A Far off Song

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Tonight, I sat in a crowded room at the new Rabbit Room headquarters, North Wind Manor, and watched people live their passions. From a woman who keeps up a Facebook page for the sole purpose of encouraging others who are in a place of brokenness, to a man who is beginning to share his music with the world to the Peterson families who continue to graciously open their hearts and now one of their homes to anyone who shares their love of beautiful art (be it word, song, or painting.)

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It was a concert by Chris Slaten (Son of Laughter) who has released an EP this year and will be conducting home shows this year to raise money for an album. May I HIGHLY recommend his music.

I’m not sure if Chris intended a certain theme for tonight but if I had to name a thought that kept rising into my mind, it was the idea that ambition isn’t worth much in light of the cross. A sheep doesn’t think much about fulfilling goals, just following his shepherd. A Shepherd who, by Chris’ imagery, became a sheep for me. For us. I’ve been thinking lately that I’d like to live a bit more that way, free and easy and just enjoying what God brings along next.

But between me and that ideal lie this heap of insecurities and fears and wounds that aren’t that easy to dismiss. They’re not the kind of problems that can be solved in the span of a movie or a self-help novel. They’re the kind of things God spends a lifetime rooting out of the garden of a girl’s soul.

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And in between are the days like today when it feels like the roots to the pain and the sin and the fear just go too deep and there’s no point in trying. The bone-weariness of soul is just going to be always be there and who even cares?

This could have turned into a super angsty goth poem over my lunch hour at work, but because I’m not given to too much angst, I just called and had it out in a good cry with my mom on the phone. But I still wasn’t sure about a few things when we hung up.

Like, what am I really doing with my life? And what am I really passionate about? I’m not talking about career, or money or possessions, but that intangible desire God has placed in our souls to make a mark on the world in some way. When I’m low enough to crawl under a snake’s belly with a hat on (like today), I don’t feel passionate about anything. Which is pretty out of character for me. And pretty scary.

But Chris reminded me that if there’s nothing else to be passionate about, there’s always my Savior.

Before one song, Chris asked us to put on our story ears, since the song was one story that happened fairly quickly. This garnered a few chuckles from a room full of story enthusiasts, but I can’t help but think that if I’d put on my story ears a bit more often, I might hear a bit more of what God’s doing in and around me. Instead I just hear discordant strums on an out-of-tune instrument that don’t seem to amount to anything. I’ve not been a huge fan of this tune here lately.

But being at North Wind Manor, I was reminded of something North Wind said to Diamond in the home’s namesake, George MacDonald’s At the Back of the North Wind, just before she went to sink a ship in a terrible storm caused by her gales:

“There are a good many passengers on board; and to tell the truth Diamond, I don’t care about your hearing the cry you speak of. I am afraid you would not get it out of your little head again for a long time.”

“But how can you bear it then, North Wind? For I am sure you are kind. I shall never doubt that again.”

“I will tell you how I am able to bear it, Diamond: I am always hearing, through every noise, through all the noise I am making myself even, the sound of a far-off song….Somehow, I can’t say how, it tells me that all is right; that it is coming to swallow up all the cries… It wouldn’t be the song it seems to be if it did not swallow all their fear and pain too.”

And I suppose that says it all. Except perhaps that being at North Wind Manor, among the beauty and encouragement of Chris’ music, the stimulating conversation I always find among fellow rabbits, and the warm and hospitable nature of Pete and Jennifer Peterson as they welcomed us into what is not only a family business, but their new home, I heard some strains of that far-off song. It’s a lot prettier than the one I’ve been hearing from my own heart lately. I think I’ll put on my story ears and sit back to listen a while.