Your story is incredibly significant. No matter where you’ve come from or where you go, you will always matter.
“Don’t Give Up”
“Don’t give up. It’s just the weight of the world. When your heart’s heavy, I will lift it for you.”
I first heard this song on a church retreat a few years ago, and to this day, it still gives me chills. The amount of truth in this song, then and now, is staggering to me.
There have been so many times in my life when I haven’t believed that I was loved or that people hear me and want to walk with me through life. I thought those were lies. If I had been given the chance to talk to Josh Groban as he wrote this song, I would have said, “You’re wrong! No one’s going to lift this weight for me. No one’s going to help me. I might as well give up.”
Well, as it turns out, I was the one who was wrong.
“Everybody wants to be understood. Well, I can hear you.”
When I first heard this song, I interpreted it as God speaking to me, telling me that He hears me and will guide me. It was a powerful moment for me. My faith was struggling, and I couldn’t bring myself to believe that I was lovable, much less that God loved me. But in the moments, months, and years that followed, I found the truth in that song. I didn’t give up on my faith; I started to rebuild it.
“When darkness blinds you, I will shine to guide you.”
I also had some rebuilding to do in my everyday life—and it would mean allowing others to help me. There were so many people who loved me, but I honestly couldn’t always see it. I assumed if I showed my true self—if others knew about my struggles with depression, self-injury, and suicide—they wouldn’t want anything to do with me. I thought I’d scare them off, or they’d think I was a freak.
But again, I was wrong.
When I started to tell people about my struggles, they were wonderfully supportive. Not everyone knew how to respond, and not everyone knew exactly how to support me. But I could tell they loved me and wanted me to get better. Sometimes it was as simple as telling someone, “Hey, I’m having a rough time right now. Can we hang out, maybe get some coffee?” They were always happy to walk with me through those times. My friends and my family brought that light into my darkness. I have no reason to give up, because I am surrounded by hope radiating from those who care about me.
“Don’t give up, because you are loved.”
Just like TWLOHA’s Fears vs. Dreams campaign illustrates, we all have a greatest fear, as well as a greatest dream. That dream is what drives us. No matter what we struggle with, no matter what we fear, we all “want to burn bright.” And we all have the ability to do so.
Please don’t give up on yourself or your dreams, no matter how heavy the world may feel sometimes. Remember that there are others who want to help carry that weight—and that you are loved.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” —John Hughes
Friends of Type paid homage to John Hughes by illustrating the last line of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as “a reminder to those who are too busy to stop and enjoy life.”
In the days after Thanksgiving, i traded emails with my friend David McKenna. He shared that 2012 had been the hardest year of his life. i told him i was sorry for the weight of those words, and we agreed to try to spend some time together soon. Tragically, David was killed in a car accident two weeks ago. In the hours following his death, i learned something that has stayed with me. i learned that David’s final days were hopeful. He was excited about 2013. For some reason, David believed that the year ahead could be different than the one behind. He believed that things could be new. This blog is dedicated to the curious hope that lived inside my friend.
i wrote the words below one year ago, wrestling with New Year’s. While i’m proud of what i wrote, it was the words that came in response that meant the most. This blog asks questions and it was amazing to see people answer the questions. Especially on twitter, people from around the world shared their thoughts and feelings for the new year, what they wanted to leave behind and what they wanted to find. It was a blog that grew into something more and i’m posting it here and now in hopes that you might join the conversation.
The ball drops and fireworks. Resolutions are made.
People scream and people kiss and is it possible to change?
Is it really truly possible to leave the past behind?
Welcome to Midnight.
Another year comes to a close. Another year begins.
With a moment in between.
Why the fuss?
Why the fame and fireworks?
Is it more than hype? More than something else to sell us?
Is there something to this holiday? Something true inside it?
Because isn’t there something inside us that aches for change…
Dreams it to be possible…
To let go.
To hold on.
To leave it behind.
To start again.
To be new.
Is it possible?
If you’re reading this, if there’s air in your lungs, then you’re alive today tonight right now.
And who can know how long we have here…
And is it a gift? Was it ever a gift? Did that ever feel true or could that one day feel true?
Are there things to fight to live for?
Moments and people… Weddings and children and all your different dreams…
Is your life more than just your own?
And are there broken things you were made to fight to fix?
Broken families, broken friends… Injustice.
Will you move for things that matter?
Wouldn’t it be nice if change took just a moment?
Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy?
Midnight and we’re new. Midnight and the past erased. Midnight and we’re free.
It seems to come slow. It seems to be a surgery.
Forgiveness. Healing. Sobriety. Letting go. Starting over.
It seems to happen slowly over time.
One day at a time, the choice made new each morning.
Will you fight?
Will you fight to be healthy?
Will you fight to be free?
Will you fight for your story?
Will you fight to get the help you need?
Change takes more than a moment, but maybe there’s also something to this celebration of a moment, something to the way it speaks to us, something to the way we fear it, and dream it to be true. Maybe it’s the most honest moment of the year.
It’s possible to change.
Welcome to Midnight.
Here’s to the possibilities.
Peace to You.
PS: Join the conversation at #welcometomidnight on Twitter.
Top Ten of 2012
Here is my list of my favorite albums of 2012
1. The Classic Crime - Phoenix
2. The Fray - Scars and Stories
3. Green River Ordinance - Under Fire
4. Paper Route - The Peace of Wild Things
5. Linkin Park - Living Things
6. Kutless - Believer
7. Scars on 45 - Scars on 45
8. Future of Forestry - Young Man Follow
9. Starfield - The Kingdom
10. Yellowcard - Southern Air
There was so much good music that was released this past year. It was hard to pick the ones I did because some really great albums got left out. I picked the ones on the list because they all struck a chord with me the most.
