Tuesday, April 24, 2007

P4E.020 Empty

Sometimes an artist/musician says things in such a way that it just resonates....

"I never learned to count my blessings
I choose instead to dwell in my disasters…
Will I always feel this way?
So empty, so estranged?

Of these cutthroat, busted, sunsets
these cold and damp, white, mornings
I have grown weary.
If through my cracked and dusty, dime-store lips
I spoke these words out loud
would no one hear me?
Will I always feel this way?
So empty, so estranged?

Well, I looked my demons in the eyes,
laid bare my chest, said "Do your best. Destroy me.
You see, I've been to hell and back so many times,
I must admit you kinda bore me."
There's a lot of things that can kill a man,
there's a lot of ways to die.
Yes and some already did and walk beside me.
There's a lot of things I don't understand.
Why so many people lie?
It's the hurt I hide that fuels the fire inside me.
Will I always feel this way?
So empty, so estranged?"

Artist: Ray LaMontagne
Song: Empty
Album: Till the Sun Turns Black

People have been asking "Why the melancholy?" It really does revolve around my remorse over having been such a poor husband to my wife and father to my 3 sons. Don't get me wrong, things are definitely on the mend between all of us. But, in my relationships, I am reaping what I sowed for about 20 years. And it makes me sad. I try not to be overwhelmed and to receive the grace that they and God extend my way. It is a lot of work to repair such things and sometimes I am overwhelmed.

This is why I write. To sort all of these things out. To sound the warning to all who will listen to an older and (now) wiser man. Because I see the old me mirrored back in so many men that I come in contact with. And I want so desperately to make a difference. But, like the old me, they turn away. "I'm OK, I'm working on it, it's a process you know? This is just the way I am. There's lots of time to deal with my relationships. They're not going anywhere. They've got problems too, you know? If they were nicer, I would be too." That old attitude that I see mirrored back to me makes me melancholy too.

I believe that the hope of post-modern man is that we would move past the detachedness, the subfusion. Away from arrogance and towards humility. Valuing understanding others more than being understood. Being less judgmental and extending more grace.

The problem is that post-modern man is really in no better position to implement these values than was modern man. I am in no better position to implement these values because of my (limited) understanding of what it means to be "modern" or "post-modern." I'm still involved in that age-old conflict between the flesh and the spirit. Will I always feel this way? So empty, so estranged?

I scream with all the intensity that Paul did in his letter to the Romans, "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?"

And without denying the gut-wrenching circumstances that are cropped up in my life, without denying the feelings of inadequacy, without denying the process that I must go through to get there...I end up acknowledging the same salvation that Paul did....Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the pattern that I will strive to mold myself to. His compassion, His grace, His empathy, His understanding, His strength, His humility, His sacrifice are my goals.

God help me (and you too!).

Your ally in the pursuit of Christlikeness, Kim


  1. Kim, It is good for you to write to work at sorting these things out. I appreciate your words and am sure you've had a ministry to some already, even if you haven't realized it. This can give alot of hope to others like us who could have done so much better over the years, as well as instruction to the younger. Hang in there, brother!

  2. Kim,
    I don't know if you read comments on "old" posts.
    Its hard mining your blog.
    It makes me cry and hurt.
    Just like Ken's book