Put a Stake In It!

I’m contemplating how to even start the second volume of the “Why I Like…?” series. The problem is I’ve been struggling with God over this the last couple of days, and let me just say that when my pastor says, “That God is more concerned with your character than your comfort” he isn’t kidding. I have felt further away from God these last few days than I have in a long while and it’s all because I’d rather die than not get my way (another sermon lesson), and I felt that a stupid television show was more important than God. I’m still fighting it a little bit…sort of saying to God…alright I’ve given up something that is so important to me for you, now what are You going to do. In the end it may simply be the letting go of the thing that will be the reward.

So, what pray tell is this ridiculous thing that has brought so much turmoil in my life. Well, it would be the programs “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”. Now, before you say, “Hey, I don’t see anything wrong with these shows, what is she talking about.” I don’t either. In fact the depth of character, gritty storylines, and simply the journey that Joss Whedon takes you on with his art will be something that will probably stick with me forever. These shows became a HUGE part of my identity and probably will always be near and dear to my heart. I truly feel that there is no show out there even today that has the rich plot and character development that you will find on a Whedon project. The stories can rip your heart in two, make you laugh, and make you feel like someone gets you. He has a way of taking you into a world where you feel you belong and are always welcome. His work, his intelligence, and ability to reach to the very core of humanity and human emotion are something I find most intriguing about his work. The great thing about Joss is that he is so literal with his work…for example if the characters are going through a dark time in there lives he might have a demon block out the sun, and yet there are so many in-depth layers that you can peel back and find meaning in. His work just seems to fit with my brain.

When I was a Freshman in high school I came across this little show called “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and I said, “I WILL NEVER watch a show called ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’”…well I ate my words. I found myself engrossed in watching kids my age fight there own demons and their way through high school. The “Scooby Gang” became a part of me and I felt like I walked the journey with them. Through the ups and downs of Angel and Buffy’s relationship, from high school graduation to the first year of college, from heartache, to the real harsh reactions within the first hours of losing someone you love, to finding strength within yourself to push forward when the odds seem impossible, ultimate sacrifice for those you love, and the feeling of utter despair and giving up on the journey. It’s wasn’t the demons they were fighting or the troubles they found themselves in, but it was the really real quality of each character, dynamically different, and ever changing and evolving as they grew…when I grew…they grew, and it was a progression that made me feel safe. I clung to “Buffy…” in many ways as a life preserver, a safe haven, a space where I could let my guard down and feel…when real life didn’t lend itself to that. It is something I will always remember, and as I was watching the extras this evening on the last two seasons I found myself weeping over what I was letting go.

“Angel” had all the same things…it brought laughter, thought, progression, heartache, despair, bad choices, consequences, depth of character, tough choices, sorrow, joy, and all in-between. It held the essence of a man torchered by his past and seeking redemption through actions…and when that didn’t measure up, despair, and search for meaning. In the end wondering if we were really are all alone in this thing or not. It allowed a character like Cordelia to grow into a woman of character beyond her high school snobbyness. It lends a space for comfort in the midst of this world that never quite makes sense. You put your back against the wall and you keep fighting to the end, never giving up.

Joss’s third work “Firefly” will also be something I will give up, just because I think my heart would break in keeping it and not the others, but equally an amazing show with amazing characters and just didn’t get the chance it deserved…

I will support Joss in future endeavors…I think he has a very long and rich career ahead of him.

There is nothing bad I can say about these shows. They were a defining part of who I am, they helped to shape me, and were a safe place to fall back to. I had recently purchased all seven seasons of “Buffy…” and five seasons of “Angel…” and over the last year I had been steadily going through each season one by one. I always knew that God would make me give them up. They were something I held to dearly, that were a distraction between Him and I, and I honestly didn’t bring it up much in conversation. I felt like if I didn’t talk about it then He actually wouldn’t make me do it. Well, at church one Sunday night a few weeks ago He asked if I would give it up. I felt heartsick. I just, well wasn’t willing… After much struggling and debating I resolved that I would indeed give them up to a friend who would appreciate them. I was excited though that I would get to finish up the seasons before giving them to her. Last Sunday night God asked me if I would give them up now, without finishing the seasons once fully through (reminding you I was on the fourth season of Angel and sixth season of Buffy!)…I adamantly refused. There was no way I was doing that. I didn’t understand why I had to give them up now and couldn’t just finish them. I spent most of Monday and Tuesday watching episodes of Angel…and even today as I, heartsick in everyway, watched the extras on the last two seasons, I just wept. I just couldn’t understand and am not sure I will understand why He made me give them up this way. It hurts, and I feel like I have the right to ask, “What’s in it for me?” You see “Buffy…” and “Angel” had never let me down and I felt like God had. I felt that two television shows were more important than God. It was heartbreaking to have to give them up this way, but when I get to Heaven and God asks what I was doing with my time and I say, “Well, Lord I was sitting around watching “Buffy…”, “Angel”, and “Firefly”…well that is just hard to reconcile as important.

