I mentioned in my last post that my late friend Marques Bovre left 2 messages on his wife Tracy’s bedroom dresser. She found them recently, and shared them with me. We agreed it would be good to make them available to anyone who might need to hear what Marques had to say on those folded up pieces of notebook paper which seemed to appear out of nowhere.
I offered the first of those two messages in my last blog entry, and I said I’d post the other one later.
I was going to space these out a bit just because I don’t want to overwhelm folks with stuff about Marques, my own grief/loss, etc. And, I don’t want new readers of this new blog of mine to think that it’s only going to be about Marques and my process of releasing his being into the greater Scheme of Things (i.e. the Mystery, Big Love, God, whatever you want to call Him/Her/It).
But I woke up this morning needing to read that second message again myself. It’s been helping me a lot in the past several days in particular–not just with saying good-bye to Marques in the flesh, but with life in general. It felt selfish of me not to share it with the rest of you–especially those of you who were close to Marques and his music. I want you to have his words to comfort and strengthen you, as they have me. So I’m not going to sit on it any longer.
The first time Marques and I got together immediately after his diagnosis with advanced and most likely terminal brain cancer, after letting his own sadness drain, Marques paused a moment and then said, “Well, the way I see it, I can either go into fear or into Love. I’m choosing Love.”
Fear and Love. So many things seem to come down to the choice between those two. That message has been coming to me in countless ways in recent years. It’s not unique to Marques, or even to Jesus. But they both knew it was where the real action is for every human being. Dealing with the interplay between fear and love is right at the Center–the heart–of what being a human being is all about. I’ve heard that Jesus said, “Fear not” or “Don’t be afraid” 365 times in the Gospels. One for each day of the year. He knew that nothing will get in our way more when it comes to living Life in all its fullness and beauty than unacknowledged, unexamined, unconfronted, and untransformed (is that a word?) fear.
And what do we fear? Well, in one way or another, we fear getting hurt, or being in pain, or hurting others, which only hurts us. As Marques put it at the end of his brief note, “We’re all scared of being hurt.”
So here’s that second message from Marques.
Fear… We never run out of second chances, but we do run out of time. Live your life. Don’t ever let your fears keep you from fully living your life. Don’t let the fear of making mistakes and committing sins keep you from living your life. Don’t fear the pain that the experience of life brings you. Face the pain, live into the pain and allow yourself to experience what’s on the other side of that pain–which is joy. It’s a process and it doesn’t necessarily get easier, but it does get more predictable and it does bring you closer to God and it does allow God to get further into you.
Fear is what keeps us from opening ourselves in vulnerability to others in relationship. This is true both for relationships with people and with God. “The distance we put between ourselves and our pain is commensurate with the distance we put between ourselves and God.”
We’re all scared of being hurt.
Marques leaned right into his pain. And that’s why he also knew a lot of joy, laughter, and lightness. That same evening after he told me that he was choosing Love, once we finished letting the sadness drain, he pulled out a DVD of South Park that he’d brought with him, and said, “Now we need to laugh.” He turned me on to a couple of his favorite episodes (the only one I remember is “Smug Alert”). And so with all due humility, we laughed at the fear, and he basically said to the universe… “Bring it.”
Well, the universe brought it. And Marques chose Love. Not perfectly or flawlessly. He had his moments when he had to pray and sing himself back to the place of Peace. We all do.
Before he left that night, he said, “I need to sing a few songs.” And so he pulled out his guitar and sang in my living room for himself, for me, and in a sense for anyone who has been scared of being hurt. The first song he played was called, “Don’t Be Afraid.” The lead guitarist of the Evil Twins (Marques’ first and probably most well-known band), the inimitable Linus, bravely and beautifully sang this same song at Marques’ funeral. Thanks so much for doing that by the way Linus–especially when you were in so much pain yourself. The song was written initially as a lullaby to a little baby girl who started crying one day at the sound of thunder.
Here’s a link to the song. It, like all of Marques’ music, will always be there when you need it.