The clouds drifted in over the baseball field, pushed by a fall wind and bringing an early end to the night. We had arrived late to the practice as I was at a meeting at City Hall. Carter had a chance to hit twice, field a few grounders, and practice was over. We went to the playground as the light finally died and, when I convinced him to go, walked to the car together.
He wasn’t himself.
I asked what was happening and the conversation moved to baseball.
“I’m not having fun anymore, dad.”
He looked at me from the backseat as we drove home.
This evening I met a young man shooting a documentary about the city of Reading. He filmed me in the cafe of our church as I talked about the book and the fight against poverty. He asked how the average person can get involved and what would be the biggest help. I looked at the cameras in my face, took a deep breath, and answered.
We all struggle on two fronts; connection and consistency. We believe we are different, that the poor are “out there” and we are “in here.” Conversations must happen to change any societal system. Service must be redefined. Help must be given on a consistent basis.
It is one thing to give on the holidays, serve a meal or lead a community group. It is another thing to do it monthly.
To serve when it is not fun anymore.
There’s a song by Cold War Kids that I’ve been hooked on for the last few days called, First. The lyrics talk about life when you get trapped in a destructive cycle of disappointment, breaking of trust and going back to the start. A verse reads:
There comes a time, in a short life
Turn it around, get a rewrite
Call it a dark, night of the soul
Ticking of clocks, gravity’s pull
First you get close, then you get worried
Flying like a cannonball, falling to the earth
Heavy as a feather when, you hit the dirt
How am I the lucky one?, I do not deserve
To wait around forever when, you were there first.
Cold War Kids have a fascinating story themselves as a band (check Relevant Magazine here) that includes faith, brokenness, trials and redemption. The connections are the same. Father to son. Producer to consumer. Community member to community member. Believer to believer.
We’ve all hurt. We’ve all struggled. We need to face down this life together and do it for the long haul.
That is when walls come down and grace, hope, and mercy rise up.