I tried...

So you see, I came originally from the center. I tried to stay. But the edge beckoned...
- Charles Bowden, Blues for Cannibals

I tried. I really tried. I sat down and tried to participate, be a witness. But I'd been up since 3:30am and it was then 6:30pm and the room was dark, lit only by candles, and the music was soft and moody and the voices were quiet and reverent and everybody got real still and Lent-like. My family was fully in the moment, so too the people around me, all standing when prompted, singing loudly the songs on high screens. I tried to stay. But the edge beckoned. It was centrifugal - spinning, pulling, slipping.

If I say that I have no sin, I deceive myself...

Come on, God. Is this my Lent? To be among the people, but not of them? The emphasis last night was on telling our stories, being a witness...is this the story I'm to tell, God? Hey, everyone, I'm over here, on the edge. Don't worry about me. I tried to stay. I really did. But the scripture was cotton stuffed in my mouth and the songs put me to death and instead of the white of candlelight, I needed bright, rusty, blood-red something, I don't know what, but something red, something like what's on the tips of my fingers as I tried to hold on but couldn't, scraping, clawing to stay. But the edge beckoned. But maybe, just maybe someone needs to be on the edge, tipsy with Lent-lust and exhaustion with Sunday's communion wine still in his beard and bloodshot eyes...then again, maybe that's it. That could be it. Maybe the Lenten wheel is turning, gathering steam, like some god-awful-centrifuge; yes, maybe that's it. We'd all love to stay in the center, all Christmas-like, but Lent starts spinning, pulling, and we all begin careening toward the edge, clawing with blood-red fingers to stay in the creche with baby Jesus and the cattle lowing. But we can't. We're trying, but we can't. And maybe, just maybe I'm the first to go, some forerunner, an example of what it looks like. A witness. A fool. A sinner. Maybe Lent is the love of God going helter-skelter-spinning-crazy, throwing everyone and everything, all creation, off it's center, hurling us screaming and scraping the floor to the edges where the darkness lives, where death lives. For only that which dies can be resurrected.

As for now, this is my story. This is my song.


  1. Love it, brother. A life truly lived well runs the gamut of emotions and, if we're lucky, I say, LUCKY, leaves us out of breath! I want to be in a community that gives me water when I crave it, not high-tea. For he has called me by name, and it is, "Hey, you, snot-nosed rebel!"

  2. That is the beauty of God's grace...we don't have to strive; claw, have bloody fingers to "stay with religion." If all we ever experience is the "center;" we never see the stunning beauty of His love and grace.

    I personally believe there are times when He allows the spinning and careening. We need to get far enough away from the center to see what it really is...however, there is another who is hungry for a "bright, rusty, blood red something..." who thrives out on the edge, hoping the Lenten wheel will provide more than wine and bread to feed his hunger...keep a watch out for the exits provided off this "merry go round..."

  3. ...keep it coming

    ...keep clawing

    ...there are more with you than you know, but you can't see them because it's dark

    ...again, keep it coming/keep writing

    ...your thoughts are needed to guide some of the rest of us on the edges

  4. I'm feeling a bit of a careen right now, too. Thank you for articulating the unseen christian life. I need to see more often that I'm not alone.