Jul 01 2013
Chicken Soup for the Unresolved Soul

There's a story about Bach -- or maybe it was Mozart -- and how, even as a little kid, he had to hear resolution.  He was in bed, upstairs, and someone was playing the piano, and that someone got distracted and stopped, just before the last chord.

J.S. - or W.A.? - couldn't stand it.  He tromped downstairs, pounded out the resolving chord, and then went back up to bed again, without a word.  He just had to hear it.

We're all like that.  I think about all the stories I've heard, and then all the ones I've lived, and there's the big difference:  We get resolution in the former, but the other just...lay...out there, somewhere, and, much as we pretend, there are no finish lines, no final chords, no official victories, no ends-of-story.  Not yet, anyway. 

I took the yellow bus home from our country school in St. Berniece, Indiana.  One day, I sat with my best friend's brother, Eric.  He was in second grade, I was in third.  We talked and joked about my lunchbox and a puppet I played with.  Then we got off at the bus stop in front of his house.

I stepped to the right.  But Eric ran alongside the bus, slipped, and fell under the wheel. 

Two weeks later, my mom suggested I go over to my friend's house, to visit him and his little sister.  She told me they probably hadn't had any visitors since Eric was killed, and may be lonely.  So I got on my bike.

Mark, my friend, and his little sister met me at the door, excited to see me - or anyone, for that matter, I gathered.  We laughed and played with a top on their hardwood floor.  It was one of those that spins and makes noise and lights.  I could see their mom in the back room, smoking a cigarette.  Staring at me.

We played for an hour, until she came in the room, and started screaming at me.  She said something about how all I was doing was reminding them of what happened to Eric, and I should get out, like, now.  Her kids were stunned, and started crying, and so did I, and I ran out the door and got on my bike bawling with guilt. 

I never went back.  And we moved away.  I don't know what happened to them.  When I think about that day - this is more than thirty years ago - I still get a knot in my stomach.  There's no ending to the story.  So it's a story I've almost never told.

Most examples aren't this painful, but almost all the "great stories" of my life are this way.  When I speak to people, try to motivate them, try to teach them, I pull a bit of a sleight-of-hand, presenting stories that are edited just-so.  They're not "untrue", they're just dishonest, in a pedestrian way, I suppose, presenting real-life stories like Aesop's Fables, with certain resolution, as though the story were over. 

(Maybe  -- I don't know, I'm musing here -- this is a reason why Jesus's stories aren't specific "victory" testimonies, they're metaphors of the Kingdom.  Maybe he didn't want a specific "Look-at-what-happened" story to ultimately get mis-used, or give the wrong impression.)

I tell about a smashing, eye-opening missions trip for some high schoolers, but I don't include the boring stories, or the stories where some kids just really weren't impacted, how that one inspiring kid wound up getting some girl pregnant two months later. 

I tell -- and hear --  "and then he became a believer!"-type stories, but don't include, " -- and yeah, okay, he's still battling addictions."

I read "look what our church is doing" accounts in newsletters, but don't hear the invariably messy follow-ups.  We get the "victory" stories over sin and depravity, but no one publishes books called, Wups, I'm Totally Messed Again.  Yet, that's where the stories of my actual life are.  We don't like our stories open-ended.  So we clean up our stories, and act like they're finished.

They're not.

I used to be a youth minister, and the conventions would feature one impressive guy after another, with remarkable stories about what happened in their youth groups.  It was really amazing!  Why was my youth group kind of a mess?  Why wasn't I inspiring anyone like that?  It was impressive!...until I realized I could pick and choose stories, make believe they were final, and, presto -- I'm awesome. 

And that inspiring day when Big Joe the Football Lineman cried and prayed?  Well, that was the end of the story!  But in reality, it wasn't.

We like resolution.  But we don't live in resolution-time.  Forgive me for ever giving the impression otherwise, that I believe myself fully resolved, fully arrived, somehow finished.  The story isn't over.

Not everything makes sense, not everything gets explained, not every story is inspiring and ready for Tony Campolo to tell it.  Talk about "inconvenient truth":  We're living in the in-between. 

