Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Anatomy of Music Part 2......

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small

Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong

So I tuck it all away, like everything's okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone who's been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who's traded
In the altar for a stage

The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart

But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be

Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Or would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay

Stained Glass Masquerade – Casting Crowns

I suppose that I am finding more and more that this blog is beginning to show my friends the real me. It is a good thing though, you all deserve to know the truth. As an introduction to talking about this song I'd like to say that it is what truly changed my heart. It was..... February I believe, or late January that I saw the real meaning in this song, and realized that I needed to clear some stuff up with my family. So I wrote a long letter and read it to the family, the ending of which were these lyrics. I had to share it too with the parents of that young lady that I had cheated. If you don't know that story simply read my previous post. But let's get down the music knowing how touching, and personal this song is to me...

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small

This song is quite literally dripping with my past thoughts and ideas. It was really my whole view of life just a couple of months ago. “Is there anyone that fails?” I asked myself that exact question even before I had heard those lyrics. “Is there anyone that falls?” I was positive that I was the only one in my church that was a sinner, the only one that was so small compared to God that I couldn't be saved from the pit I was in.

Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong

I saw my friends, worshiping God, their parents, doing the same. I saw my family so into the worship that it was always almost making me cry. They all seemed to incredibly strong, so, perfect if you will. “I know they'll soon discover, that I don't belong.” This was my greatest worry. I knew I was living a lie, actually, now I think about it, my brothers did too. The only real reason I turned was because one of my greatest mentors, my brother David came to me one day and said that if I didn't stop chatting behind my parent's back he would tell them himself. This freaked me out of course, and it broke me. I knew that my brothers knew I was doing it, but they restrained from telling my parents because I think that they knew I would come around. They had faith in me. My greatest fear though, was that my friends and family would soon discover that I shouldn't be there with them. But of course, this is a lie isn't it? We all belong in the church, worshiping God, for He will accept everyone.

So I tuck it all away, like everything's okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them

“I tuck it all away, like everything's okay.” That, my friends, is called a mask. One of the most dangerous props on the stage of life. They believed me, my parents did at least. My sisters did. My friends did. They thought I was just fine, doing well, had a strong relationship with Christ. I love these next lines so much! “ If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too. So with a painted grin, I play the part again So everyone will see me the way that I see them.” It's so true! It's like the old quote from Hitler that goes something like this, “You tell a lie long enough soon everyone will believe it.” That's not a direct quote but that's the main idea. I was living a lie, telling a lie long enough, and people believed it to be truth. And at times I saw it as truth too. Because of this, I grabbed my paint brush, put on that goofy grin and a nice suit and headed off to church. Just so they could see the strong person that I really wasn't.

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

This, the chorus of the song truly makes me tear up as I read it. It explains so much the idea of masks, and faking it through life. It asks, “Are we happy plastic people?” Portraying our sad natures as dolls performing on a dimly lit stage. It portrays the church with a “plastic steeple” which asks the question, “How many of us are acting?” It goes on to say, “With walls around our weakness, and smiles to hide our pain” This is what I lived with. If someone asked me what was wrong I just said, “Nothing” if someone asked me how I was doing I just said, “I'm ok, a little tired with school and all”. What a lie people. When someone is truly asking you how you are doing, why is it so easy to give the expected answer? Can't we be honest with each other?

“But if the invitation's open, to every heart that has been broken, maybe then we close the curtain on our stained glass masquerade” This is where repentance, sanctification, atonement, they all come down in these couple of lines. What does, “if the invitation's open, to ever heart that has been broken” mean? It means, if God has called us to Him, (which He has) and has given us the opportunity to repent of our sins, come clean before Him, “Maybe then we close the curtain on our stained glass masquerade.” The lyrics take us back to the magnificent churches of old, with stained glass windows. And showing how it's all a masquerade, that word taking us to opera, and acting on a stage. We don't have to act! We can repent, God will forgive us. He has forgiven me. Yes, I still make mistakes, but God won't give up on me.

Is there anyone who's been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who's traded
In the altar for a stage

I believe what this part is trying to say, and give the listener a picture of an alter call. Alter calls can sometimes be a showing of raised hands for people who want to repent, who want their lives back. So the singer asks, “Are there any hands raised?” Is she the only one who has failed. Then she asks, “Am I the only one who's traded in the alter for a stage?” This is the only part that solos a woman's voice, which for some unknown reason affected me more than the guy's voice in the rest of the song. It was sweeter, higher, and seemed to affect me more than it would have had it been a guy. I don't know if this is just me or not, but when I hear a woman asking me if she's the only person who is acting, it touches me deeply.

