New Castle News

April 16, 2012

Lisa Madras: Blake Shelton points me back to a greater Voice

Lisa Madras
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — And so it is, we've come full circle. Twenty weeks, 20 questions.

If you remember, this was the first one. And it bears repeating: "Really, truly ... is this what I want to be doing?"

After almost three months of introspection, your answer might have changed a little bit. I know as far as I'm concerned, my answers can change daily. I'm working on that, but I believe it's all part of the learning and growing process.

I love my moments of perfect clarity, when I'm convinced that I've finally found the answers I've been seeking, or learned the lesson that God's been trying to teach me. These moments bring with them feelings that I can only guess must be something like a drug addict feels: elation, relief, confidence — almost a sense of immortality.

I'd had just such a fix a few days ago when I borrowed a Blake Shelton CD from a girlfriend. I've always hated country music, but I wanted to break out of my mold, and I should have known right away that my curiosity about this album was a sign of something more. And there it was — the third song on the CD. Three, my favorite number. The power of three. All alone in the world, but never less than three strong — me, my baby boy, and my baby girl.

I've been a walking heartache

I've made a mess of me

The person that I've been lately

Ain't who I wanna be

But you stay here right beside me

And watch as the storm blows through

And I need you

There's more here than what we're seeing

A divine conspiracy

That you, an angel lovely

Could somehow fall for me

You'll always be love's great martyr

And I'll be the flattered fool

And I need you

On my own I'm only

Half of what I could be

I can't do without you

We are stitched together

And what love has tethered

I pray we never undo

Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs

God gave me you for the days of doubt

God gave me you for the ups and downs

God gave me you for the days of doubt

And for when I think I lost my way

There are no words here left to say, it's true

God gave me you, gave me you.

He gave me you.

I often find myself saying that if it weren’t for my children, I wouldn't have bothered to hang around this life. But I'm their mom, and even though my life is in ruins, perhaps my calling in this world is to raise them into something special. In fact, I was sure of it.

Until I heard this song.

And I had to think that maybe, just maybe, I'm still destined for something special. (Not to say that being a good mom to my kids isn't a noble enough calling, because it absolutely is.) But what if, by some crazy chance, God gave me these two incredible, amazing, awe-inspiring reasons as a way of keeping ME around long enough to find a higher purpose? What if I was given this sweetness and joy as a way of washing away the acrid taste of self-doubt and self-recrimination, not just as their mom helping them to their higher purpose, but as a catalyst to remind me to achieve my own?

If I had to stand before God at this very moment and justify my existence, I'm afraid I'd be sadly lacking an acceptable response. I'm sure I'd try to plead my case by recalling the obstacles that have blocked my path and the injustices that have tamped down my spirit and I'd look for impunity in light of this life strewn with bumps and barriers and booby-traps.

But if God were the type of being to roll his eyes (and I know he is!) he'd do just that, accompany it with a heavy sigh, and tell me quit screwing around and get back to work. I'm pretty sure he'd shake his head and mutter something like "Knucklehead" under his breath, too.

Because I AM a knucklehead of epic proportions. I've spent way too much of my short existence building walls around my ailments and grievances, self-soothing and licking my wounds, easing the path until I can climb onto the end-game trash heap and pretend that I made some sort of difference in this world just because I was strong enough to survive it.

I'll be darned. Looks like 20 questions was only the beginning.