Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What Am I Doing With This Cross? Thoughts on “Only You”- track 6 from “Because There’s Nothing Outside,” companion piece to the book “God in Chains”

“Only You” is about the confusion one feels when the drug called “God” refuses to fix us, when one realizes the cup of suffering won’t be taken away, in spite of our most desperate prayers.

Is it an understatement to say that some adults carry unresolved issues? It’s quite possible that all of us do. After all, as children we may not have had the facilities nor the guidance to fully and properly process any traumatic experiences.  And so, our survival instincts kicked in and had us bury and escape the full brunt of the trauma.  It is common knowledge (I think) that depending upon the degree of trauma that is buried, the interference in an adult’s life can be extreme and chronic.

We often say of the addict -- be it to drugs, alcohol, sex, work, chronically “falling in love” or any other process or substance -- that he or she is using it as an escape.  It’s understood that there is something inside them that they are running from- they are turning away from themselves in some way.  We call the using of a drug a “fix,” because the user believes on some level it’s going to fix the problem. We on the outside looking in know that the drug, whatever it is, won’t work. The trauma will still be there waiting… until and unless the addict can turn toward themselves and find a way to bring healing.

At the age of 16, I fell in love with God.  I felt like I had found the great Fix in the sky and that the grief and trouble of my past was erased and gone. I was as high as a kite.  The model here was similar to the addict model: turn my eyes away from myself and my troubles and turn my eyes to the Savior Jesus Christ.  At some point, eventually, the comedown came for me. The old troubled undercurrents in me returned, and it made no sense to me.  I would have preferred to forget myself and those troubles- so, why wasn’t God taking them away and allowing me to forget myself?  From other believers around me, I was hearing things like, “don’t let Satan tempt you into sadness and anger,” “give it to the cross”, “read more scripture”- no one ever suggested to me to move toward myself.  Our doctrine said explicitly that my nature was sinful, so there wasn’t going to be any solution there within me. I would “always be a sinner,” but no worries- my salvation lied in Jesus- it was only him that mattered…
No one in the church apparently knew what transformation actually looked like- not even in scripture- and so no one could tell me or show me the way out.  If someone did have it, or if it was to be found in scripture, no one ever shared it with me, at least. And, as I’ve said, the clear message given to me was to more or less use God like a drug - as a distraction from the devil in me.

Because part of me was determined to find healing, I slowly turned to other spiritual heritages and to the field of psychology for guidance and wisdom. I know today that the only way “out” of my trouble was to face the so-called devil in me, with gentleness and compassion (exactly the opposite of what the church advised!).  I also know today that inside of me, hidden within the buried grief that we made a devil out of, was a wealth of joy and life that I didn’t believe or know was even possible here on earth…   

David Zink helped with the lyrics and with the chords in the middle bridge.  Todd Compton and I arranged the strings on the spot in the studio.

Mark Davis 08/06/2013 San Luis Obispo, CA

Only You

We put my ugly things away
We sent them to the shadows
For you were coming in to stay
It’s only you that matters
It’s only you that matters

What am I doing with this cross?
You said I would not suffer
And if I turned away I’m lost
It’s only you that matters

And when the night comes crashing down again
I get the funny little feeling you’re no friend
What is a man to do with all he cannot mend?
It’s only you that matters

Forgive my need, forgive my fight
Forget this useless chatter
Don’t look at me, don’t look inside
Turn up the heat, turn off the light
We’re going undercover
You’ve got to get me through the night
You’ve got to get me through the night
It’s only you that matters

‘Cause when the night comes crashing down again
I get the funny little feeling you’re no friend
Am I to follow you to hell and back again?
It’s only you that matters

When you took me in
There was light, it was wonderful
You were like a bridge to the light
You were wonderful

What am I doing with this cross?
Why don’t you take away my cross?

All rights reserved C2012 Davis/Zink, Inkling Music/Papa’s Moon


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