Lent · music

The dish towel gospel

As I’ve traveled through the journey of Lent, I’ve bared one thing in mind, “sacred.” The hunger for what is preserved, what is untapped and what is connected with God in a deep and meaningful way. This has always been at the forefront of my relationship with God, as I’ve grown an intolerance to what I call the “dish towel” gospel. God is not simplistic enough to live simply on dish towels and serving plates, He’s in the threads and the materials of those things.This has been my experience in understanding my walk with God as the surface seems to give way to a deeper, richer and more meaningful soil. The words behind the words. 

As a child of the 90’s, I fell in love with grunge bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots. The lyrics were full of a meaning deeper than a catchy tune, went inside of the depth of your thoughts, made you think about the teetering line between life and death. It preserved the sacredness of misery of lives that were undone, but it was missing one thing- it offered no solution. It simply sang of the pits of hell that existed in this world, in our hearts. The darkness was at least for me a familiar pain, and the melody provided both a medicinal serum for me as well as a pathway to a deeper destruction. Those of us that identified with the music were lost in its truth, the world is a cruel place, life is difficult, I need to fill my pain. Unfortunately for most of us as unaware teenagers, we did this through things that were not good for us. And the misery was continually propelled by the fuel of the lyrics. That was until for me, Kurt Cobain committed suicide. With the end of Nirvana came the beginning of reality, there may have been beauty in pain, but I would never see it unless I kept walking…

And this idea of sacredness and the sanctity of life has stayed with me. People want to feel, sometimes… anything. They want to be connected in a deep and meaningful way and not just superficially. They want to hold hands, they want their tears to find a place to fall, they want a real, warm body who looks at them and tells them they matter. Religion is not the root of this desire to be loved, God is.

As I listened to the lyrics of the Dave Matthew ‘s song Gravedigger, I realized the gravity of our need for each other.

Gravedigger, when you dig my grave

Make it shallow, 

So I can feel the rain

It’s a dichotomy of wanting to feel, still holding on, missing a connection, not wanting to go. Reaching out from beyond the grave to feel the simplicity of God’s adorned raindrops on our foreheads. The need for God’s one last touch…

I realized that I have spent my whole life trying to “feel,” and knowing that sometimes for me, I would never get there. It was the wanting of a human touch, but the pushing away of God’s extended hand. Wanting so much to be content with what was, but knowing I would be pervasive in my quest to “feel” that much more. Wanting to hurt in order that I could “feel” anything, because feeling something even if it was bad, was better than not feeling at all…Passing up at times God’s extended hand.

I have realized in this very short beginning of my journey that sacredness is found in connection to God, through people, who become His messengers to a dying and hurting world. We spend our lives looking for God, when many times He is right in front of us, hurt and bleeding. Will you pick up the dying Jesus today? The bloody Jesus? The dirty Jesus? The one we all pretend not to see… Human connection is found there, as is God and his outstretched arm.




18 thoughts on “The dish towel gospel

  1. This is a fantastic post and speaks to my own journey in so many ways. When you wrote about the song lyrics from those bands (all were favorites of mine especially DMB) and said, “It preserved the sacredness of misery of lives that were undone, but it was missing one thing- it offered no solution.” You hit the nail on the head. Through my darkest times, and there were many, those songs just repeated what I was feeling and solidified my feelings of hopelessness. Many times I told myself there was no way out. I made my choices and now my path was set for destruction – or at least a lot of unhappiness and settling for scraps.

    Thankfully, deep down within, God was still working on me. That spark of the Holy Spirit was trying to reach me through the darkness – and the hope I thought was lost, saved me. The desire for more than the world was telling me I deserved, grew stronger. Thanks be only to God and the graces and mercy he pours out on me. Now I am living the life I always dreamed that I would, and I am so very thankful!

    Thank you for your writing, Melissa. I don’t always comment but I read your posts. I appreciate your writing so much. May God continue to bless you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Christie! Yes I also read many blogs and don’t always comment so I understand. I am glad you felt moved by the piece and understand where I was coming from.

      What in your life makes it the life you dreamed of if you don’t mind me asking? I am always looking to hear people’s stories to see how they are living an abundant life in Jesus.


      1. Sure, Melissa, I don’t mind sharing at all because I believe that I went through everything in my life, so that God can use that to encourage others. It’s my way of thanking Him for all He has done for me.

        When I say that I am living the life I always dreamed that includes a long list of things. The Lord has blessed with a wonderful husband, great kids, we eat dinner together as a family nearly every night, I have friends and family that I can count on, a career that I love and allows me to be home with my children — but most importantly, I have a great sense of peace and joy that I NEVER thought I would ever find in this life.

        My parents divorced when I was very young and after the divorce I always struggled to find happiness. I never remember feeling any sense of peace. My life seemed to be a constant search for something more. I always dreamed that I would have a family of my own. That when I got married, it would be forever. That I could stay home with my kids and be there for all their fields trips, pack their lunches, volunteer at school, and serve my community. I would watch families that seemed to me to be “perfect”, with sadness and hope. Sadness that I didn’t have that but hope that one day I would.

        I would pray constantly for things in my life to change. Actually, it was more like begging for what I thought would make me happy. And it seemed that I never got anything I asked for. My life kept getting worse. Then I tried to numb the disappointment and pain with alcohol. That lasted several years. But God placed people in my life who encouraged me. He gave me the courage to attend my first AA meeting, and though I was the youngest person there by at least 5 years, that is where my faith in God was restored. About 5 years ago I experienced a reversion back to the Catholic Church. I love learning all I can about the Word of God, my faith, and what it means to be Catholic.

        My journey has been long and it has taken years to get to where I am today; to be the person I feel God has called me to be all along. If I could pinpoint one moment, I would say that my life changed dramatically when I stopped begging God to do things for me. When out of desperation, I prayed instead: “Lord Jesus, I need You. If it is YOUR WILL, please make a way out of this situation, where I can see no way. If you won’t, then please give me the peace to accept where I am and do Your will here. Thy will be done.”

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thank you so much for sharing that with me. Yes I think we bargain with God and think we know what is best for us when we really don’t! I go back and forth quite frequently and I am trying to allow God to show me the way and guide me rather than me begging God for specific things. I pray I will come to that place where you were. I’ve had that AHA moment so many times, but I seem to fall back into that pattern where I think I know what’s best. Being an attorney doesn’t help matters much either…

        Thanks again, your testimony really helps me!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It is my pleasure to share with you and I am glad if my story helped you. Melissa, I will be praying for you. For me, it was hard to suspend my sense of certainty, that I know what I needed and what that should look like. However, I had to relinquish trying to control every situation and instead trust in the Lord. It certainly didn’t happen all at once. It has been a process, to be sure! I imagine that your work as an attorney makes doing those things even more difficult.

        Keep seeking, keep knocking, and keep trusting. You are certainly on the right path. God bless!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t listen to music anymore, Christian or otherwise. I much prefer silence. I know there are Christian songs for worship, but do you know if there are any songs written that speak to the pain that you spoke of and how Christ helps them deal with it? We hear a lot of songs for those who were sinners, but what about those who were innocent victims?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would suggest “Flawless” by Mercy Me. It contains the unspoken stories of both victims and sinners who projected their addictions and perversions onto innocents. This is a favorite song of mine.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve actually never heard it played at all. A friend of mine played it for me and told me it sounded like my theme song lol. I know she plays in churches but I have never heard her on secular or Christian stations, she’s a hidden gem 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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