God Has The Blues
There's a place I know where the train goes slow
Where the sinner can be washed in the blood of the lamb
There's a river by the trestle down by sinner's grove
Down where the willow and the dogwood grow
You can hear the whistle, you can hear the bell
From the halls of heaven to the gates of hell
And there's room for the forsaken if you're there on time
You'll be washed of all your sins and all of your crimes
If you're down there by the train. - Johnny Cash
Depression and the blues go hand in hand, you could say they are married and mutual partners working in union. I have battled severe depression since I was a little kid. Depression clouds and fogs my (our) perspective. Depression is a robber and thief, stealing and killing joy, peace, and motivation. The memories are stolen from you and replaced with shadows of fear, failure, what if’s, lies, and confusion. There are days and mornings when you awake from sleep only to look into a mirror to see a complete stranger. The man I am looking at I do not know - who am I? The people around me become blurred with my skewed vision and false narratives I recreate and place on them. Yet, I am no fool - there are many logical reasons for depression, especially if you have a compassionate heart towards humanity and the world we live in – it is not exactly a nice world (perfect world… far from it). The other day as I was struggling with identity, purpose, and motivation, I flipped on my tunes, and began listening to Bob Dylan (huge fan) and this song came on called “pressing on” and the Lyrics open with,
“Well I’m pressing on
Yes, I’m pressing on
Well I’m pressing on
To the higher calling of my lord.
Many try to stop me, shake me up in my mind
Say, “Prove to me that He is Lord, show me a sign”
What kind of sign they need when it all come from within
When what’s lost has been found, what’s to come has already been?”
There is something raw and very honest about the blues and music in general. You do not need a great voice to sing the blues, but you do need honesty, indignation, and a fire that will not easily blow out. The blues (music) resonate with humans who are down trodden, oppressed, worn out like an old baseball glove, and living on the margins of society. Many songwriters who sing Blue-ish tunes do (did) so out of brokenness and wanting something better. Many of the legends are African American, they sang out of wanting freedom, breaking the chains of racism and segregation. There is a beauty and righteous anger in their voice, there lurks a passion, the heart that beats beneath their chest causing their feet to thump to the rhythm and tunes. The ground moves, the heart thumbs and pumps blood to the rhythm of the train that is steam rolling into the listeners consciousness. The Blues are a cry of anger and relentlessness. There is a real fight and struggle being waged. See the old man sitting, guitar in hand, face worn out like a piece of leather beat down by time, eyes squinting, voice moaning, feet tapping, swaying back and forth, he says, “ I want freedom, give me freedom, freedom yes freedom.”
What if God sang the Blues? What if Jesus sang the Blues on the cross, “My God, My God why have thou forsaken me?” Often times God is depicted as the one who is not affected by pain, loss, and sadness – this is a mistake. God fully embraced the blues in Jesus, He embraced our fragile being, and He did sing and his song was in His life, in how He chose to die, He embodied His tune.
Let me ask you reader….
What is your tune that awakens you, that sparks a fire inside, that causes you to move, that enables you to see the gift of life, that each and every morning is another resurrection from darkness to life, that today is another shot of experiencing love in weakness, hope in despair, joy in the midst of pain and loss? What is the tune that causes you to want justice for the oppressed? All of us have a tune that wells up inside - each of our lives whether they are broken, being broken, can find a tune to sing in the darkness - because it's in the darkness that light, music, art, expression, justice are birthed into new life.
Share your tune with me – I want to move to the rhythm of this train.