Song of the South: Stand Up

I recently went with my sister to hear Steel Wheels, and was touched by the words of one of their songs, “Stand Up”.  The words touched me especially as I think both about the three griefs I’m juggling — of the anniversary that day of the death of my late wife, of the dog that recently passed, and an expected breakup from a beautiful relationship I found this summer that ended right on the heels of my dog Isaiah dying, a week before the anniversary of Kat’s passing — and about the way our country is being pulled between the extremes of exclusion and embrace of the least of these and minorities.  To me this song powerfully reminded me that I am called to stand in those moments, not to let my pain at losses or the worry about the future lead me to stop moving forward with I am called to do.

That call in my heart reminds me of two things.

First a moment when my late wife, nearing the end, was in great pain.  I had mentioned to her on that oh so painful day us stopping our plans to watch my nephew.   She gave me that look we all know in long-term relationships which says that there is an argument you did not know you were having and that you already lost it.  She told me, “I am in pain every day.  The day I can no longer even in my pain do the things I love, enjoy the things that matter to me, I pray God take me home.   Every day I must my find my thread of joy, grab hold of it however thin it seems, and live my joy”.  In moments of deep heartache I have remembered that ever since, remembering that this breath in my lungs is a call to life.

Also I remember a prayer I literally pray everyday over patients on my hospice line:

“O God, who is nearer to us than the air that we breathe, and the sunshine that warms us from the autumn’s chill breeze, whose word to us is love.  Your love is what birthed us into this world, and it is to your love we all shall return.  Your love gives us the strength to stand in all of our days, on days when our hearts burst with joy, pleasure, and delight that nearly floor us; on the days in which our hearts break, crushed by sorrow, heartache, and pain that make our knees knock and legs tremble.  And when we cannot stand on our own, oh God, it is your love that lifts us up, like a child in their mother or father’s arms, carrying us.”

This song reminded me that ever, always, there is such a lovingkindness surrounding me and shaping my days.  In their own ways the three relationships I grieve — with my late wife, with my long-time dog who passed, and even with this short but beautiful first romance since becoming single — I felt and experienced some of this love in ways that awakened me in new ways to this big love which ever surrounds me so that I might stand.  May this song and its words help you stand whatever fears and struggles haunt your days.

 

Your progressive redneck preacher,

Micah

With no status, no power, no women, no men
With it all stripped away, where will you stand

With no profit, no weapons, no money in your hand
With it all stripped away, where will you stand

Stand up, in the early morning
(stand up) Stand up when there is no warning
(stand up) Stand up when the storm is rising, all around

With no color, no creed, no bible to defend
With it all stripped away, where will you stand
When this world (this whole world) turns violent, when there’s no side left to win
With it all stripped away, where will you stand

Stand up when the wind is blowing
(stand up) Stand up when the tears are flowing
(stand up) Stand up when justice calls and you hear the sound

So when your quiet, alone, and this day has met its end
With it all stripped away, where will you stand
With it all stripped away, where will you stand

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