What It’s Like to Be Me: Begin Again Pt 1, Solace

These days, when I talk to friends about divorce, I try to take a balanced approach. I still encourage people to fight for their marriages. I still believe there is something beautiful into two people whose commitment, companionship, and intimacy binds them together through the darkest of times. I still believe divorce sucks. However, in hindsight, divorce was the best gift Bekah ever gave me. It allowed me to become a better man. I discovered health and happiness greater post separation than anytime during our marriage.

It wasn’t easy though. The aftermath of divorce was a season of loss. Personally, financially, and emotionally, it took a toll. However, it was also a time of physical and spiritual renewal. I started eating healthier and exercising, found my way back into church, connected with a group of new friends who supported me where I was while pushing me to grow, and began helping in ministry. As a member of the worship arts team, I found healing and solace in music, much like I once did as a teenager trying to survive the perils of high school.

Matt Redman: “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)” 
Shortly after Bekah and I separated, my grandmother passed away. My cousin Kat, friend Tim, and their kids picked me up on their way to Cheyenne and the five of us road tripped through the night to get there for Grandma’s funeral. During her memorial service, we sang this song and I couldn’t get through it without choking up. “And on that day when my strength is failing, The end draws near and my time has come, Still my soul will sing Your praise unending, Ten thousand years and then forevermore.” Seven years later, I still get a little teary when I hear this song.

All Sons & Daughters: “Reason to Sing” 
When Pastor Gary introduced me to this song, it hit me at a deep emotional level. Opening with words like “When the pieces seem too shattered to gather off the floor,” it seemed to speak where my life was at the moment. I felt the lyrics “When I'm overcome by fear and I hate everything I know,” because that was my daily reality. This song became my prayer, “Will there be a victory? Will You sing it over me now?”

Jimmy Needham: “The Only One” 
It’s easy to focus on things that do not matter. Jimmy called them lovers and lower case gods in this song, “all of my lovers are found in my billfold, they rest on my mantel,” and “all of my gods they have @ signs and hash tags.” I found myself praying along with this song as I knew my tendency to stress over money and social media. “If you're the bread then fill me up. If you're the water fill my cup, 'Til lesser loves are washed out to sea. Why can't I see, you're the only one who satisfies me?” After the losses I endured, I needed my cup filled more than ever.

Sixpence None The Richer: “Amazing Grace (Give It Back)” 
Evangelical culture had always played a central role in my life. It seemed like weekly church attendance would always be my constant. Yet, when my marriage started falling apart my Sunday routine revolved around whether or not I could get my wife out of bed. My dedication started to waiver. Not because I had lost faith, but because I didn’t want to take the kids to church by myself. The opening lyrics of this song remind me what it felt like walking back into my church after the divorce and months of absence. “I knew a song that played in me. It seems I’ve lost the melody. So please, lord, give it back to me.” At the same time, I had to rediscover who I was as a newly minted single father and the religious implications of being a divorcee. I found solace hearing Leigh Nash singing, “You’re everywhere at every time and yet You’re so damn hard to find.” It felt like I wasn’t so alone.

Sanctus Real: “Sanctuary” 
In the long dark night of the soul, we tend to ask the existential questions. This song asked them too. “Why can it be so hard to find peace for my soul, rest in this life, a moment where all seems right?” I returned to Lake City Church in the middle of a season feeling (much like this song suggests) weary, weak, and burdened. I needed sanctuary and I found it. Weekend after weekend, entering through the backstage door, listening to the band rehearse, hanging out in the greenroom with some of the most talented musicians I’ve ever known, listening to the wisdom of the pastoral staff, and engaging in deep reaffirming conversations. Occasionally, I’d find myself on stage, arranging microphone cables or blowing out candles. I’d stand there for a few extra moments, staring into the empty auditorium, and just breathe. Slowly, thanks to the relationships I discovered there, I found healing. I found peace for my soul.

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