A tape is playing in my head this morning. And it’s not the first time I’ve heard it. And, sadly, it won’t be the last. It’s one that says: You’re unloveable. You’re ugly. You’re stupid. You have no worth. It’s not something we like to talk about. We’d rather talk about the weather or politics or recycling or last nights sports game. Anything to get our mind off of what we are so busy trying to get our mind off of – the aching within. No matter your belief system or systematic acceptance or rejection of faith. We all have this in common as we universally say, “Let’s not talk about it.” And we don’t want to talk about it because we don’t want to think about it.
And there is the lie.
Remember the scene in PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES where John Candy & Steve Martin (best underrated comedy team of all time) were going down the WRONG WAY of a highway.
A couple going the SAME WAY on the other side of the highway kept yelling, “YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY. YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY.” Yet because of all the NOISE the couldn’t hear it, and not only mis-heard what they were saying, they thought their advice was silly and stupid.
But they were wrong. It was advice that could save their life. But again, because it can’t be under emphasized, their advice was drowned out by the NOISE.
I just want you to know your not alone this morning. Probably because I want to know I’m not alone. And thanks to a great group of guy friends this morning who let me know I wasn’t. Too many to mention, but especially David Nicholas McCracken. Thank you for being the person on the other side of the highway to remind me to not listen to the noise of my life, and realize that I’m going the wrong way. I don’t need to head to noise. I don’t need to head towards anything and everything that could help me forget about the aching lie within my heart that tells me I am worthless. But I merely need to be still.
Maybe this is why the Author of the ancient song book called Psalms says in chapter 46 says, “Be still and know that I’m God.”
I’m not sure any of us need a sermon or a self-help book. I’m not convinced we need a goal or a guru. I don’t think we need a diet or a dream. I just think we need to shut up and listen. I think we need to get in our cars and drive out to the ocean, woods, or the middle of nowhere to just be in the beautiful agony of being alone. For in that place if I can slow down and and match the rhythms of my breathing with the rhythms of the wind, and the rustling of the leaves. The songs of the earth that were hear long before U2 or Justin Timberlake.
And just BE STILL.
For, I think, only in that place and only in that place can we find the answer to the question, “Does anyone really love me?” and really be heard. Not just listened to, but really heard. Where it counts. The sound that drips past the ears and seeps deep into your soul.
Yes, I’m not gonna lie – as I wouldn’t want you to either – I believe it’s true what Rich Mullins once wrote and sang, ” Jesus gave love a face and a name.”
But God is love. And that love was here long before the word became flesh. And that word made “Blue for the sky and the color green that fills these fields with praise.”
Yes – no matter how much or little – we all have our own little record players and vhs recordings as visual and audible reminders of how there are people that don’t like us, or there are regrets that we regret, or there are mistakes and sins that we have done and have been done to us, and those loops of audio and visual recordings can be deafening and sometimes deadly. But they don’t define you.
There is a deeper recording that was recorded long before we all got here. And it says this:
I love you and I like you. And I more than love you and like you. When I think of you My eyes light up. And I get butterflies in my stomach. I wish you could see. But that will come later. For now, and until then, you’ll have to listen.