl out of the thousands at your public high school- you aren’t now.

Just looking down at the graduates from the nose bleed section helped me to realize how good it was to be rid of all of the high school who’s who and to figure out who I AM… in an environment directly suited for who I want to become.

That was another thing… finally I had the opportunity to really think about, and FOCUS on who I want to become.

I am still figuring life out, and I am still in transition- I am still under construction.

6 major changes and a year later I am possibly even more confused as to who I am. Construction is the perfect analogy though. I feel as if high school was the mapping out of the house the ground work etc. It was the part where you spray paint the lines and draw out the plans. In college they tear the foundation right out from under you and begin building the structure.

It requires heavy machinery lots of people and a good design.

I am still under construction; I will always be under construction. I have experienced the intense questions that have helped me rethink where I am going in life, that have challenged what I believe, and have helped me become stronger and grow a more sturdy foundation.

I look forward to the work ahead. Congrats class of 2008! May your construction go well. May it challenge you and may it strengthen you and help you to realize how much God truly is watching over you and how much he truly cares for you.