I think about Eric, his mom, or a thousand other people I've known, and I feel like I'm lying upstairs, and someone just left the piano bench, right before the C chord.  

I'd walk down and play it, if I could.

Comments (47) -

9/19/2011 1:17:24 PM
Libby United States
Brant I read this on one of your previous blogs.  WOW!

It meant so much to me.  I felt like I was living for resolution on so many things.  I have learned to let the Lord resolve them in his way and in his time.

9/19/2011 1:56:10 PM
Shawn Gorman United States
Shawn Gorman
Wow, man, good stuff! You are able to give some incredible insights on life. You really make me think and look at life from a different perspective. The things you talk about hit home with me, because I have had to deal with some of those issues in my recovery. People don't understand unless they have been there, and felt that pain. It doesn't go away, we just find ways of dealing with it. Through Christ we are all forgiven, even me, and even you.
9/19/2011 2:53:02 PM
Carolyn United States
Brant, thanks for this. It's really encouraging to me right now. Blessings.
9/19/2011 3:08:45 PM
Gracie United States
So real. Although I'm so sorry you had to go through that, I'm really grateful you shared it.

God Bless You!
9/19/2011 3:15:50 PM
Not My Real Name Canada
Not My Real Name
I'm in the middle of a song. Lately the chords that are played are all out of time, and in brooding minors, specifically in my marriage. In fact this last Thursday (its now Monday) I just about hammered out the last chord and walked away from the piano.

But friends and family started playing their own songs to me. And encouraged me to try to finish this song. The chords are still brooding. They still have a minor rather then major tone. I'm still thinking the song ended a long time ago and I'm just poking at they keys playing the same chords over and over. But maybe there's more to this song. Maybe this "minor" key is just a movement in a masterpiece with a soaring, orchestral, triumphant end. I guess I won't know for a while. But I'll park myself at this piano once again... Play the chords that come to me... and see where the music (and life) takes me.

Thanks for sharing.
9/19/2011 3:24:02 PM
Marcene Ogburn United States
Marcene Ogburn
You know how when you get so down that you just feel like giving up. "I'm never gonna get it right." "I can't hear HIS voice." "I'm never gonna be as usable and victorious as my friend ******" "I'm so weary."
We'll, this was me when you came on the radio talking about unfinished people. I feel this way often but I have NEVER heard anyone else speak this way. I only hear of the powerful things God is doing and even though I seek Him all through the day, read my bible, go to church, and pray for the needs of others there are extreme fears and insecurities that I cannot seem to have victory over.
But . . .here's where the tears come, when I get so down and wonder if HE even really loves me . . .He does something . . .How could you (Brant)know to speak into this. This, that I never hear, and then I hear it right when I need it.
Our Father is amazing and loving beyond any words I can come up with. Thank you for being his vessel this afternoon.

9/19/2011 3:24:22 PM
Suzanne Hallford United States
Suzanne Hallford
I almost never coment on any blogs. In fact I haven't really read many spiritual/christian ones for quite a while. Actually I have thought about leaving some christian pages I follow because I become so grieved and embarrassed with all the hateful, vicious judging comments believers often make after a posting. I am tired of many of the glossy polished stories  - They are not all that inspiring to me when I know that it is not a complete reality. (I am really not as jaded as it sounds) I think non believers recognize this and see it as a facade, as dishonesty even hypocritical.  I think it is important to be more transparent and you did this very gracefully in your blog.  God Bless you! Keep up the good work! Smile
9/19/2011 3:42:13 PM
Raquel United States
I love this... it is the story of my life... just in different details.. Thanks for being a voice for those things in life that will never make sense or have resolve...
9/19/2011 3:43:13 PM
Mary United States
Bret, thanks so much for this. I hope you realize how much of a blessing you are. Even in this story, trying to do good and telling it also is a blessing to the ones who read it. I recently messed up, but I will continue to try to work for the Lord, because I know he will use even this last mess up in my testimony...and boy is it going to be a pretty good one!
9/19/2011 4:16:36 PM
Elianna United States
Wow!! It makes me remember some of the stuff I went through....your story encourage me so much right now!! Thanks for posting it!! Smile
9/19/2011 4:50:03 PM
Melody United States
Thank you. I heard you mention this blog on the air when I was driving from one place to another, and I immediately knew it was something I needed to read. I've been dealing with a situation this year that just continues unresolved. I get weary when I look at the seemingly unending difficult dynamic that I now face, and when I look around and see all these "resolved" stories, I start to wonder what is going on in my life, what I'm missing, that my story doesn't look like that. So thank you, for giving permission in a way, for validating the fact that my story is at least for the moment unresolved. Maybe one day it will be. Or maybe I won't see it resolve in this life. Either way, I'm still ok. I can still trust God's hand. I just need to continue seeking His face and pursuing Christ above all.
9/19/2011 5:44:24 PM
Andrew United States
thank you for being real...its--refreshing. there is so much pain in this life that doesnt make sense and doesnt seem to want to end.
if only more christians were honest about their struggles and failures--we could reach so many more people with the gospel. just by being "real".

