Waiting Game

Some writers have a grip on all the grittiness they feel. They live lives full of it all and don’t suffocate on the thick smog of despair. Some writers have lives that involve more than their written work and they exist happily. Others misuse shotguns or choke on bottle caps.

When working on a project, I don’t read, not extensively. If I pick up a book while I am writing one myself, the ink that was artfully arranged by another will inevitably seep into my own pages. Out of the desire for originality, I refuse to read when writing, so music is what I lean on most for inspiration between drafts. Every once in a while, a song comes along that is absolutely perfect. Waiting Game by Parson James makes my heart and breaks it at the exact same time. It is my life at this very moment. I truly wish it was not so accurate. The lyrics are my current narrative. Those chords, in that rhythm, is the current melody of my heart.

I’ve been fishing and can’t catch a bite

I’ve been praying, ain’t seen that light

To me, the first line relates to the ‘fish in the sea’ phrase. Whoever came up with that expression failed to include just how many grotesque, creeping aquatic things there are. Just because there are a lot of fish does not mean they’re all a good catch. The second line echoes my faith, me and Jesus, doing things together since 2011. Sometimes I have no idea what God’s plan is and it is not fun to be in the dark.

I’ve been searching, high to the low

I’ve been working, working, working myself to the bone

Since I feel as though I’m not in on whatever God is working on, the restlessness makes me take it upon myself to investigate. I never find anything, I just exhaust myself for no good reason.

Now my skin starts to crawl

I’m gon’ tear down these walls if I don’t get out

I’ve lost heaven to hell

And I know very well I’m gon’ get it back

There’s just this waiting game

And I don’t know how to play

It’s enough of a fight staying alive anyway

My pointless scavenging for a single clue as to what God might be up to in my life becomes crazy-making and then it feels as though I am too frustrated to just trust. My inner self is sort like a heroin addict in withdrawal, uncomfortable to the point of tearing open one’s own skin just to scratch out the bugs that were never there. It is a losing battle. Fear and despair seem to be winning but as it is written, Heaven cannot ever be lost to Hell, so long as hope holds on.

I just don’t get it. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what the rules are.

Yes, there’s this waiting game

And I don’t know how to play

It’s enough of a fight staying alive anyway

I didn’t even ask to play. I never learned the right way. This game called life takes longer than Monopoly. It is quite the fight and sometimes the strength it takes just isn’t there.

There’s a voice in my pillow, it’s got it out for me

Umm, umm, ’cause it’ keeps mumbling, mumbling

All through the night, I can’t sleep

Don’t believe all the things you tell yourself late at night. “Surely you will not die,” said the serpent in Genesis 3:5 “but maybe that would be easier than fighting just to stay alive.” Don’t believe all the things you tell yourself late at night. This is the point where I’m much too tired to sleep.

I’ve been patient, oh, a change gon’ come

But that damn clock just don’t stop ticking, ticking, ticking away

That’s the storm

Now my skin starts to crawl

I’m gon’ tear down these walls if I don’t get out

I’ve lost heaven to hell

And I know very well I’m gon’ get it back

This is the part where, if life were a train, it would be the end of the line, last stop, time to get off. You tell yourself to have hope, keep your head up, things will turn around just as they always have before. Yet you can’t shake the incessant metronome that is the ticking time clock of life. I know, time is running out. I am not the author of it therefore, I can do nothing to change it. That’s what hurts the most, that’s the storm, I’m simply caught in it.

I cannot take the worry, I cannot take the fear, I cannot take the doubt, the doubt is killing me. I want to burn down the house just to start somewhere new.

Have I lost Heaven to Hell? Why would I choose that? I know who wins. I know where all this pain is from and it is not from God. I know that and yet I feel all this hurt anyway.

There’s just this waiting game

And I don’t know how to play

It’s enough of a fight staying alive anyway

I cannot take the waiting. I do not want to play. I am not good at this game. I am tired of failure. It takes everything just to want to stay alive. How am I expected to rise above? I fight to live because it would be easy to die. It is a very difficult, eerily silent battle. Staying alive is its own fight.

Yes, there’s this waiting game

Oh, I don’t know how to play

It’s enough of a fight staying alive anyway

My life, right here, right now, today, is a waiting game. I may not know how to play but maybe no one else truly does either. Breathe, pray, repeat. Don’t forget to laugh.

Mmmmmmm, mmmmmmm,

Mmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm

Mmmmmmm, mmmmmmm,

Mmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm

The most enjoyable part of Parson’s song is the very last, wordless part. The final bars, a soulful hum of pain to peace.

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