Here are some other bands that made 2012 a great year for music.
Tenth Avenue North
The Rocket Summer
A Silent Film
Thousand Foot Krutch
House of Heroes
“Tell them to look up. Tell them to remember the stars. The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope.” -Renee Yohe
Angels & Airwaves
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by and driven toward the ways people connect. I love relating to people and situations that are nothing like my own through similar connections. It has always been a major proponent in my desire to make new friends and seek new experiences.
One major area this has showed up is in my love for music. I often am more intrigued by the means and reasoning behind a song than the music itself. When a band is trying something different or is attempting to tell a story through their song, I often can’t help but get fired up.
Growing up, I was always into pop-punk music. My favorite band has always been Blink-182. They sang about the goofiest, most childish things, but also created music that delves into the deepest aspects of the human condition. When I was in middle school, they announced they would be breaking up at the peak of their career. I was completely crushed. But not very long after that, lead singer Tom DeLonge announced he was starting a new project called Angels & Airwaves. The man who had spent years singing about teenage angst almost seemed non-existent when describing this new venture. He claimed this music was a journey, and that listening to it makes him feel like nothing is impossible. He believed that from the heartbreak and rubble of his past band had sprung forth the best music of his career. I was hooked before I heard a single verse from the new band.
I still remember the first time I heard the opening riff to their single “The Adventure.” The song has a feeling of ascension, and to this day I get chills hearing the fluttering guitars building, leading into a commanding rally call:
“Even if your hope has burned with time, anything that’s dead shall be regrown. And your vicious pain, your warning sign, you will be fine.”
The words provide a relentless message to carry on, to find hope in the darkest moments of our lives. “Here I am, and here we go, life’s waiting to begin.”
This song has been my favorite since I was in 8th grade, but there is one specific line that has found roots deep in my heart and has met me at every major life challenge of the past few years:
“I cannot live, I cannot breathe, unless you do this with me.”
During my cross-country races throughout high school and college, when I honestly didn’t believe I had the strength to take another step, they rang in my ears until the moment I crossed the finish line. The night I laid awake with the weight of choosing the school I would attend, and the days I spent contemplating the career path that would define much of my adult life, I was greeted with this simple phrase:
“I cannot live, I cannot breathe, unless You do this with me.”
For me, this line is a constant reminder of my own insignificance, that I play a role in a story much larger than myself. It provides trust, hope, and faith in One who has radically changed who I am.
For you, it may mean something completely different, and that is the beauty of music. But please let this song be a reminder to you of the same hope that met me on the cross-country field and in the dark, uncertain nights. Feel the air in your lungs and know you have the means to carry on to the next adventure.
What if money were no object?
So true - love this
Dry the River
They never really showed you how to deal with your parents being addicts on T.G.I.F. programs. I understand it wouldn’t have made the most relatable or compelling television for a mass audience, but it would have been nice if Full House could have touched on it for at least half an episode to give me some idea of what to do.
Even though Danny Tanner never shared his wisdom on the subject, I still had an understanding of what was going on around me. I knew my parents had their addictions long before I was in the picture. I knew I was going to have to process some things a kid should never have to think about. I knew I would never say anything about what I was dealing with for fear of something happening to them. It was just something that was the way it was, and I kept my mouth shut about it. I was hardened at a young age to know I’d never do the things that took them to where they were.
“Somewhere inside, the fire of your youth went dark.”
I had a conversation at a festival with a young guy about his father being an alcoholic. He felt safe talking to me because there was no way I would ever have any contact with other people in his life—a familiar place I understood. As he talked with uncertainty and honesty, you could see he longed for that romanticized, joyful childhood everyone should have a chance to experience. He was hurting for his father and for how he was being raised, but he also knew his position was what it was, and he just had to move forward. A familiar place I understood.
“You take the cards that you’re dealt. If it’s dark outside, you light the fire yourself.”
If I’m honest, one of the hardest things for me, even at TWLOHA, is learning to trust other people. It cripples the idea of fully living in community because there were big moments in my life that were disguised with lies from the people I was supposed to learn about life from—the people I should have been able to trust more than anyone else. That’s incredibly hard to think about at times. The weight of it will hit me, but I’ll maintain my composure, because that’s what I’ve taught myself to do.
I’ve learned to take things as they come and move forward without thinking twice. But when someone comes into your life and challenges how you’ve been conditioned, those hardened pieces of you slowly start to soften.
“When the ice caps melt, when the devil’s in the Bible belt, don’t cower in your bed. I’ll be on the 5:45, you can meet me at the railway, and don’t look so scared.”
It’s an amazing feeling to find someone who tells you you have to talk to them about what’s going on inside your head. Knowing that someone isn’t afraid of my past and the pieces of me it created is something I never thought I would find in a friend. There were parts of my life I never thought I would tell anyone, fearing they might worry such vulnerability would become a frequent thing and eventually turn away from me. But having that person is something I think everyone deserves to have. You deserve to enjoy the life you are so privileged to live. You deserve to live it out with others who will love you, challenge you, and help you grow beyond what you thought of yourself.
You deserve love, no matter the cards you were dealt.
“The trick of it is, don’t be afraid anymore.”
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