Write This Down “Lost Weekend” – YouTube

Day 327: Write This Down – Lost Weekend

I first came across Write This Down when they were still a relatively local band in the Midwest. I owned some of their EPs from early tours throughout North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. They started gaining quite the following. After I fell for them, I would push their CDs to people that I knew. Eventually, most of my friends knew who they were. They would eventually sign with Tooth & Nail and get some of the recognition that they deserved. I moved away, so I lost track of them for awhile.

One day, I was talking to someone back home about music and Write This Down came up. It was quickly countered with, “I’m not sure that they are a Christian band anymore. I’ve heard that they are making mistakes on the road.” Welp, we pray, remain forgiving, and if we ever have an opportunity to lovingly speak with them, do that. They make great music, but they are still human. We all fail. That was my stance in 2010.

Fast forward to the end of my deployment. I heard that they were releasing another album. Naturally, I started looking into the songs. Lost weekend? This title and song seems to speak to what my friends and I had discussed. When I picked the album up, it shocked me. Admissions to cheating on a significant other, living the sin lifestyle. Holy crap. This was one of the most honest works that I had ever seen from anyone that wore the Christian label. While I applauded the honesty, I submitted my own judgment that most Christians would secretly relate to this work, but would never be willing to publicly admit it. It was too raw for a Christian group to do. I loved the album. I had wished that more bands would speak this frankly. Break the paradigm, right?

Then, I entered into my own lost weekend. Here I was a Christian that got a divorce. My formula was backwards. You can get divorced, then become a Christian. You cannot do it the other way around. Lost Weekend contained most of the truth that I needed to hear. I just couldn’t hear it for very long. It was too on the nose in my current situation. I could only digest the album in small chunks. Even though I could not ever listen to the album straight through, it quickly became one of my favorite albums.

The problem with being captured in a lost weekend presented itself to me very clearly. Would I ever get back on the right path? As this road that I was travelling on got more windy and further from it’s point of origin, I was beginning to worry that my lost weekend would turn into a journey that I would never fully recover from.


Day 326: Love And Death – Meltdown

This period of my life was the first and only time in life that completely killed off my curiosity for new music. For the better part of 6 months, I alternated between two CDs in my car. Thousand Foot Krutch’s The End Is Where We Begin and Love And Death’s Between Here And Lost became my staples. Songs like Be Somebody by TFK would empower me on some days and it would kick me in the face on others. I simply could not see things through a clear lens. How was I supposed to “be somebody” when I was living in an apartment complex specifically designed for single, college students? The weird looks that I would get as I pulled up with my son. The incessant questions as to why I was there and not in a house like other adults. Having to reflect upon life’s failures every time I was asked the questions. This certainly was not what I envisioned as a rise to glory.


I would get angry or feel myself start to hyperventilate. I would change the song or the CD. In goes Between Here And Lost. The songs were darker, but they were exactly where I was – somewhere between deployment and utterly lost. Although I was doing better, I was near the verge of a meltdown at any point. As the track count increased, I would regain confidence through Head and Mattie Montgomery reminding me that I didn’t need the answers, just wait. At the end of the CD, I was given an opportunity to hand all my insecurities over again. At least until next time. That was nearly every car ride that I was a part of. It didn’t matter where I was physically going. I was emotionally heading for a meltdown.


Day 325: Mindy McCready – You’ll Never Know

In our frequent song exchange, I would surprise with the occasional 90s country music. Up to this point, I had most people convinced that I was a rocker. Most people did not know of my plight through country music. As I shared songs, I wanted to impress with how well rounded I was, so I would send the obscure country music from my childhood. Among the picks, we admitted teenage crushes. I’ve spoke of most of them. I sent a few Britney jams. I sent a few Mindy McCready jams. Just to prove I was legit. I didn’t just have a crush. I became a fan until life pulled me away.


Time passed and I get a message, “Did you hear yet? I’m sorry.” The message included a link that described that Mindy had made the decision to end her own life, not too long after her husband made the same choice. I was shocked. She performed a song that spoke of this very thing (Oh Romeo). How could this happen? I had already lost a lot of heroes, friends, and acquaintances to this epidemic. Now, another one of my musical heroes had fallen victim.


I would be remiss if I didn’t indicate that her beauty was the first thing that pulled my young, shallow mind towards her. The thing that I grew to respect was that she was using her voice to change certain paradigms. Paradigms that I would hear about in the friend zone as a young teenager. The things that she sang about girls were actually struggling with. Then she struggled with those same things. I heard about the tapes. I didn’t want to acknowledge them. That wasn’t how I wanted to see my precious Mindy. It was exactly opposite of her hit tracks, like: 10,000 Angels and What If I Don’t. This news floored me. It was the exact opposite of Oh, Romeo.


