I went to Santa Barbara Community Church the first sunday I was in Cali. It was quite the feat getting there because it was uphill for about 8 miles at about 80 degrees. Not to mention my 40 pound pack and very inadequate skate shoes for hiking.
I did all this (at four in the afternoon, mind you) mainly because I just really needed to talk to someone. Not an any weird emotional way like they do at trinity, “We are always here if you need to talk,” but I just really wanted to tell someone how much fun I was having and what I was doing because I thought it was pretty damn cool.
There were a bunch of kids that made up the band and I do not know if Lubbock just has really bad ass musicians or what but these guys seemed below average. Not to mention the songs they were singing were just straight up weird, like something a really good singer would do but they stayed monotone the whole time with a few hiccups here and there. Then they started singing ‘In Christ Alone.’
I saw the title come up on the projector and I immediately was taken back to the night before. I had left a downtown coffee shop to hike up to my tree on the edge of this very cliff-like hill. I decided to take a short cut through a neighborhood and it ended up taking me way out in the middle of everywhere. Thought I was going to say nowhere didn’t you.
It was 11:30 at this point and I was getting very nervous. The night before a man’s dog ran up the hill and started barking at me as I stood with my legs spread wide between to trunks of diverging trees readjusting my hammock straps to get the maximum amout of comfort from them. I was madder than hell that that stupid dog found me because his owner started his way up towards me calling after his stupid freaking dog, ‘Sunshine.’ He went on to tell me I could stay here a day or two but this was not a permanent spot and I had to move on. He went off into the bushes up the hill a ways and disappeared. I did not know if he was homeless as weel claiming his territory or maybe that path led to his back door in the neighborhood at the top of the hill and was just being kind. His name was Paul. I met a homeless mexican at the beach named Pual who told me where to get free burritos every morning. Mexican Paul did not have a dog. He scared me, I am glad it was not mexican Paul.
This was going to be the second time sleeping in the same tree after that incident. I was at the top of the hill now one hundred yards or so from the path off the street to my tree. My heart sank down into my stomach and my feet were more reluctant to move. It felt like I was on at that moment when you are half way down a steep hill and you can either slam your foot on the ground to stop or you are committed to riding it out to the bottom when you realize it is already too late. I was terrified that something might happen getting to my tree or while I was sleeping. I had never been this scared or worried or felt this trapped before in my life. I did not know anywhere else to go and it was already getting late.
When the song started playing I thought back to that night and the roller coaster of emotions that flooded my mind. I would stoop down to my lowest and then pump myself up again and get ready to move on, over and over again. As soon as I saw the title on the screen my chest lifted up like it was swollen with joy and I got that feeling where you just want to start shouting and dancing around but you know there is nothing you can do to adequately express your joy and I immediatley made sure nothing was running down my face, then they started singing.
I realized that myself and everyone I know are one hundred percent spoiled brats. Sure, I had to pay for half of my car but besides that my entire circle is completely and utterly spoiled. Basically meaning if I have met you and probalbly if you are reading this. I have worried about whether I can afford to buy 3 $.89 cans of noodles or 4. I have worried for hours at a time if I am going to be attacked or have all of my stuff stolen when I am asleep. I have had to carry all of my belongings with me literally everywhere I go and you are worried about whether or not Chik-fil-a got your order right because god forbid you get a medium fry when you ordered a large.
I saw the words ‘When fears are stilled, when strivings cease. My comforter my all in all, here in the love of christ I stand.” Tears started puring down my face before they even sang the words. Then came the lyrics, “Scorned by the ones he came to save. Til’ on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied, for every sin on him was laid, here in the death of Christ I live.’
Can you even imagine had angry Christ had a right to be. He came to save the very people that were turning against him. Imagine leaving your fancy house and driving to a homeless shelter to feed them, and they start mocking you and throw the food back in your face. Ha! You would probably sue.
He came from heaven, freaking heaven, and was killed. Killed. Dead, gone, donski. I have felt just a fraction of what he could have possibly been feeling and he just took it. He won, he freaking won. And luckily, like it is freaking crazy that we can be saved solely by believing and accepting forgiveness and go on being spoiled brats but I guess we can, but luckily, he did that for us.
My favorite quote is “God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or did not do.” Freaking awesome. I would highly, highly, highly, recommend putting yourself in a position where you have to completely rely on God to help you. And no I am not talking about a “Mission Trip” where you go and tour a beautiful country while playing soccer with awesome kids all day. I mean true dependency, like not knowing if you are going to be arrested for sleeping in a tree or not but you trust him anyway and close your eyes an fall asleep.
You just close your eyes, and fall asleep.