In a real sense we are on a kind of wilderness journey. Of course, true wilderness has nothing to do with sand dunes, cacti and searing sun. True wilderness is the experience of having the familiar patterns of our life suddenly turned upside down: the breakdown of regular routine and patterns.
-Br. Geoffrey Tristram
Full Sermon: http://ssje.org/ssje/category/sermon/?p=2111
Suicide – Cheree
Br. Geoffrey rightly identifies the sort of wilderness everyone experiences at one time or another. It is inevitable. In this excerpt, he uses the word “suddenly”. We may also find ourselves wandering a wilderness for a prolonged time though as well. And it is from that perspective where this song came to mind. I was a young adult and had expected my life would dramatically improve once I got away from high school. I was not yet mature enough to realize that I was contributing to the problem in a large way, and had always been allowing the people or places around me to control and intimidate me. And so, I was descending into an ever deeper haze of depression and fear. The impressive stash of money I had saved by working my ass off throughout high school for college was gone. All shot in one year for one foolish of year of college. Just half of that cash could have bought me a studio anywhere in Boston which would be worth literally 10 times the price now. The structures which were reliable pillars in my life when I was younger were no longer in place. I really didn’t have any friends, and so, no one to confide in, and I was becoming more and more isolated. I was convinced that music was beckoning me. That if I followed where that interest was, I would find my place. And not just music, but the intellects and ideas that went with the music I felt I was being drawn to so powerfully. I had read about this band Suicide. Two guys from NYC who played old, beat-up synthesizers and sounded like no one else. They were identified as early punks. Through antagonism, incompetence, or deliberate intent, they sometimes provoked riots with their music. So one Saturday in early summer, I rode my bike to Mystery Train, one of the great used record stores Boston once claimed, I bought the “Half Alive” cassette on the legendary Roir Records. Upon arriving back home, I did so with a tremendous thud of loneliness. In my head, I somehow expected that something would have happened while I was out. I would have met someone, had some interesting experience. Or I would have at least been gone longer than I was. It was still early afternoon for crying out loud! And my day was done. And what’s worse – I couldn’t really even tell if I liked this freakin band! What the hell was I listening to?!? Was this my life?!? An endless unnoticed stream of quiet disappointments? And yet, there was an undeniable energy to the tape. Some songs stood out in my head and demanded a second listen. There was an ominous air about the sound. It rumbled and vibrated and truly did seem to be otherworldly. Some songs were oddly catchy. And some, like this one, were quite sweet and sentimental in their way. It was not clear to me that afternoon, nor even a year later, but that afternoon was a turning point in my life. God was with me that day, witnessing to my loneliness and sadness, but the time had not yet come to break free from it. I was still being fed. And this album was part of the process for me. This is how God seems to work. One day it seems none of the pieces fit and the pain we feel is so acute, but then one little piece, one glimmer of light falls into place, and we begin to understand. It is easy to encourage people to be patient, to suggest that God is with them even when it seems everything is so wrong. I myself would have replied with a stream of profanity at the suggestion that particular day, and perhaps still to this day if I’m in just enough of a crappy mood. But I do believe it’s true. God is at work and is with us even when we suffer. Praying and cultivating a state of awareness helps us to understand this, and helps buffer us from the intensity of the pain we experience at times. God may very well be using that pain in that moment to forge the person you will be when joy surrounds you.
Kings and Desperate Men - 1981
Finally! I’ve been desperately waiting to see this movie because I <3 Mcgoohan.
Not sleepy, so did a sketch while in bed. I call this one ‘I have no idea what I’m doing.’
I’m going to SPX next week, walking around with a new little collection of drawings and comics to sell/trade! It’ll have a bunch of stuff that I’ve posted recently, plus some new mice doodles like this one here.
Maybe I’ll see you there???