Crisis, Comfort, Community & Crutches

I grew up in an environment of faith-based music.  (Note:  At great personal risk, I managed to “supplement” my parent-approved diet with some much less faith-oriented 60s & 70s rock’n’roll. 😬🤷‍♂️)

That’s not to say that I had no appreciation for church, and quartet-style Gospel music.  We had a family quartet that sang at gospel concerts, as well as at church.  I loved singing.  I loved being on stage. 🤷‍♂️🤦‍♂️  I can still watch a Gaither video, and sing practically every song, word-for-word, by memory.  It’s part of my DNA. (If you don’t know what a Gaither video is… Don’t worry about it. 😜)

One of the OLD gospel songs that recently leaped out of my past, and into my consciousness was “Where Could I Go”.  It won’t leave, constantly reverberating around inside my head.

(Chorus) “Where could I go,

Oh, where could I go?

Seeking a refuge for my soul…

Needing a friend

To help me in the end

Where could I go but to the Lord?”

Recently I wrote a piece concerning the struggle of my niece’s newborn baby boy. Short version:  it looked like Copeland wouldn’t survive, then there was evidence of brain damage, then…that evidence wasn’t there anymore.

Copeland is doing great.  Really.

This all transpired over the first five days of his life.  For his mommy and daddy, and extended family, it was an emotional roller coaster…high “highs”, really low “lows”, and then REALLY high “highs”.

Through it all, one of the unmistakable, unforgettable parts of the unfolding story was the awareness of an amazing community of support for Copeland, Brittainy (Mommy), and Freddie (Daddy).  Prayers, messages of support & encouragement, offers to help with whatever was needed.  Even while it seemed that our hearts were literally breaking, it was heartwarming to know that there were so many, willing to do whatever they could.

Without going into detail…I’ve been there.  And, I can tell you, knowing that you’re not alone, and that you’re truly loved, is something that you can’t put a price tag on.  That kind of community really is PRICELESS.

But… there are limits to what our friends and community can do.

And, when I’m one of the friends — part of someone’s community when they are in crisis — I’m painfully aware of my limitations to help.  I can “be there” for them.  I can pray with them, and for them. I can try to provide tangible assistance.  And, all of those things are valuable.  But, I wish I could do more.  We all do, don’t we?

There’s only One Who can.

You can call my faith a “crutch” if you like.  I guess it is, really.  HE is.

Sometimes, a crutch can be useful, providing assistance to get from one place to the next.  Sometimes, a crutch is the difference-maker.

Sometimes, a crutch is the only thing that enables you to go on.

However, sometimes a “crutch” isn’t enough.  Copeland needed more than community… and more than a crutch.  Neither crutches or community can take a damaged human brain and make it normal and undamaged.

Copeland needed a miracle.  “Where could I go, oh, where could I go, but to the Lord?”

I realize that not all of you share my faith. I think — I hope  — that you know that I don’t think less of you because of that.  And, I understand that — because of things you’ve seen… things that you’ve experienced, sometimes at the hands of “Christians” — you have reasons for not believing.  And, I’m sorry.

And, I’m not trying to convert you, or convince you to make a public confession, while you read this.  Really.

Here’s what I’m trying to do, full disclosure:  When you need Him… when a crutch, or community, isn’t enough… when you’re in a really dark place, and you can’t find the light switch… I hope you’ll remember Doug McGarity writing about an old, old song that asked the rhetorical question:  Where could I go but to the Lord?  And, I hope you’ll have just enough faith… or guts, or something… to just say, “God, if you’re there, please… Help!”   

I can’t guarantee you that He’ll do a “Copeland-type” miracle.  I can’t come close to understanding the how’s and why’s of His moving.  But, I really believe that He’ll hear you. And, somehow, He will help.  He loves you.

So do I.  ❤️🙏

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