Would Evan Hansen Be Welcome at Bear Creek UMC
The other day I read a great “Peanuts” (Charles Schultz) comic strip. Charlie Brown was “in” at Lucy’s Psychology booth, and he looks, as always, bewildered. And Lucy, brimming with confidence, was saying, “Charlie Brown, think of life as a big cruise ship and the most important decision you need to make is exactly where you are going to place your deck chair! Are you going to put it up front so you can lead, Charlie Brown, or in the back, where you can watch what everyone is doing?” And Charlie Brown looks out at all of us and says, “I can’t even figure out how to unfold mine.”
Sometimes when I go to a bookstore and look at the Christian Spirituality section, I feel like the Christian faith has turned into one big “self-help” industry. Looking at all those books is like looking at thousands of “Lucy Booths”, and all of them are ready to give us advice on where to put our deck chairs. Every one of them might as well have a big sign above their book saying: “For just $10.99 you can now live a better more “spirit-filled” life!”
Where’s the book section for those of us who are still figuring out how to unfold our “life chairs!?!
This last week I’ve come to the realization that for many people life isn’t a line of perfectly placed arrows pointing upwards. That life, instead, can get messy sometimes. I think this all started for me when Cyndy and I started to watch the musical/movie “Dear Evan Hanson”. If you haven’t heard of this musical (now a movie) I highly recommend it, if you have or work with or love any child in High School or Middle School. One of the key songs is “waving through a window”.
Here is a link to a movie trailer so you can get the gist of the movie: https://youtu.be/g_c_Jd-hP-s
One of the major songs in the musical is called “Waving Through a Window”. Here are some of the lyrics and the YouTube link to the song:
On the outside, always looking in
Will I ever be more than I’ve always been?
‘Cause I’m tap, tap, tapping on the glass
Waving through a window
I try to speak, but nobody can hear
So I wait around for an answer to appear
While I’m watch, watch, watching people pass
Waving through a window, oh
Can anybody see, is anybody waving?
When you’re falling in a forest and there’s nobody around
Do you ever really crash, or even make a sound?
I don’t know if I’m reading what’s going on right now in our world accurately, but I think there are a lot of people out there and in our church who are wondering if their life “even makes a sound” anymore.
Add to that the crazy amount of loss that is out there…grief in all its forms…i.e., loss of jobs, loss of loved ones, displacement, loss of meaning, change of life situation, disease, mental illness, and more…is just so a part of life right now! Recently I read the book “The Sky is Everywhere” and I came across this poem that I think describes grief so well. A poem written by a teen who lost her older sister:
Grief is a house
Where the chairs
Have forgotten how to hold us
The mirrors how to reflect us
The walls how to contain us
Grief is a house that disappears
Each time someone knocks at the door
Or rings the bell
A house that blows into the air
At the slightest gust
That buries itself deep in the ground
While everyone is sleeping
Grief is a house where no one can protect you
Where your younger sister
Will grow older than the older one
Where the doors no long let you in
Look, I’m not trying to be a downer, here…but I think we, as a church, need to be aware of where people are at right now. It’s been a long, difficult two years. People have had the deck of their cruise ship battered and capsized by this incredible storm called “Covid 19” and people are all over the place on when and how to come back. Some have nailed their chairs to the deck and refuse to move! Others have completely lost their deck chairs and are still swimming out there in the sea trying to find theirs and each other’s! Still others have just paddled their life rafts back up to the deck and are trying to figure just how to get their chair unfolded! And I could go on and on.
The key to going forward is simply this: we must do the work of reaching out, reconnecting, and inviting folks to get back in the church and realize that any of our attempts at invite and reconnection are not going to ever be “the solution”. And under all our attempts must be a base bottom attempt to “understand” what folks are going through.
If we can lovingly “stand under” others as they work through this, I believe with all my heart that we will become a better, deeper, and more loving “boat”.
Your friend and pastor, searching Google to see if there are any directions to this blasted deck chair we call a meaningful life, Brook