- Adam Lorenz
I remember the moment vividly.
It was in the middle of celebrating the marriage of two dear friends. Though we had been sternly warned by the bride that we were not allowed to have a certain song played, the DJ had been successfully bribed and as the opening chords of the song began to play - alone on the dance floor could be found a group of friends (including the groom), singing and dancing their hearts out to this 18-minute ballad.
From the outside, it must have looked crazy. And it was. But through this band, through this one song, this group of men had bonded together.
The words that we sung were no longer just words, this song no longer belonged to the artist, but us. And though our paths had spread this group across the country, to this day, hearing a line or two from the song played on the radio or stumbling onto the picture of that moment harkens us back to all the emotions: the fun, the happiness, the joy.
Like happiness and sadness, joy is both a feeling and a lifestyle. Often in the midst of routine, it is in the remembering of the moments where we experienced joy, that we are able to recognize it in our current situation. Those that came before us have done this for millennia – look to the Hebrews who built mounds or ebenezers of rock to remind each other and those who followed of where significant moments of encountering God occurred. Look to all the cultures of the world, leaders and communities have put up reminders to harken in people certain feelings.
These reminders are all around us, both seen and unseen, of the Divine in the daily. Without much effort, we develop a blind eye and let them go unrecognized, slowly developing unhealthy outlooks, postures, and responses to what we do encounter. We must make conscious efforts to see it. Years ago, friend and fellow RL contributor Troy Hatfield exposed me to the practice called the Prayer of Examen. The practice has many layers but one of them is to ask yourself to ‘look back over the past 24 hours, for what are you most grateful? What makes you feel thankful?’ Then ‘using simple words, express your gratitude to God.’
So may we start becoming the people we were created to be by simply naming the moments where we experienced love, peace, patience, hope, and joy. May we, through our simple words, begin to recognize the events that will become our ebenezers, even if it’s in an 18-minute song.
Adam Lorenz is a rider, a thinker, and a lifer. His passion and belief in the power of young people has led him to work with high school and emerging adults for the past 8 years and is currently serving as the Youth Minister at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, MI. He is nearing the completion of his Master of Divinity at Western Theological Seminary and writes at www.adamlorenz.net. Follow his daily thoughts on Twitter at @adamlorenz.