thanks for sharing Smile
9/19/2011 5:57:57 PM
Holly Munn United States
Holly Munn
Brant~ I read your blog post and thought it was great. Then I clicked on the link to your testimony and was truly inspired! I didn't realize you were the same Brant from AirOne until I watched it. I was just telling my daughter the other day that I thought you were an awesome D.J. and I really like how you are fun and spontaneous.  You bring a really fresh and positive element to AirOne.  My 8 year old son has Asperger's Syndrome and I want you to know how much sharing your testimony means to me. He has his social struggles but I know that God has great plans for him.  Thank you for reminding me of this. May you continue to bless others through Christ. Smile
9/19/2011 6:03:28 PM
Ben United States
The way you told this story reminds me of so many things that have happened in my life and the friends I've lost because of the outside world not liking to way I motivate them. Or they just don't want to be motivated. You are great Brant and nothing needs to be explained ever, you just made me realize that. You are who you are because you ran threw all that fire and will still do it all over again for anyone.
9/19/2011 6:04:24 PM
Kelli United States
Amen. So refreshing to hear someone sharing w/o the glossy photo shop editing we so often put into our testimonies. It gives me hope for the Church today to hear stuff like this. God is amazing & so good but life isn't perfect. Come on now people. God Bless
9/19/2011 6:06:00 PM
Edith United States
My background stories are like yours as well. To this day I am a complete mess but here's the thing...God is using that mess in such a beautiful way. I recently became involved with a ministry called StreetLight. It is the first of it's kind and is in the infant stages. StreetLight works to wipe out child sex slavery in America. I went to a meeting the other night and one of the directors talked about how "messy" the work is. The reason? You have incredibly beautiful girls between the ages of 11 and 17 who have no idea what real love looks like. They cannot conceive how anyone can want them without something in return. They don't know how to respond at first and ALWAYS run away...always. But it is a part of them learning to accept the safety they are given. It's messy. It's hard. It's heartbreaking. And there is no end. But, God is so faithful and He is so willing to give Grace and open my eyes to show how my "unresolved issues" translate to a safe place for someone who cannot believe that I could possibly know where they are coming from in any way.
I loved your blog. I loved how it gave my own youth ministry meaning when I question constantly if I am making a difference. Sometimes it's just so hard to see. Thanks for sharing!
I'm not even sure if any of this made sense but I was very touched by your words and felt the need to reach out as well.
9/19/2011 6:07:42 PM
Rob L United States
Rob L
Excellent insight, I appreciate your perspective on this very important topic. Life truly is a journey not a destination! We all need to be reminded of this fact as we are inundated everyday by the media with "happy ever-after endings".
9/19/2011 6:07:49 PM
Teresa United States
Thank you for sharing I have been feeling so confused and so far away from the Lord looking at how unresolved things in my life are .. I to hear all the wonderful stories and think wow why isnt my life like that ..God bless you Brant
9/19/2011 6:25:58 PM
Christopher United States
Don't know if you'll ever read this but man does it resonate with me like nothing much ever has - aside from the Gospel... (Did I just "clean that up" too? Yeah...)  What about all of the chronically depressed people going thru life feeling like an unfinished puzzle, with pieces missing? I'm in no way as eloquent as you, but as I learned from your blog, I don't need to be.