In memoriam, I listened to every album in her catalog. That was how I honored her short life. At the same time, I considered how the very platform that she used to empower others ended up killing her.


Day 324: The Civil Wars – Poison & Wine

As I grew closer to my friend from deployment, the concept of love and forever grew. We found a commonplace in The Civil Wars. They were this tender group. They were dark. Where they collaborated with Taylor Swift, they also performed the best cover of Elliott Smith’s Between The Bars. The group earned and deserved our attention.


As we explored the concept of joining lives, we both had a skeptical approach to it all. Just like Joy and John Paul, we were skeptical. Love was a dangerous substance that neither of us knew if we could pallet again. The friendship was there. The connection was there. Our experiences were there. We knew each other well. We shared several hundred moments of joy, sorrow, anger, confusion, and every other emotion. I knew her better than everyone. She knew me. Even more importantly, we were one of the very few things that we could both trust in.


Sitting on the imaginary bar, we were being forced to make a choice. The contents of this cup could be dangerous. It could kill either of us or both of us. Should we dare to take a drink again. We know the disastrous aftermath that this particular drink has left in our lives. Would it ever be worth it again? As we stared at the contents of the glass, all that we could do was ponder the other person’s intentions. If we were to give the other access to our heart, would the other destroy it? It seemed so right, but the torment of it all was the only threat.


Day 323: For Today – My Confession

I know the exact moment when I decided to keep believing in God. The exact moment that I decided to write most people off. The moment that I decided to trade sadness for a callous that could not be penetrated. I had one more breakdown. I was robotically following my daily routine, listening to For Today’s Immortal. As I cinched my tie up, My Confession started. I wandered around my room trying to find my tie clip. No matter how hard I tried, I never remembered where I put it. After several minutes of looking, I hear “I’ve not just seen evidence of Him, I have seen HIM!”


I collapsed to my knees. Tears streamed down my cheeks. I begged for answers. I begged for surrender. I pleaded to be around people that I could trust again. I committed to not stop seeking Him, but I didn’t know how to deal with this torment anymore. I committed to stop dragging in sadness, to be tougher. No more tears. No matter how sad I was. No more tears. As I closed up my prayer, I wiped my tears away one last time.


Day 322: Like Moths To Flames – The Worst In Me

When the numbness fades, eventually the other emotions start to surface. Sadness mounted nearly immediately. Anger lives in it’s wake, at least for me during this time. Listen to the lie that I told myself: “I never wanted to be loved by anyone.” “Cold hearts are never warm when you need them to be.” I believe by this point in my story that I have submitted enough proof to counter both of these statements. I had spent most of my life pursuing other people’s love and acceptance. This was non-discriminate. I didn’t care who you were. I wanted you to look towards me as the person that could help solve your problems. I only wanted to be loved by everyone.


Also, the second lie is a bit telling on the status of my faith. For the first time in my life, I stopped any formal church attendance. I was still a Christian. Despite all of this, I still believed in a God that loves and a Savior that redeems. I was starting to not enjoy people all that much. Despite this key thought process, I had seen some of the hardest hearts soften. I had proof to the contrary of a Savior that rescues people. Story after story of proof. I mean, I was proof at one point. As I said, cold hearts are never warm when you need them to be. I was beginning to get over the numbness, the sadness. Left in their place was a void of indescribable anger.


Day 321: Evans Blue – Warrior

One of the most intense songs that I can remember sending to her was Evans Blue’s Warrior. I was so embarrassed by this perpetual condition. Here I was, a Soldier getting off a non-combat deployment, falling apart. There she was, a Soldier who served in a combat zone, having to listen to me lament about how tough things were. I didn’t witness anything that should have done this to me. I felt embarrassed as I dealt with veteran after veteran that has seen worse, been through worse. I felt that I had no reason to feel the way that I did. No matter how hard I tried to resolve it, things never seemed to calm. Maybe I wasn’t as tough as I thought I was.


One particular morning, everything hit me hard. When I couldn’t sleep, I would turn on a stand up comedian until their banter distracted me enough to fall back to sleep. This day it didn’t work. My sheer exhaustion coupled with the perpetual fear of failure sent me into a tailspin. I sent two separate songs, without explanation. The first was 10 Year’s One More Day. The second was Evans Blue’s Warrior. Without saying a word, she knew that I wasn’t doing too well.


