"Let me feel something, let me feel something, let me feel something."
I was on my knees. Surrounded by boxes of Hawaiian themed VBS decorations. A couple of foam Roman pillars and piles of costumes from past church plays.
I could hear the sounds of everyone else, all somewhere else. Laughter echoed through the gym. But I couldn’t join them. I had an obligation.
"Let me feel something, let me feel something, please, let me feel something.”
I was out of time. Youth Group was starting. I brought my guitar up to the stage. I set it in the stand. That’s inaccurate. I set it on the ground. I was shaking.
This ritual happened every week. We probably played some form of game. Or maybe we didn’t. It depended on the night. Every night, though, the band was on stage too early. When I wasn’t ready.
"Let me feel something, let me feel something, please, let me feel something, God.”
I sang. Nothing. I screamed. I made my voice break. Nothing. Damn it! (No, I wouldn’t have said that.) Darn it! Nothing.
I was fifteen. Sixteen. Seventeen, too, I think. I can’t remember all the reasons why, but somehow I was in charge of the worship for Youth Group every Wednesday. Standing before my peers in total fear. Desperate to not be faking some connection with the divine on stage. Desperately faking a connection with the divine on stage.
God wasn’t answering me. Just everyone else in front of me with their hands raised. What was I missing? What was I missing? The guilt of leading without spirit is crushing. I fold like a soda can. What was wrong with me? I couldn’t tell anyone I was lying, that I couldn’t feel. I’ve let my friends and family down, I am so evil. I can’t feel anything.
It went on. A couple years.
And then I moved away and tried not to remember.
Now that I’ve spent time attempting to reconcile with those feelings and those memories, I’ve discovered a little more divinity in music. I’ve seen the indescribable connection between people. The energy, the focus, the invisible senses.
I’m still not sure what it means to feel something. If I was in the same position now, ten years later, what would I do? I’d probably still be on some concrete floor begging to experience the emotions others seem capable of. The untethered devotion. The impact from compelling them to dance and sway.
Music is the closest thing to true church I know. The way I reach out and experience something supernatural. The only way i know how to transcend. Music doesn’t discriminate, or judge our reactions to it. It just is. You can dance or not. But just be there, with music. That’s all music wants. For you to be there and listen.