I need a hug... God bless you my brother!
9/19/2011 6:34:06 PM
Donna United States
Thank you.
9/19/2011 6:56:34 PM
Dawn United States
This has always been my problem. For years I thought what is wrong with me that I don't have some amazing story, will I ever fit into the perfect little package most Christians portray.  The answer is NO. None of us will. We were not made to be perfect, just forgiven. And it is through acknowledging our imperfections and Christ's amazing Grace that we can help others find salvation. The alternative only pushes those who truly need us away.
9/19/2011 9:30:24 PM
Angie United States
I'm glad you shared this, Brant. I can relate to that story on so many levels; from childhood memories to just feeling like one of Jesus' unfinished, imperfect art projects. We all seek closure, especially when guilt is involved.

But your story more reminds me of the day when God will strike the final chord. The last tear will be shed, and a new and more wonderful story will begin. It reminds me that there is something to hope for even though we get knots in our stomachs.
9/20/2011 9:03:57 AM
Lori Henry United States
Lori Henry
Brant, thank you.  I heard you start to talk about it on the radio yesterday and had a passion to find out more.  After crying, it came to me that through loosing my teaching job, I am still in the middle of a melody.  The Lord is not here so my song is not done.  Nor do I know what the ending will be.  So I must wait upon Him and listen. It is not about me and if I like the way the song is going, it is what the Lord is doing in my life.

This also helped me realize I need to let go of having to know why.  God will reveal in his time and his way and let him finish the song, why am I rushing it.

Thank you again Brant!
9/20/2011 10:48:07 AM
brant United States
Here's a weird thing about writing:  A person kinda lays himself out there, and wonders if he even makes sense.

Then, I read comments like these, and I'm thinking, "Okay, I'm not even close to alone on this."  Thank you for the honesty.
9/20/2011 12:36:22 PM
Andrea United States
Thank you for sharing this!  Thank you for being "real" and honest.  Your story has brought light in the day-to-day darkness and struggles that I am facing and I know others are as well, because we are not alone in this battle.  We are all fumbling through life trying to make sense of our trials, tribulations, sorry and pain, and we may never know the answers.  But I do know, He will never leave us nor forsake us, and we will never walk alone!

Bless you and Thank you!
9/20/2011 1:16:48 PM
Brant, thank you so much for posting this. I love how honest and strait forward you are with your blog posts, and with what you say when your on air. You are one of the greatest people in the world to talk to about God, and christianity. Your an amazing christian guy and I'm hoping you plan to stay on Air1 for a very very long time. Your an awesome person to know, listen and talk to and I want you to know that!!


9/20/2011 3:50:15 PM
Deb United States
Brant,  I'm a person who almost always had closure in my stories. (Or so I thought until I started looking back.)  Over the last few years my stories have been left unresolved and it has been driving me crazy.  "I've got to have closure, I've got to do something to make this right . . . "  But I realize now that there isn't always closure in our stories.  God doesn't always tell us why He allowed something to happen.  "He gives and takes away, but my heart will choose to say 'Lord blessed be Your name!'"
9/20/2011 5:45:43 PM
Bill United States
Brant, I truly appreciate the grace and spirit that is expressed in your thoughts, voice, and writings.  Thank you for your convictions and the gentleness in which you convey them.  The world needs to know the real-Jesus and not the facade that us Christians try to wear so often.  Keep up the good work and may Christ continue to use you in encouraging / challenging His followers.
9/20/2011 8:22:43 PM
Nil United States
Bringing resolution in life or to life is to risk creating our own inadequate understanding to bear on something God never wanted to resolve. Not here, not now, maybe never. Trusting he is still in charge while we remain in control is key to sanity in this insane world. Not rational to the Western mindset, I know. But staying stuck on the unresolved is insane...life is messy 'cuz we are who we are...messy. "Jesus loves broken things." ~Bill Johnson
9/21/2011 7:45:55 AM
Lifeismessy United States
WOW! Brant this was the first blog I've read of yours and I was so impressed with the honesty!  No one likes to hear a story without a neat resolution.  But real life messy, unresolved!
I was a pastor for a while and have been to conferences that made me feel the same way.  I was a pastor and now I am not -- my life is so unresolved!   Thanks for telling it like it really is!
9/22/2011 9:31:14 AM
Dionna United States
First of all, I'm so sorry that you had to witness that as a kid and then feel the anger directed your way.

