In my old age, I find myself not caring very much about music. It's something that makes my husband so very sad (but hey, we both have changed--he now plays video games occasionally when he used to hate them). But there are two artists over the past almost-decade that I can't seem to quit: Sufjan Stevens and mewithoutyou. Both have been very influential for me in terms of theology and a life lived with intentionality. Both put on pretty killer live shows as well. So as little as I actually participate in the music scene, I have seen both of these artists at least three times each.
Two Christmas' ago, my husband and I ran into Sufjan at a coffee shop in Portland. And by "ran into him" I mean my husband chatted him up whilst waiting to use the men's restroom while I immediately panicked and ran into the next room of the coffee shop. My husband came to find me: don't you want to say hi to Sufjan? I could only shake my head no. No, no, no. I love him too much. I don't want to bother him with my presence. I love him too much to disrespect him with my adoration. Sufjan went next door and ate bagels by himself. He seemed very sad. He was wearing slightly baggy black leather pants and looked like he was 21. I'm still a little embarrassed at how starstruck I was.
All this to say, his music means a lot to me.
His new album is something else. Gorgeous, sad, full of death and self-destructive behavior and forgiveness and acceptance (and bits of light-heartedness too--like how his swim teacher called him subaru). I listened to it and it stirred up some mighty feelings in me in regards to a particular forgiveness journey I am currently in the throes of. So, as I am wont to do, I wrote it out.
I wanted to make a quick note about this particular essay, because it is so delicate. My husband is very much OK with me publishing this piece, and I want to make it clear that it is about me and my own lack of forgiveness. The facts and details surrounding the abuse so vaguely mentioned are my husband's alone to share (which he does, often and interpersonally). The only thing I can share is what is inside my own heart, and how I have been affected as someone who married into this kind of a situation.
It is hard for Christians to talk honestly about these things, about systems of abuse and families and forgiveness. But I realized the other day that even though I pray for it all the time, I so rarely ever see miracles. But the few that I have seen, the ones I keep so safely tucked away in my heart, have always come down to forgiveness. The supernatural ability to let go, when it is so very clear that I am not capable of that. And much of it, I must say, I have learned from my husband.
All of that to say: here it is. The most vulnerable essay I have written in a long, long time, up over at the Curator.