In the end, cleaning out my closet in many ways…getting rid of CDs, DVDs and unedifying books…I’ve learned a lot about how I spend money. My pastor always says, “To find out a persons priorities check their checkbook.” I’ve asked God to remind me before I buy something is this something going to be betterment for my journey or a hindrance. Life is just too short.

I’m so grateful that He allowed me to have “Buffy…” and “Angel”…they are programs I will carry with me always. There is a wonderful point that is made in an episode of “Angel”…Oz has brought a ring that makes the vampire who wears it invincible. Angel wears the ring and ends up watching the sunset and smashing the ring at the end of the day… below is the conversation he has with his friend Doyle…

Doyle: “Care to explain? - I mean this ring is your redemption. It’s what you’ve been waiting for.”
Angel: “nah, it just looks like it.’
Doyle: “Angel, man, think what you’re saying.”
Angel: “I have. I’ve thought of it from every angle, and what I figure is I did a lot of damage in my day, more than you can imagine."
Doyle: “So what, you don’t get the ring because your period of self-flagellation isn’t over yet? I mean think of all the daytime people you could help between 9 and 5.”
Angel: “They have help. The whole world is designed for them, so much that they have no idea what goes on around them after dark. They don’t see the weak ones lost in the night, - or the things that prey on them. And if I join them, maybe I’d stop seeing, too.”
Doyle: “And who’d look out for all the insomniacs?”
Angel: “I was brought back for a reason, Doyle, and as much as I would like to kid myself, I don’t think it was for 18 holes at Rancho.”
The sun sinks below the horizon. Angel takes off the ring, picks up a brick and smashes it. Big green flash of light.

That’s the whole point. I don’t ever want to forget those that are forgettable in their grief. I want to be where God is working. I want to help people. The two things I’m praying for is that I will have a real ministry and family.

If you had told me six months ago that I would have ever been in this space of giving up the things I held dear then I would say you were crazy. And I’m not kidding myself that this act is going to make all things rosy and wonderful in my life. I do know that whenever I’m at a crossroads like this, I want to always choose God, and that wasn’t always the case. He has done more for me than I can ever ask or imagine. My preacher gave an illustration tonight at church about a person getting out of the pew with there hands full…full of things they like and like to do, those things they want and want to do, and they come holding so tightly of all their things and ask for life changing water, but how can they even accept the free gift when they have so much they are holding onto. That was me. I always thought I could live comfortably in the world and live for God. My pastor says that the more we grow in God the further we get away from the world. I’m finding that to be true. Now, I have to admit that sometimes I ache for a more exciting worldly life, but it also leaves me with an ache, what if I did get what I wanted, and was separate from Christ…it is a feeling amongst this ciaos in my brain that I just couldn’t live with, just couldn’t!

“At some point on our Christian journey, we all stand at the edge of those geographies where our heart has been satisfied by less-wild lovers, whether they be those of competence and order or those of indulgence. If we listen to our heart again, perhaps for the first time in a while, it tells us how weary it is of the familiar and indulgent…

…Yet, “holding our heart an empty cup” and “tightening on the team the rigid reign” is language we are not familiar with. Our lovers have so intertwined themselves with our identity that to give them up feels like personal death. Indeed, they have kept us from knowing the emptiness of our heart’s cup. We wonder if it is possible to survive without them. We look once more at the journal to see if this sojourner ahead of us can offer any encouragement.” (Sacred Romance, Curtis/Eldredge, p.137-139)

25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. –Matthew 16: 25-27


Dawn said…
Girl you and I are kind of in the same place. I just posted on Myspace the lyrics to Waiting for Lighting. I feel like I'm missing something right now. I'm in church every Sunday, but somethings missing. I've got to listen to Him.

Have a great day!

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