Living in the Tension and Getting Up.

Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning and loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.
–Brian Andreas

A couple of years ago I met a guy. His name is T.J.. At the risk of full disclosure and possibly confirming your suspicions that I really am a b****, I’ve got to confess, I 113% did not want to be friends with him. You see, T.J. is cool; girls dig him, guys look up to him and well, he wears a leather jacket. Plus he’s a musician and when you spend enough years at a Christian college that attribute usually conjures images of guys sitting in the quad singing worship music superficially to woo the passing ladies. Barf. He was clearly not company I’d want to keep – I am tottttally above that, am I right?

Well no, actually I wasn’t right. When we finally officially met, it took about  3 minutes for me to make fun of him and roughly 3.15 minutes for him to quickly retorted with something far more witty…I was sold in an instant and concluded that perhaps he wasn’t as shabby as I’d previously thought.

I guess it’s true what they say, you can’t judge a book by it’s handsome, way-cooler-than-me cover.

Fast forward a couple years and he still remains a friend that I consider myself quite lucky to have. He’s one of the more honest people I know, is not afraid to be authentic, strives to defend the underdog, is pretty smart (for a boy) and well, like I said, is just kinda cool.

Last week, T.J. released a lyric video for his new song “Get Up.” I assumed before I watched it that I’d like it, as I have not been disappointed by his music yet (in fact, quite the opposite – I have embarrassingly teetered the line to becoming a groupie), but I did not anticipate how badly I needed to hear it…I needed an anthem to fight, something to remind me why I get up in the morning and that by the grace of God, I have a purpose on this battlefield.

This song is not necessarily pretty, I mean, it sounds rad and could easily get stuck in your head for days on end, but the raw words and images can be difficult to watch and I’m certain offensive to some, if taken only at face value. I would argue however, that they are also some of the most relatable lyrics I have heard to date. They invoked an emotional response, a call to action and a reminder that no battle is fought in vain. As T.J. poignantly states here, we all have something calling us to battle, whether it be social change, to keep a relationship from collapsing, the battle to get through med school, to kick that addiction or even fighting the demon of depression, it’s all real and it’s all worth grabbing a pair of boxing gloves for.

After watching the video T.J. and I spoke. We caught up, sharing of simultaneous recent heartache, both of which we deducted have led to the same vacillating place; the one that creates a tension between wanting to scream and flip the world the finger in a fight for what is good and just, while also longing to curl up in a ball and cry and let the rest of the world partake in the bloodshed on its’ own. “I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive,” he told me, “you can do both.”

And this is what I am learning, that perhaps living in the tension is not such a terrible thing after all. There is a certain give and take in life that homogenizes beauty and despair, anger and joy, pain and healing, showing us that we are called to fight, but sometimes it’s okay to cry and shake a little while you hold your sword and other times, it’s okay to simply just lay it down and turn on Netflix.

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