Thursday, November 24, 2005

525,600 Minutes

[Note: Scroll down within this post to see the music video for Rent's "Seasons of Love" on YouTube followed by the lyrics.]

One year. Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes - so goes the song from Rent about how we measure a year (see lyrics to the song below). The hit Broadway musical and now newly released movie (which I just saw this evening with some friends) paints a picture of poverty, disease, and drugs in the every day lives of friends simply trying to survive and reach their aspirations.

The cast, as is common in musicals, live out their lives through song and music. While we hardly live the life of a musical where we break out in chorus every time a drama occurs in our lives, I wonder how much of our lives is infused with the kind of passion that invigorates those we come in contact with - enough for them to get up out of their seat and join us in a musical number - our lives. How do you measure a year in the life?

Almost seems like I can cast my own show... with friends just out of college struggling to land the job that the career services department promised would be there; friends in a church struggling to figure out how to "do" church outside-the-box yet frustrated at why it's not as organic as they would have hoped; friends in another church struggling to glorify God in their community in the midst of persecuting Christians who condemn their gay lifestyles; new friends that spend their lives praising God while keeping HIV at bay by religiously taking their meds; friends doing whatever they can to help the homeless but frustrated at the seemingly hopeless task; friends online trying to explore what this whole gay Christian thing looks like; and me, just trying to live out my faith in every context.

So much has happened in a year. And the year before that. And the year before that. And the year before that....

Last year this month, I began my last semester at university and was about to see the fruit of three years worth of sacrifice - the honor of class Valedictorian and graduation speaker. It was a busy time - focussed and determined. Two years ago, I invested time in healing from past wounds and past regrets. I spent six months in an ex-gay ministry and found value in the small group fellowship, prayer, and discussion. It felt good to be able to say out loud that I was attracted to other guys and to have the group (some gay, some straight) still affirm me as a man of God. Three years ago, I began taking steps of faith - the Lord had inspired us with fresh vision and my ministry partner and I began to live out our faith in a way that would eventually lead to the establishment of our non-profit organization. Four years ago, I wanted to die. My life was at a metaphorical "rock-bottom". Having already tried to kill myself in high school yet surviving in misery, I knew better than to do it again. So I asked the Lord to take my last breath as I slept, fully believing that He would do it, and I had my first dream that I can attribute as being from the Lord (which in a nutshell, told me that He wasn't done with me yet). I woke up taking a full, deep gasp of air - in contrast to my request when I lay my head the evening before.

This past year, in present time, I have been living out faith - living out grace - living out redemption. I have forsaken the religious routines of a spectator faith and I've exchanged them for an exciting journey of exploration and uncertainty, following Jesus into the unimaginable places He was already at - the gay community. I have the privilege of participating in my faith - this walk with Christ where I am no longer paralyzed by my own self. Moment by moment, minute by minute I have been learning what it looks like to measure my year with relationships. I have grown closer to my family. I have grown closer to new friends. I have grown closer to some existing friends.

The months of November and December have historically been incredibly depressing times for me. This is the season when I am normally overwhelmed with loneliness and anchored by the memories of the biggest mistakes of my life. My birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years all emphasized a holiday season that was plastic - an insincere celebration on the outside of me, but a dark and silent prison on the inside of me. This year seems different. It's brighter somehow. Lighter even. Perhaps hopeful.

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. It's been a year's worth of sacrifice and success, excitement and depression, acceptance and rejection, confusion and exploration. Worlds of people and worlds of emotions all colliding during every minute - every moment. Yet, in every explosion, I am met by God who's presence has always been evident. Thank God for this minute, right here - right now. As another year passes, I pray that I can continue to measure it with "Seasons of Love".

Click here to see the Rent Blog that has film clips of the new movie (with songs).

"Seasons of Love"

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes,
How do we measure a year?

In daylights—in sunsets,
In midnights—in cups of coffee,
In inches—in miles,
In laughter—in strife.

In five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes.
How do we measure
A year in the life?
How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love.

Seasons of love.
Seasons of love.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Journeys to plan.

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes.
How do we measure the life
Of a Woman or a Man?

In truths that she learned
Or in times that he cried,
In bridges he burned
Or the way that she died.

It’s time now—to sing out
Tho’ the story never ends.
Let’s celebrate
Remember a year in the life of friends.

Remember the love.
Remember the love.
Remember the love.
Measure the love.

Measure, measure your life in love.
Seasons of love.
Seasons of love.


The Rainbow Zebra said...

I saw Rent yesterday, pretty good film (I've never seen the musical).

Happy Thanksgiving ((((Eric))))

Anonymous said...

This has got to be my favourite sone ever i love it sooo much

Anonymous said...

this si one of my favorite songs ever. it's about love, and how important it is to love, each minute of our life. o love it, thanks for putting it on this site. Mia

Steve said...

It's amazing that 10 months later, I come across this post, still reeling from the emotional impact of Rent. This, too, is my favorite song from the show - and perhaps ever.

It inspired this post on my not-quite-out-yet blog (the coming out blog is over over here). And it reminds me how much we are interconnected - despite our vast differences in age and life experience, each of us finds a connection in this simple but beautiful song.

I'm grateful to God for your blog, grateful for your appearance on GCN Radio, which led me to GCN's website - grateful for your willingness to share your story, Eric. I'm glad that you're in my world - at least in a virtual sense.

Atlanta Rent Mobile Stages said...

It's about love, and how important it is to love, each minute of our life.---worth watching.

Charlotte Rent Mobile Stages said...

thanks for sharing your story, love the song.