The week before my 18th birthday, I went to the Junior/Senior retreat at Leoni Meadows. This place has become very important to me over the last few months, and it's not hard for me to see why. The last night of the retreat, a song called "Jesus, Jesus" by Noah Gundersen was played by one of the song leaders. I wasn't expecting it, but this song made me sob in my seat. The lyrics have been going through my head ever since, and today I wanted to go through some of them.
Jesus, Jesus, could you tell me what the problem is
With the world and all the people in it?
Because I've been hearing stories about the end of the world
But I'm in love with a girl and I don't wanna leave her
And the television screams such hideous things
They're talking about the war on the radio
They say the whole thing's gonna blow
And we will all be left alone
No, we'll be dead and we won't know what hit us
This is the first verse. By the third line, tears were already spilling down my cheeks. The thing about this song is it said everything that I've been told/that I've felt for so long. From eighth grade, in particular, I've been told that before Jesus comes back I'll be deserted, left alone; that I'll have to fend for myself and I won't have anyone. Every time something happens in the world that's related to war, terrorism, or natural disasters I feel the pit in my stomach tighten. It makes me think that I only have so much time left to be with the people I love.
Jesus, Jesus, if you're up there won't you hear me
‘Cause I've been wondering if you're listening for quite a while
And Jesus, Jesus, it's such a pretty place we live in
And I know we fucked it up, please be kind
Don't let us go out like the dinosaurs
Or blown to bits in a third world war
There are a hundred different things I'd still like to do
I'd like to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower
Look up from the ground at a meteor shower
And maybe even raise a family
"It's such a pretty place we live in" caused the tears to fall a little faster. I still believe that God wouldn't put us here only to wait for it to be destroyed. I don't think he would let us be here for so long if there wasn't still something good. This world is still beautiful, and I truly do believe that. One of my biggest "problems," for lack of a better word, is the fact that I want to do, see, and accomplish so many things before Jesus comes back. When I was little I used to pray for him not to come back until I'd gotten married and had kids. I wanted to experience that part of life, and honestly? I still really do.
Jesus, Jesus, there are those that say they love you
But they have treated me so goddamn mean
And I know you said ‘forgive them for they know not what they do'
But sometimes I think they do
And I think about you
If all the heathens burn in hell, do all their children burn as well?
What about the Muslims and the gays and the unwed mothers?
What about me and all my friends?
Are we all sinners if we sin?
Does it even matter in the end if we're unhappy?
*cue the sobbing and me falling onto the shoulder of the person next to me* The concept of forgiveness has always been difficult for me. The line about people knowing when they're being cruel especially got to me, and it caused me to break down into full-fledged sobs. I love my friends. I love my family. I believe that I am surrounded by good people. I don't like the idea of a god that sends people to hell because of something that they can't control.
Jesus, Jesus, I'm still looking for answers
Though I know that I won't find them here tonight
But Jesus, Jesus, could you call me if you have the time?
And maybe we could meet for coffee and work it out
And maybe then I'll understand what it's all about
Ahh, yes- answers. The thing that I want but have trouble getting. I don't like being patient, and I don't like misunderstanding something. I don't like being unsure, and I really don't like crying in front of people, but that's what I was doing. I sat in that chair and cried. At some point, my friend Mary switched places with one of the people next to me and I kept crying. There was something about this song that touched such a real, honest part of me.
I talk about being genuine all the time. So much, in fact, that it's the third part of the tagline for this website. I appreciate vulnerability and honesty with people and with yourself, but for some reason, the idea of being honest with God didn't come to mind. This song put words to my thoughts, my emotions, and my fears, and I'm very thankful for it. I'd been so anxious and fearful because of everything that had been happening in the world a couple weeks ago, and still now. This song was comforting, and it continues to be. It was a simple reminder that being honest is important, and that doesn't just apply to yourself and the people around you.