The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart

This is where I fall apart. Or used to when I knew the trouble I was in. “The performance is convincing
and we know every line by heart” It's so true... my performance was, for the most part, pretty convincing. I knew what to say, when to say it. I knew how to pray, how to sing. But I wasn't doing it with my whole heart. “Only when no one is watching can we really fall apart” I would tend to hide in my room, or go on a walk, put the music on a simply cry. I would lay in bed, and cry, just cry. When I came back to the real world, I'd have a smile on my face, I'd be what everyone thought was me.
But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be

This once again is where the writer of these lyrics hit the proverbial nail on the head. It is this question that I struggled with, and struggled with, and it tore at me with a vengeance. I would say to myself, “Oh Justin, it won't help, they won't understand. You can't talk to them!” But these thoughts, these lies, they weren't my thoughts, they were our little friend, satan. (Excuse the non-capitalization but I can't come to give him that much credit.) :-) He would put those ideas into my head, and fill my mind with lies. “If I dared to let you see, the truth behind the person that you imagine me to be.” Here we go back to the original idea of a convincing performance. Everyone imagined me to be the deacons kid! I was perfect! If only...

Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Or would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay

Please my friends, it's true. If you come to me with the truth, and you tell me of a mask you've worn, don't listen to the devil, don't buy into those lies. I will understand. You're parents WILL understand. Please, for your own sake, don't allow yourself to be fooled. It's a hard path, but it's a path that we have all taken, and I'm sure I will take again. But you know what? God is on our side. We have loving family and friends, that no matter what we do will still take us back in. You can't get rid of them. I know that my arms would be opened, just like my family's arms were open, just like my parents arms were open. I once again encourage you, if you are hiding something, anything, get it out in the open.

Thank you again for reading these long thoughts, and rabbit trails, I pray that I have helped or encouraged you in some way or another. I would ask you to feel free to give this to anyone that you feel might need it. You needn't give him or her my name, all I want is a generation that seeks God to our full potential. Thank you, and may God bless you all!
- Your brother in Christ

8 comments:

Annie C. Landon said...

Wow, Justin!
Everything you're saying is definitely hitting home. It all makes sense and once again, I'm pleased to say that I'm thankful someone is speaking and translating and explaining these songs publicly, like this.

~C

JustinK said...

Thank you Annie. Means a lot. And really, you can't give me all the credit. As odd as it sounds I've written these last two posts in about 15 minutes max. It's really not me folks. God obviously wants someone to hear this message and I guess He wants me to deliver it! Which I'm willing to do. :-)
Thank you for reading though, and do pass this on to someone if you think he or she is struggling in this area.
-JK

emily said...

Um, wow Justin, don't make me cry :)...that was an amazing post...truly, amazing. You know, God created us who we are for a reason, why are there so many people who can't be satisfied with who they are? I mean, you find people who appear SO normal, and SO happy, yet, on the inside, they're torn. And, I yeaaaaarn for the chance to just, make them truly happy! 'Cause God's the only source of continual joy :)...it's been a week since I've woken up as a different person--i.e., I've had a smile on my face continually. And, that's who I really am..someone who smiles. Yet, it's like I covered up my smile, and only let it show to certain poeple...why?

A lot of the time, it comes down to self consciousness... yes, I'm SUCH a self conscious person, it's not always a good thing. But, you know, 1 Peter 3 says that our beauty should not come from our external self, but the glowing and unfading beauty of Him--that lives inside us. :)

I've halfway gone off subject, but Justin, thank you...your posts are absolutely awesome :), I'm lookin' forward to the next one. :) in Christ, em

Bisceglia Family said...

Justin-I have so much I could say I don't know where to begin. I tend to avoid computers as much as possible, but when my sisters shared with me the things you were discussing here I knew I had to read them all for myself. Many of the things you've mentioned have been on my heart lately & I was greatly encouraged by your thoughts on them. Thank you for sharing your heart. I never cease to wonder at the workings of God & how happenings that may seem to us disastrous He uses for His glory. I am awed, looking back at my prayer journal, how God led me to pray for you and your family at a time when you needed it. I will continue to pray.

Keep sharing for Christ's glory!
Krista

Lo said...

Wow.....so true for me that it is hard to read.

Praying

ljhs

JustinK said...

If that's truly the case. Then I'll be praying for you even more. Just trust in God's saving grace. :)
-Justin
P.S. Don't give up either...

Bisceglia Family said...

Wow. This post brought me back to a darker time in my life some years ago and how God brought me through that time and once again into His light. This post, as well as the fact that you are able to share, and give other young people a much-needed warning I found very encouraging. These verses from Psalms struck me as along the line of these last two posts.

"When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, 'I wil confess my transgressions to the Lord,'
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin."
-Psalm 32:3-5

Many Blessings ~ Kathrina

Anonymous said...

Hey Justin! I just wanted to say that this totally hit me. I've been living with a mask, and pretending everything's all right. (and doing things behind my parent's back...) :( now you have me ready to cry and I think I'll talk to my parents.

Thank you so much for posting this!

love you, ;)

~Lin