Archive for October, 2010

Welcome to the Planet

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

I (Kristin) have been wanting to make this post for some time now.

I know of two songs which have similar titles but which take totally different approaches to a similar subject matter. The songs are “Welcome to the Planet (Dare You to Move)” by Switchfoot and “Welcome to My Life” by Simple Plan.

A condensed version of the lyrics from “Welcome to the Planet” is as follows:

Welcome to the planet
Welcome to existence
Everyone’s here
Everybody’s watching you now
Everybody waits for you now
What happens next?

[Chorus:]
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
Like today never happened

Welcome to the fallout
Welcome to resistance
The tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be

Maybe redemption has stories to tell
maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here

Below is a sample of the lyrics from “Welcome to My Life” by Simple Plan:

Do you ever feel like breaking down?
Do you ever feel out of place?
Like somehow you just don’t belong
And no one understands you
Do you ever wanna run away?
Do you lock yourself in your room?
With the radio on turned up so loud
That no one hears you screaming

No you don’t know what it’s like
When nothing feels all right
You don’t know what it’s like
To be like me

[Chorus]
To be hurt
To feel lost
To be left out in the dark
To be kicked when you’re down
To feel like you’ve been pushed around
To be on the edge of breaking down
And no one’s there to save you
No you don’t know what it’s like
Welcome to my life

Do you wanna be somebody else?
Are you sick of feeling so left out?
Are you desperate to find something more?
Before your life is over
Are you stuck inside a world you hate?
Are you sick of everyone around?
With their big fake smiles and stupid lies
While deep inside you’re bleeding

No one ever lied straight to your face
And no one ever stabbed you in the back
You might think I’m happy but I’m not gonna be okay
Everybody always gave you what you wanted
You never had to work it was always there
You don’t know what it’s like, what it’s like

Both songs appear to address difficult times in life, times when you’ve been ‘knocked down’, so to speak. But whereas Switchfoot challenges you to “pick yourself up”, Simple Plan nurses feelings of self-pity, anger, envy, and bitterness.

“Welcome to My Life”, as the title clearly suggests, takes a self-centered focus. This is all about me: my pain, my feelings of rejection, my struggles. “You”, on the other hand, are the object of the singer’s finger-pointing, as if you are to blame for all of his pain simply because you supposedly haven’t experienced a similar emotional crisis.

Switchfoot, on the other hand, goes deeper than reactionary feelings in response to difficult circumstances. Instead of offering a glorified pity party, the singer challenges us to move on as if “today never happened”.  True, the world is full of resistance and tension; it’s not how it should be. But at the same time, Switchfoot recognizes that we are not who we should be.  Part of the problem (and part of the solution) lies with us.

As these two songs illustrate, we all have a choice to make in response to the events and circumstances we face.  We can either become self-absorbed, dwelling on our own feelings of pain and bitterness and blaming others for all of our problems, or we can pick ourselves up, put the past behind us, and move on.

We have to recognize that we cannot escape from ourselves. Like all human beings, we have a sin nature, and no matter where we go we will bring that sin nature with us.  This sin nature will always bring us into conflict with others.  But we can forgive, and we can be forgiven.

Furthermore, we can ask God for help.  When faced with the pain and rejection Simple Plan talks about, we can pray for courage to face the trial, perseverance to make it through, and for the strength of character to forgive those who have inflicted pain.  And beyond that, we can ask for the Holy Spirit’s refining of our character such that we ourselves become the sort of people who pick others up instead of knocking them down.

Grace and peace,

Kristin

Hanging by a Thread

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

4 “LORD, make me to know my end,
And what is the measure of my days,
That I may know how frail I am.
5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my age is as nothing before You;
Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.  Selah

Psalm 39:4-5

Life is truly a fragile thing. If ever there was a year to drive this message home to me, this year would be it.

In March, I experienced complications with my pregnancy, complications which put me in bedrest for three weeks and which could have resulted in the loss of my baby.

On May 3rd, a 21-year-old girl I knew from highschool was killed in a car accident. She was 7 months pregnant.

In late June, an old friend of the Kidd family passed away.

On July 25th, Ryan’s 64-year-old uncle died of a heart attack.

On September 10th, my 19-year-old sister was involved in a serious collision. The car was totalled, but — praise God — she only had bumps and bruises and whiplash. The police officer who analyzed the accident scene said that if a few factors had been different, she would have certainly been killed.

Then yesterday my 30-year-old brother-in-law was taken to the hospital with classic heart attack symptoms.  The episode was so alarming he called his wife and children to come, thinking this could be his last chance to see them.  The entire family feared the worst. Thankfully, the cause was not his heart, but the scare was enough to make us all stop and wonder who could be next, and what it would mean to lose someone so close.

This year provides a stark reminder of how death could be only minutes away, just around the corner. My sister was making a simple left turn on her way to work when she was caught off guard and struck by a vehicle illegally trying to pass her across a solid line. My brother-in-law was having just another normal day at the office when he was suddenly and unexpectedly gripped by violent pain in his chest.

Am I ready to meet my Maker? Sometimes the question scares me. Thank God that the eternal destination of my soul is not determined by what I have done or will do! I would be hopelessly lost. But Christ’s perfect record covers over my record of failures and wrongs; the work of salvation is already done.

May we never take for granted our time on this earth. When you are young and healthy it is easy to think you are invincible and that death is in the far distant future. Let us not be so deceived.

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth…

-Kristin

Post Script

Reading this again almost a year after writing it, I almost feel that I should have publicized it more widely, or perhaps taken it more to heart than I did.  On June 9, 2011, one of my closest cousins, Mike, scarcely twenty years old, was killed in a motorcycle accident.  The second last paragraph of my post above haunts me, because it rings so much of Mike — young and invincible.   If he had read it before the accident, would he have taken it to heart?  Would his death have been avoided?

Patrick’s Corner

Friday, October 8th, 2010

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