But what insight it has given you. And you are right. It is good to remember that our lives and stories are ever-changing and fluid.
9/22/2011 12:22:29 PM
From your picture, either I am a bit older than you or you are good with photoshop, so let me tell you that most of those "great" youth groups (or men's groups, or churches) have their own issues that never show up at a conference. I've only met one completely genuine Christian "superstar" and I take most cute stories with a grain of salt. I have more unresolved stories than otherwise, more witnessing events that I couldn't close, and more frustration than I will ever admit. Thankfully, I have a pastor who is very real (and very average, if anyone cares, but who encourages me to keep growing. The scripture doesn't show very many people who actually arrive, except Stephan and Paul before their deaths, and I take  comfort in that.
9/22/2011 2:19:00 PM
Tim S United States
Tim S
Hey Brant I don't get to hear you much anymore since you went to Air One(no stations where I can hear very easy) But this speaks so honestly to my heart and how I really feel about myself. Just this week I was listening to the song "Monster" and it struck me that I feel like a monster inside just ready to strike out at my wife or kids or a coworker and the moment I do is instant regret(maybe like Peter or this could just be an effort by me to make me not look so bad) I run around with a kind of an anquist inside, no peace!!!  Sometimes though it comes (peace that is) in little moments, not very long but very cherished.  I want more of those moments,  I wonder if we will ever have this side of our existence?  Thanks for honesty in it's muddiest form.
9/28/2011 9:26:56 PM
Kathleen United States
its so interesting that you would write something like this... over the past ten years of my life, i have been keeping a journal. i started when i was twelve and had named my journal after my best friend "because it would be as if i was talking to her". well eventually as i continued to grow in my relationship with Christ, i started writing the journals to him. i recently read one of the more recent ones that i wrote during an extremely difficult time in my life, and it was SO encouraging. on one day, all i could do was praise God and tell him how much i adored him, but the next journal entry would be on a particularly rough day, and  i would be so angry, pouring out my heart to him, perhaps even using  a cuss word or three.... its interesting, because my journals have taught me exactly what you were talking about. people tend to think if youre a christian, then you are perfect, you dont cuss, you dont smoke or drink, you dont get angry, basically that you should be perfect... i'm thinking about getting my journals published. they show the process of sanctification, that i wasnt suddenly perfect once Jesus saved me, but they show that just because im not perfect, that doesnt mean that i dont love Jesus or that he doesnt love me... and they show how FAITHFUL my God is. i am so not even close to being perfected in Christ,  but i am  so far from  where he found me!
10/3/2011 1:36:45 PM
Jo United Kingdom
Brant, I'm really glad I've found your writing again. I used to love Kamp Krusty back in the day. Smile Thanks for sharing your walk, you're a blessing to lots of people.
2/15/2013 6:52:03 PM
Grace Zolinski United States
Grace Zolinski
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7/2/2013 7:32:21 PM
Cindy United States
Brant, I so appreciate your willingness to share that you don't have it all together.  My husband and I had a major crisis a year ago and we are still recovering.  I have had so many people give me the spiritual pep talk--"God's going to do great things with y'all," "God will speak to you and make all of this clear."  I've read books about how, in their deepest time of crisis, God suddenly showed up for the author and filled them with an overwhelming sense of peace.
I'm so sick of those "cheery" super-Christian encouragements.  I'm still wondering if I will ever have a sense of peace again. Will God ever "speak" to me?  Is there an end to this trauma that has shattered my world?
I need to hear from folks who wonder, who don't have all the answers.  Thanks for being so open.
7/2/2013 7:43:25 PM
Delight Schubert United States
Delight Schubert
What an encouragement to read this. Thank you, Brant
7/4/2013 9:33:01 AM
k United States
“The Spirit of the Lord is with me.  He has anointed me to tell the Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to announce forgiveness to the prisoners of sin
and the restoring of sight to the blind,
to forgive those who have been shattered by sin,
to announce the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Jesus closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down.
Luke 4:14-26 God’s Word Translation (a widow in Sidon)

“Make Me Whole” Pawnshop Kings

Consider Sidon?

