“The Paradox”

Balanced on the edge
Of a whirlwind existence
You can take the pressure
But can you go the distance?

These were the first lyrics I ever wrote that I thought were worth a damn (certainly open for debate). They ended up as the opening lines to a song my band Paradox played many times way back in the 20th century. Full disclosure: most of our songs were written by our lead singer (and for good reason, as he was incredible). But we were a budding “writing collective” in the same vein as groups like Genesis and U2…we just didn’t know it at the time.

On the way to work this morning, those lines from literally ages ago found their way from my memories and into my head without any kind of prompting or warning. I had been thinking about the coming Thanksgiving holiday and what it all means, so it’s fitting that these lyrics were from a group called Paradox, as my life and feeling these days could be best described by that word and concept.

Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday. Tomorrow our entire clan and more will cram into my too small house and eat and laugh and play. It’ll be a loud affair, with a soundtrack of music and sports and sarcastic jokes. No timidity allowed; you just have to jump in and hang on. And I’d have it no other way, to be honest.

For all that and more I am thankful. To have family, friends, and more bounty than I deserve…it can be a bit overwhelming in the best of ways.

But much like my paradoxical band (yes, present tense; we never broke up…we just stopped), I am apparently the living embodiment of contrast and contradiction.

I am lost and found, content and contentious. I have endured the whirlwind and walked its edge. All these years later, the tempest is mostly internal, yet no less pressurized. And distance..? Some days it feels like too much time and distance…

Yet still I am thankful. Yet still I feel thanklessness. I honestly don’t know how this is possible (that whole ‘paradox’ thing again). I do not think it wrong to still strive to fill the creative void, to be dissatisfied with the death that is status quo. This longing and striving I truly believe is the essence of being made in the image of God. To see the emptiness and see the possibilities, to live in the dissatisfaction until creation and being brings shape out of the void, and yet be thankful for even the simple awareness of it all.

Lest I fall from this edge and the tight wire of clarity, let me end with a simple prayer.

For all who feel the empty, who long for shape to emerge from the chaos…

Be thankful and content
Be contentious and create
Walk in the moment
And live in the light

Happy Thanksgiving!


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