I just came home from the recital of a former professor and very dear friend. I am simply trying to process it all. There is so much. It was so deep. I mean the programming was exquisite. This poignant, powerful, almost brooding music and then closing with the second movement of a Schubert sonata... Hope. The music itself was the cross. Sorrow and beauty colliding. The gospel, where light meets dark and death meets life and tears meet joyful hope. It was the beauty of the broken. Not the beauty in the broken. The beauty of the broken. And there was this moment in the Chopin she played where the funeral march gives way to this poignant lyrical section, and I could sense every soul in the room reaching. It's as if I held my heart in my hand, like I held the breath in my lungs, and just lifted it, reaching to place my broken mess in God's hands and eternity washed over me anew. And the Schubert was the smile through the tears. The moment when the prodigal son lays his head on the Father's chest (like the beloved disciple reclined against Jesus at the last supper) and the Father whispers, "You were dead, but now you are alive again." And the son hears the beat of a heart so full of love it aches.
Then there's the pianist and how her performance is how I long to live: given over, holding nothing back, heart laid bare on the altar, no fear of the depths. Could we ever live every day like that, believing that God is so glorious and good and holy that the broken is beautiful in His presence, when given over completely to Him? Let it be so, Lord! Let it be so! And the contrast of the words I wrote in my journal yesterday ("There are no fancy words tonight. I am simply in pain.") with what I write tonight is not lost on me. There is so much pain, so many wounds that need healing, but the miracle of God is that, while we may need to wait for pain to be soothed and wounds to be healed, we do not need to wait for beauty and joy. I think I'm starting to get it now: the ugly-beautiful. It's a funeral march that captures you. It's the longings that will never be fulfilled that stir your passion. It's a Father running to meet his filthy, straight-from-the-pig-pen son and covering him in kisses. It's Peter denying Jesus and still be entrusted by the Savior Himself to feed His sheep. It's the way God uses pain to shape us into who we really are: His image-bearers. It's the unfailing love that causes a prophet to buy back a wife from prostitution. The ugly-beautiful. And it exists only because of the greatness of our God.