Tuesday, August 16, 2011

8 Miles, Eminem and Reconciliation

When I started listening to Eminem, it was simply because of his undeniable ability to tell a story. With unrivaled passion and heart, he is an artist who is capable of drawing one into his story, allowing others to feel and touch and experience what it is to live his story. I figured, at most, I would develop a richer ability for storytelling and at the very least I would have some good music to keep me running strong miles.

A few Saturdays ago, as the sun set, I laced up my running shoes, grabbed my ipod and headed out the door. It was a Forrest Gump moment, through and through, as something inside of me was compelling me and 'I just felt like running.' I set out with no predetermined route as I figured I would simply run until I didn't feel like running any longer. 

About one mile into my run, my thoughts took me places that I had not intended to go. I became overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings about relationships from my past that went wrong. In many of these relationships I had been offended or hurt by the other party. In all of these relationships, I retaliated - defended my hurt and struck back. The way in which I was best able to defend myself was by becoming an expert wall builder - building walls around my life and my heart, severing the relationships and moving on.

As my feet pounded the pavement, stride after stride, I felt my heart pounding within my chest. These faces of people that I really loved and yet banished from my life kept flashing through my thoughts. I sensed that something needed to be done to reconcile, but had no idea how. Some of these relationships had been severed over 12 years ago, with no words spoken since. So, I kept running.

My running playlist is quite diverse. It has everything from 'Christ is Risen' by Matt Maher to 'I Need a Doctor' by Eminem and Dr. Dre and everything in between. At around mile 4, Eminem's 'Not Afraid' made it to the top of the playlist. The story behind this song is fascinating (as is much of Eminem's whole story:, but what struck me most on this night was the powerful heart of the bridge: 

And I just can't keep living this way
So starting today, I'm breaking out of this cage
I'm standing up, I'm a face my demons
I'm manning up, I'm a hold my ground
I've had enough, now I'm so fed up
Time to put my life back together right now

As his words resonated within, I knew that if I was going to truly break out of the cage that was barring me in, I would have to lay it all down. The hurt. The pain. The resentment. The need to be right. The desire to win. If there was going to be reconciliation, I would have to allow myself to forgive and I would have to ask for forgiveness, because no matter how much I might have been hurt, the truth is, I was also guilty. 

Eight miles later, I was done with my run. The next 36 hours proved to be 36 of the most powerful hours of my life as the silence was broken between me and all eight faces that came into my thoughts that night. Emails. Facebook messages. Phone calls. Different communication with each. Same result with all: Forgiveness. Reconciliation.

I've never experienced the power of reconciliation at this level and I am so deeply grateful for the forgiveness that was so quickly extended towards me.

I've hesitated posting this particular blog because some will be inclined to hail me as some type of hero for taking certain steps. For the record, hero's don't take 12 years to get their crap fixed. I do believe that stepping away from relationships is necessary sometimes when one has been hurt, but I also know firsthand that allowing those relationships to float away into some obscure land of silence without ever going back to forgive and ask for forgiveness is a sure way to keep oneself behind bars. The interesting thing about life behind the bars though is that there is a fuller life of freedom just on the other side. I decided to post it today because I can't help but think that there are others who may be trapped in this land of silence and perhaps it's time to move to a new land. 


Pi Man said...

Wow! Brutally honest and wonderful at the same time. Much for me to think about my friend. Much. So much of it applies directly to me.... Thank you for this post. TA

marcia anderson said...

Thanks Brian. That was such a God run! I believe his timing is perfect, even if it takes 12 years:)

Lindsay said...

And I must say, I love that this was Eminem inspired...ha! :)

Crispin Schroeder said...

I love this post Brian though it comes at a high price. What strikes me in this is how God is working behind the scenes in all of it. You may think that waiting this long was some kind of personal fault but I think it is obvious by the way everything worked out with your correspondences with the 8 people that God was also working in them. It does take courage and grace to respond to the nudging of the Holy Spirit but you did say yes to God and in the end the body of Christ is better for that. You have experienced freedom yourself but have also been a conduit of freedom to others. This kind of stuff is so needed in the church. I hope others find courage through this story to step out and do the same. Thanks for sharing this.