Zoom Out. Wake Up. Walk On.
My wide-eyed enthusiasm for the band U2 is well-advertised. I hope these three songs and the notions they?re coupled with raise a scaffolding for you to climb out of doldrums if you feel stuck.
U2?s Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of is written as a dialogue between two friends, one stuck in depression, as serious as it gets.
I wasn't jumping, for me it was a fall
It's a long way down to nothing at all
You've got stuck in a moment and now you can't get out of it?
(But) It's just a moment, this time will pass.
What I mean by ?zoom out? is not that long, awkward process of waving ?goodbye? at the end of a Zoom call, but the Stoic practice of dynamically pulling back to a new vantage point. Picture a video game where you switch the view from your character's point of view on the ground to the bird's eye view. If you feel stuck in 2020, move up, swoop high above. Take a wider, high altitude view? one of say, 2018 to 2025. Suddenly, 2020 doesn't look like everything. Yes, a dark moment, a strange, character-building time, but it's just a moment, this time will pass.
It's more a brutal prayer of lamentation than a pop song, but the lyrics of U2?s Wake Up, Dead Man are straight out of Psalm 44. There are many ways to climb closer to God, but they all start with honesty. If it feels like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling, up your honesty game, offering God all your heart, all your emotions, in faithful lament.
Jesus, Jesus help me. I'm alone in this world.
Tell me, tell me the story. The one about eternity. The way it's all gonna be.
Wake up, wake up dead man.
These almost scolding lyrics plead for Jesus to get up and help. Though dripping with doubt, even anger, they?re honest like the Psalms themselves, our instruction manual for prayer. I suspect God welcomes more, not less, emotional depth and raw honesty in our prayers.
U2?s Walk On was dedicated to a human rights activist in Burma and later became an American anthem of sorts after 9/11 when U2 sang it at the Super Bowl just months after the attacks. It also contains a powerful Gospel message encouraging us to persevere as we lean into our faith which promises that what we can see is not all there is.
And if the darkness is to keep us apart, and if the daylight feels a long way off,
And if your glass heart should crack, and for a second you turn back
Oh no, be strong, walk on?
You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been
A place that has to be believed to be seen?
All these lyrical messages are beautiful, drawing us out of the funk we might find ourselves in, but just for a moment, let's simply take the song literally. Just walk on. Soren Kierkegaard said, ?Above all, do not lose your desire to walk.? Here are some other prolific walkers whose calisthenics and mileage energized their minds, their bodies, and their souls: Dickens, Hemingway, Jobs, MLK, Gandhi, Mahler, Beethoven, Wordsworth, Whitman. Are you stuck? Move around. Just Walk. Then walk some more. Find a rhythm. Think. Be unreachable for a bit. You?re in good company. Walk on.
I feel wrung out, run down, ripped off, and empty. Then, efficient, joyful, and surprisingly stable. Then, guilty. Then, overly pleased with myself. Sometimes, I feel nothing at all. Help me to come to You as I am, rather than as some false advertisement of myself. Your Grace makes room for my honest soul.
Change my vantage point. Turn the dial so I zoom out for the bigger, wider view. Grant me some altitude.
Let sunshine, deep breaths, and the rhythm of my steps fill me with a new buoyancy, a vibrancy, a spark. Animate my mind, my body, and my spirit within the simplicity of a nice walk.