Monday Musings…. “It’s not what you do with your life that matters….it’s why”

The theatre lights dimmed and everyone settled back comfortably in their seats. The intro video scrolled across the screen and transported us visually down the highway to Robb Nash’s near fatal car accident. Choices Colliding. Death Declared. The breath that signifies Life is but a relentless sequence of inhaling momentary decisions and exhaling lasting consequences. Everything, yes everything, can change in a moment… whether you are sitting in the back seat of a speeding car or in the front seat of an ornate theatre.

As willing participants in this memorable evening, we quickly got lost in the humour and relatability of Nash as he opened up about his life and the lessons he learned since that fateful day. We’ve all heard of second chances, but Nash took this to a whole new level. Sitting in a crowd of people, it’s easy to get lost in your own experience and forget that those sitting around you are processing everything through their own head space. We walk around every day assuming everyone is breathing normally, holding on. We have no idea how troubled and lost so many people are. Now I’m not just talking emotionally, though for sure that is a growing concern for many people. I’m talking more about the looming thought of “what am I doing here?” It’s not about second chances – there is no ‘chance’ in Nash’s book – it’s all about purpose!

There’s nothing we do on this earth that is meaningless, but, as he challenged us through stories and songs, we all need to figure out ‘why’ we are here. If we are not passionate about something, we really are not living. And it’s when a person finds their passion, that they become unstoppable.

As Nash travels continuously across Canada visiting countless schools, detention centres, and reserves, it is clear that he has found his passion. His astute observational skills have allowed him to sense how lost so many people are - lost to the point where they want to take their lives. The despair, the hopelessness, the belief that they are not good enough or will never amount to anything are common themes that he hears. As long as people believe they are ‘cursed’ to live lives that are meaningless, there is little hope. But he brilliantly showed us that even a curse can be turned into a gift, into the why of existence!

Most of us, through nature or nurture, carry baggage of inadequacy, disappointment, or even infirmity. But within each one of us is potential, and when we tap it, and unleash it, it can be powerful! Our pain, whether that be physical, mental, or emotional can be overruled by the strength of possibility. Nash is ‘living’ proof of that!

When the transport collided with the car Nash was in, the impact was catastrophic, the damage near irreparable. But it was not the end of the world. How many times have we thought, in the moment, that this is the end of the world? That there is no coming back from this problem or circumstance? That the continual, relentless emotional or physical stress you are under is too much to bear? Perhaps when you look back at the facts of your life, the ‘what’ of the circumstances, it’s easy to overlook the ‘why’. In fact, you may ask yourself ‘why’ this is happening to you again, and again. It’s hard to see purpose when it is clouded by frustration, loneliness, or fatigue. Lots of questions, but where are the answers?

The answer wasn’t told to us that evening, it was shown. In a pivotal moment, Nash referenced a young man who had met with him before the concert. It had been a private interaction, taking grief and pain and laying it bare. Nash in his sincerity and sympathy consumed that pain, lifting the cloak of death from his shoulders. And then, as if he felt directed from a prompting within his soul, in the middle of the concert, Nash called for the student to join him on stage. He reached for the young man, drew him close, and held him, as only one who has suffered deeply, could do. The release from the weight of memory and emotion permeated the air and covered the audience, precipitating down into the hearts and minds of all present. Instead of holding up and holding on as the world tells us to do, there was freedom to be had in letting it all go. In that moment, the student and the entire audience was changed. It was as if we were all being held.

From that day forward, we all realized that what has happened in the past could be used as a gift; that our pain could be used to benefit someone else and give them breath. In essence, we all left that theatre knowing we had found our ‘why’.

This week's song is "Just be Held" by Casting Crowns. Give a listen to Robb Nash's "Trouble Child" too - it's fantastic! Photo courtesy of Lou Sprenger.

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