Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Songs and lessons from back in the day revisited

My roommate and I were singing worship songs that we used to sing in The Rock a long long time ago in a dorm far far away. The song that made me cry was Give us Clean Hands by Chris Tomlin. I remember singing this with Aaron Ritter or Nathan Hrouda leading us with the acoustic guitar in Danforth Chapel. In my Junior year, I'd sing this with my friends, our voices bouncing off the stone walls & floor. Tears would be streaming down my eyes because I was asking God to rid my life of an idol. That idol was this chemistry professor that a fellow Rocker and I had the previous year. We had tried to reach out to him, and I had gotten to know him a bit during office hours since I struggled in his class at the beginning. Over the summer, I realized that I still thought about him because I wanted him to be there as a bit of a father-figure since my mom was dealing with her brother's cancer and needed my support at the time. At the same time, my grandpa who was my current father-figure was showing clear signs of dementia. Over that summer and into that next year, I often would go to this professor instead of God for my issues or just sit there and wonder what he would think rather than ask God.

Yet I was reminded that he was an idol every time I sang that song. "We bow our hearts / we bend our knees / oh Spirit come make us humble / we turn our eyes / from evil things / oh Lord we cast down our idols / give us clean hands / give us pure hearts / let us not lift our souls to another .... oh God let this be / a generation that seeks / that seeks your face O God of Jacob. " In a sense, I was lifting my soul to another. 

l did this a bit this summer too when I found out that I was on the autism spectrum. This time, I hadn't met this particular professor except by watching documentaries and lectures she did. Dr. Temple Grandin is a bit of a legend in the autism world as well as the livestock world. I wanted to read her stuff & wished I could spend a day with her as someone who could mentor me & understand how my brain worked. I knew about the father-figure void, I didn't know I also was looking for a mother-figure. I realized that at points, I wished she would serve as that person to tell me that everything was ok, that it was ok that I had these struggles, and that she had gone before me and would help me along if needed. Well, as we've never met, she can't do that, no matter how much I spent imagining that she could.

I allowed God into these thoughts much sooner than I had allowed Him into my thoughts the last time this happened. He was the One who comforted me where I felt that lack of someone being there. He reminded me that He is my Creator and knows my brain better than anyone else. He is also accessible 24/7 and can handle my most giddy giggly moments to my most extreme meltdowns better than any earthly parent or parent-like figure. In fact, He was present even in the midst of a really bad meltdown about a month ago. When I sang Give us Clean Hands, I cried because though God had to take me through this "Yes this professor is awesome and could possibly fill the parental void, he/she isn't supposed to. I am" process, He taught me more about Himself in deeper ways each time. Knowing that He is Father, Healer, Overcomer, the Ultimate Famous One, the best example, the ultimate strength in our weakness, and the ultimate Comforter was worth all the tears I have shed through both of these processes.