“Some have been burned. Broken. Left out in the cold. Some are wrestling with painful words spoken over them by someone they love or walking around in chains of their own making. A few are dying inside. Whatever the reason, when you sit down in front of them and say, ‘Let me play a song for you,’ you’re giving them something that no money can buy.”
He looked confused. “What’s that?”
An excerpt from the extraordinary, beautiful, happy, sad, riveting book, Long Way Gone. It’s a book about music, how it touches us “underneath our DNA” and how it plays a central part in one man’s journey from love to the path of a prodigal to loss and then a journey back to grace. Mr. Martin takes up all the worthwhile topics of life: music, loss, love, forgiveness, redemption, and hope.
The father writes to his son [Cooper, aka “Peg”] after his son has broken their relationship in the most public and humiliating way possible:
“Here’s the truth: No matter what happened on the stage tonight, no matter where you went when you drove out of here, no matter where you end up, no matter what happens, what you become, what you gain, what you lose, whether you succeed or fail, stand or fall, no matter what you dip your hands into…no gone is too far gone.
You can always come home..
And when you do, you’ll find me standing right here, arms wide, eyes searching for your return.
I love you. Dad.”
Here is another passage I really enjoyed, a description of Colorado:
“Colorado is like a girl I once knew. Beautiful in any light. When the light or angle changes, something new is revealed. Something hidden rises to the surface. In late September and early October, the light in Colorado shifts. Snow dusts the peaks. The color in the trees has peaked and begun draining out. Colorado in the fall is a peek into the throne room. Colorado in winter is majesty defined. A declaration.
When God carved this place with words, He lingered.”
It’s an excellent book, you should read it, and everything else Charles Martin has written.
- “It is no light matter to meet God after having denied him all my life.”
- “So then: the following pages are the account of how I turned from death to life—from denying God to committing myself to Christ, my Lord and Savior. It is not the account of how I came to love him: that came later, and, like the gift of knowing him, came without my asking.”
- “Easier by far to read only books by atheists that told me what I wanted to hear: that I was much smarter and intellectually honest and morally superior than the poor, deluded Christians.”
- “I had built myself a fortress of atheism, secure against any attack by irrational faith. And I lived in it, alone.”
- “I praise him for giving us this gift, this work of prayer—for ourselves, for our Christian brothers and sisters, and for all the lost sheep that He, in His own way and time, is calling home.”
- “So even as I became more anti-Christian, and even though I was contradicting the principles that undergirded my atheism, I treated art, music, and literature as if they had real meaning. I studiously avoided thinking through why I did this.”
- “Without the One who created us to be in relationship with Him, any two souls who try to cling to each other for meaning will drown just the same.”
- “To retreat from the lonely precipice of despair would mean that “those people” whom you have taken pride in sneering at…really did know more than you. It would mean giving up the lonely, terrible sense of being special by virtue of everyone else being a fool.”
- “My worldview remained satisfying to me only insofar as I refrained from asking the really tough questions. So I didn’t ask those questions.”
A short book, but a good book. The Holy Spirit has a myriad ways to draw men and women to faith in Christ, in this case through an intellectual journey from atheism to theism to a recognition that the resurrection was the hinge point, to a prayer that God would reveal himself to the sudden realization that it’s all true. A long journey. A good journey.