Our time difference afforded us a few minutes to talk before we shuffled off into our daily existence. We got on the phone very briefly. I explained how guilty that I felt. I had not witnessed anything like she has seen. I had not suffered the way that the vets I interacted with every day felt. Some of their lives were rapidly decaying, too. I had no right to feel the way that I did. I was weak. I was pathetic. We tried to encourage each other to step into the fire and keep moving. As a final attempt, I attempted to sing the lyrics of Warrior through tears and random pitch inflections. I was trying to convince myself to be strong, not the victim.


It was nice to talk. It was nice to stop holding things back. This conversation was only going to be enough to get me through one more day. It was like putting $2 worth of gasoline in a nearly empty tank. I would have to scrape more change together and refuel again tomorrow. For the time being, I needed to get ready for work. I would have to clean up this mess, pack it back up, and try to sort out the pieces another time.


Day 320: The Spill Canvas – Staplegunned

There was a part of me that never left country. At least until all of my friends from the deployment got home. Most of my peer group had shared some of our deepest struggles with this group. I wish that I could say that I was the only person that had stuff rapidly falling apart on the home front. I wasn’t. At least three or four of my peers would be in my exact position within a year or so. These adjustments back to regular life seemed to be affecting most of my friends.


I stayed in communication with most of them for quite awhile. It seemed like these were the only people around that cared enough to wade through the filth of life that remained. It also helped that most of them had a common frame of reference. It became exhausting to have to explain the backstory EVERY SINGLE TIME. All I had to do was send a quick text or message and everything was back on track. How they were doing. How I was doing. What has happened since the last time we talked? We all had similar issues and it became easy to keep in touch.


I quickly found that my closest friendship was with the female that drove the vocal side of our worship team. She had been hit pretty hard with a lot of changes, to include a longer separation from her children while her own divorce panned out. She found herself in a very similar situation to mine where she was far away from the comfort of her family and close friends as it all got sorted out. Rough day after rough day, the only consolation that we could obtain was knowing that one person, far away from us, was able to identify with the pain and confusion that we were feeling.


We shared words of encouragement. The musician in both of us shared song after song. Here, listen to this one. Check this one out. Aside from the worship music, we had similar tastes, but different experiences with music. We both had songs that had inspired us that would speak to the situation that we found ourselves trudging through. Sure, we shared certain hard rock groups. The rest of the music that came through would make one of the strangest mixtapes of all time. She would send indie, hip-hop, soul type of music. I would send more obscure hard rock, calmer heavy metal, and whatever else was inspiring me at the time.


For all intents and purposes, I became a consumer of music again. I did not have the energy or motivation to create anything new. As we both reached for answers, we didn’t try to forge our own path. We begged, borrowed, and stole inspiration from people who already took the energy to say exactly how broken we were feeling at the time.


Day 319: Relient K – Which To Bury, Us Or The Hatchet

Divorce creates a lot of division. I’m not sure why, but people feel a need to choose sides. Who was right? Who was wrong? In the middle of dividing our physical stuff, it felt like we were dividing up friends. Angry phone calls. Angry text messages. Angry messages on social media. If people felt the need to choose sides, I felt like they should take hers. As incoherent as I was, I realized that I didn’t need to hang with people that didn’t know that I would never pit them against my soon-to-be ex-wife or her family. I wasn’t asking for others to choose loyalties.


I found that when a person doesn’t try to defend or protect their friendships, they will lose them. One by one, I watched people leave my side. People that always knew I was a dirt bag. People that saw me as evil. People that knew me for quite awhile. I just wish they had told me that I sucked when I could’ve done something about it. It was a little too late to be doing anything with this information now.


Day 318: Icon For Hire – Pieces

The second text came in as I was listening to the first song. This one also came from Icon For Hire’s Scripted album, entitled Pieces. The text simply read, “This one is for me.” I clicked the link to listen to the next song.


You see, I had always been a little insecure of my messy life. She, on the contrary, seemed to always have everything together. She didn’t really know death; all of her grandparents were still alive. She didn’t know divorce; her parents were still married. She didn’t know siblings; she was an only child – adopted to parents who couldn’t have children. She grew up loved. She grew up in the church. One of my fears was that I was the messiest decision that she ever made. My fear was confirmed by receiving this song. We were no longer a match, because we never were a match.


As I wallowed knee-deep in my own apathy, I dedicated to staying numb. I still had a long drive to go. If I didn’t feel anything, then I couldn’t hurt. Plain and simple. I was disregarding the advice that Adam Grontier gave me in the lyrics of Pain. I would rather feel nothing then all of this pain.


I gave her the thought and consideration. She deserved that much, but we simply seemed to not be a good match. She was exactly right, though. I had been spending all of my life picking up the pieces of something. For the last decade, I had been cleaning up my own wreckage. I had no one else to blame for that. I could not blame her for not wanting to continue to execute custodial services in my life.