The entire room is pitch black and, for a brief moment, I can barely see my instrument in the dark. Slowly, as the music sways, only the blue and yellow hue of light illuminates the platform. The light brightens and the music intensifies. I look to my right; I see Eddy going crazy on the guitar. To my left, Johnny is banging on the drums so powerfully and I feel the power of God moving through the music. I look to the crowd, and I see faces and people worshipping the Savior… but I feel no connection to them. They might as well be blurry. My mind drifts back to my instrument. This part of the song is a bit more complicated; I need to make sure I’m hitting the notes right. I’m in the moment. In the zone. I look and see Eddy jumping up and down with such passion. I feel it. I can feel the passion of the song. But my body doesn’t move. Not like him. I wonder for a moment what it would be like to be so expressive with my body. I’ve always been one to feel things on the inside, but my face and body betray those feelings. I can’t express myself very much, but I still play with all my heart.
The entire worship team is amped up and on fire. I wish again that I could move like that naturally. Every time I dance to music it feels forced. It’s a performance… fake. Like I have to fake it and I don’t like to fake it. I hate not being true to myself. So, I stand there, body stiff with little movement from nothing but my hands and fingers on the fretboard. My fingers dance for me. It’s not much, but it’s all I can give that’s true. Speaking of truth… I look again to the crowd standing before me. I feel disconnected. I think about those that have such a heart for others. They deeply desire to see people healed, set free, transformed. They give it their all because they want to see people changed from the inside and they know, if they worship with all they have, others can do the same and have an experience with the Lord.
Do I want that?
It’s not that I don’t want that. I do want to see people’s lives changed and people healed and whatnot. But, honestly at the same time, I find myself not really caring whether they do or don’t. I’m not trying to be mean or a jerk. But to me they are just blurry faces in a crowd. I don’t know them. A part of me doesn’t really care to. I’m up here because I feel like this is where I belong. Where things seem to make sense to me. I give my heart to God. To the music. To the team. That’s it.
I know it’s not good. I know I should be better. But this is the ugly truth. This is where I stand at the moment. I know I’m selfish. I keep others at arm’s length. Actually, more than that. I keep them so far away that I don’t feel anything anymore. I couldn’t care less for the blurry faces, and I know I’m in the wrong for that.
In the past, people have truly desired me to be a pastor… But they don’t know. I know I don’t have a heart to be one. I’ve always said, “God, if that’s what you really want, then you must change me from the inside out. Put a love in me for others that’s so strong, that I desire nothing more than to help people.”
I’ve yet to be changed, so while I don’t say I’ll never be a pastor, I do say that in my current state, I should never be one. I look back at Eddy. He’s not a blurry face to me. I would help him if he asked. I look at Johnny jamming on the drums, Ryan and Marie singing their hearts out. They all have faces clear as day. I would give of myself to help them because they are real to me. I know they love me. I know they’d pray for me when I’m going through something. I feel connected to them. I feel like my only friends at church are in the worship team or in leadership. We are spiritual soldiers together in a spiritual foxhole, battling spiritual war. I love to fight alongside them. I’m always challenged and pushed to do better, to be better at my art form and they are all so talented and anointed in their own right.
I look again to the crowd. Nothing. I’d be just as happy if there were only one there… Would I though? Is that true? I mean, I do love it when the crowd is hyped. I can see their energy feeding into the worship team and the worship team’s energy feeding back into the crowd. I know in the middle God is doing something in the people and through their worship and giving of their hearts, lives are being touched and changed. But I can’t see it. They are too far from me. Not in a physical sense. But a psychological and emotional sense. Once again, I don’t know them… I am numb to their pain and suffering in life. I’m detached from their souls almost like a machine.
I care about my team though. I love them. But I don’t love the blurry faces. And I don’t want to get closer to them to see better.
I remember one day talking to my counselor. At the time, I told him, “I don’t care about other people.”
He replied, “I don’t think that’s the case at all.”
I looked at him, confused.
“I think you care too much about people. From everything you’ve told me in our sessions, it seems you care very deeply about others, but their problems and hurts and pains affect you too much. So, your mental health suffers. You detach and depersonalize because you feel too much.”
Is that really the case? I know there have been times, I’m an empath, and I can feel what someone else is feeling. If they are going through something emotional, I can feel it too. If they are anxious, I get anxious too. I remember once being in a theater, watching a movie and this super awkward love scene appeared on the screen. I could feel a very strong, uncomfortable energy and embarrassment coming from the couple sitting right next to me. It was like a super thick cloud surrounding them. It was so strange. I had never felt anything like that before.
Maybe that’s the reason I don’t let people in. I’m pretty sure I’m an empath… but I don’t really notice it very often. I’m very private, I don’t socialize much other than church and Scarlet Letter Society ministry. I keep myself always too far from others to feel their pain.
I grew up in a pastoral home without boundaries. People from church would show up at any time, at all hours, even past midnight at times. They brought so much drama, pain, and suffering with them. My home was a spiritual hospital and I hated it. I couldn’t stand it when people showed up needing intense counseling and my father and mother took them in and nurtured them. My parents had the true call of a pastor. A love, mercy, and grace for others. But as a child, I always felt the inner conflict. “I wish these people would go away and leave us alone… But it’s God’s will to help them. I’m the a-hole. I always struggled with that. When people showed up, I locked myself in the room and shut the world out, I’d lose myself in my toys and video games. They were my escape as a kid. I thanked God for soundproof walls.
I closed myself off to the pain and suffering of those church members. It’s just what I did. I didn’t think about it, I didn’t plan it out. It’s just what happened. Now as an adult in ministry, I find it hard to go deep into loving others. I can only love those that I feel a connection to.
I think about my friends, my immediate family, and my brothers/bandmates in Scarlet Letter Society. I love them. I would gladly give of myself to help them. But they are only those who are close. They are the only ones I can care about.
When you are nearsighted, you can only see objects and people that are close to you. If you are farsighted, you can only see things that are at a distance.
Some people are farsighted Christians that only look to the crowd and neglect those that are near to them.
Then there are others who are like me. Nearsighted. The crowd is blurry, and you only love and focus on those close to you.
I pray that God gives us spiritual glasses to rectify our vision. Help us to see those out of our limited ability to see. Teach us to love those we don’t. Help us to want to help others. Heal our wounds and help us see others with His eyes.
Truth is, I do want to love others. I know it’s the right thing, but I’m not quite there yet. I’m still on my journey to be better, to love more, and to improve who I am. I’m not perfect, not even close.
The Word says, in our weakness, God is our strength. I know this is an area I’m weak. I need those spiritual glasses, and I need my heart to be healed. But I know that real help comes when you make yourself vulnerable. You open yourself like a book and let others see who you really are. I’m scared to death to do that. I’m always afraid of what it would mean to let others truly see you for who you are. If they knew my flaws, would they still love me? Now that I think about it, another reason I don’t get close to others, is that I’m afraid. Insecure. I reject to keep from being rejected… oof. I don’t like this dirty mirror. I know I need to reflect on this more, and I pray to find some change. I’m going to sign out now before I say something really embarrassing. lol.
God bless, be safe.