“Falls Apart” TFK

Jezbel’s hands and feet  
(2 Kings 9 and Jeremiah 2 God’s Word Translation)

“I gave her time to turn to me and change the way she thinks and acts”
“God in You” http://youtu.be/DJBAmADMdwI
Revelation 2:18-29 God’s Word Translation
Armageddon/Megeddo  (Revelation 16-17 God’s Word translation)

“Mountains of Israel”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i19gW0GfzCY

“Vineyards” www.biblegateway.com/.../

“I answered, “I see a branch of an almond tree.”  Then the Lord said to me, “Right. I am watching to make sure that my words come true.” Jeremiah 1
“Eye On It”   http://youtu.be/2pO16yMC19o

“She said, “You’re right, Lord. But even the dogs eat scraps that fall from their masters’ tables.”    www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2015:21-30&version=GW                                    A woman from Sidon turned to Jesus,so, while there is still time, . . .

“Eye on the prize”  Yeshua!
“His winnowing shovel is in his hand to clean up his threshing floor” Luke 3:15-17 and 2 Samuel 24 (God’s Word Translation)

Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father-  www.biblegateway.com/.../
7/6/2013 2:12:46 PM
k United States
So, this whole Jonah and the whale story keeps getting forced on me this week (I just got to listen to the “what rhymes with comet-“ lyric on Veggie Tales when all I wanted to hear was “God is a God of Second Chances” sung by the holy angels-but I digress . . .

In being committed to the Truth, I would submit as evidence that if you choose to read the whole bible, two books later, in the book of Nahum, (only three chapters) God describes himself as “El Kanna”,  or Consuming Fire, Jealous God as well as “Yahweh Tsebaoth” the Lord Almighty, the Lord of Armies, the Lord of Hosts.  Nahum orates God’s view of the fall of Ninevah, Assyria in 612 BC.  He had already had a revival in the land (even with Jonah’s reluctance) but after awhile the people turned back to violence and other gods.  Although He wanted compassion and mercy, the people rejected His miraculous plan to save them and because He is a just and faithful God, He protected the rest of mankind from them.  His Word does not return void, we just need to trust Him that He will resolve this with His beautiful Kingdom of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness and self-control in Christ Jesus.  Hallelujah-Praise Yah!

El Kanna, beloved,  I’m listening . . .
Rev. 3:14-22 God’s Word

"Love is as overpowering as death.
    Devotion is as unyielding as the grave.
    Love’s flames are flames of fire,
        flames that come from the LORD.
7             Raging water cannot extinguish love,
              and rivers will never wash it away."
7/7/2013 5:40:23 AM
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7/8/2013 1:48:09 PM
Whitney Netherlands
You are so amazing Brant.  I am so happy we found Air1 because you continue to inspire me and make me see life a little differently.  I just read this out loud to my husband, Jim.  There is not much one can say, just so utterly humbling to hear.  We listen to you at night now since we have moved to the Netherlands.  God Bless you and may he continue to have you speak out with your real life experiences.  We love you!
7/8/2013 4:55:59 PM
Gail Foster United States
Gail Foster
I enjoyed  reading this story...you need to put it all in a book, this story was heartbreaking and interesting to read. I loved the way you  started about the chords and ended with the similarities of the beginning...thanks Smile
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Matt 7:11 United States
Matt 7:11
"For the Father Himself [tenderly] loves you because you have loved Me and have believed that I came out from the Father" - Jesus Christ
John 16:27 Amplified  www.biblegateway.com/.../

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