Inspired By Holy Branches

I’ve been listening to Radical Face’s new release Holy Branches.  Their new album The Family Tree: The Branches which is part two of their album trilogy is due to be released in the US the 22nd of October and on the 4th of November everywhere else.  As always, I find Holy Branches a bit on the esoteric side but that is never a bad thing in my book!  Both melody and lyrics are hauntingly beautiful.  The first stanza feels very much like my childhood memory.

When you were young
you’d bite your tongue
calm, always did what you were told
never ran your mouth
lived life on tiptoes
only felt peace if by yourself
where mistakes don’t count
there’s a hole in your chest
from the time that you was born
one that don’t get filled
Cause you’ve always known
you’re nothing they want

The hole in my chest has different significances to how I felt and what I didn’t know I needed.  On the one hand I knew I didn’t fit in anywhere; not in my family or amongst my peers.  Fearfully living life on tiptoe while alone in my room I clung to my self-identity.  The whole in my chest  both afflicted me and called to me and did finally get filled on a day in 1984 when I finally understood that God had always been there for me, will always be there for me and love me and has been guiding me ever so gently all along.

It was as if I had been born with a blindfold of gossamer.  Partly blind, my heart reached out and propelled me forward while my fingertips lightly rested on His but never knowing they did and He guided me through darkness and precarious road I was on onto the softness and safety of new grass where finally the blindfold gently fluttered down and I was basked in warmth and sunshine and knew His love.  That hole became filled at last with a love that was not my own because it surpassed all love I had ever known or felt or understood love could be.  That love gave me courage.  I sometimes think that back then if someone had threatened me with violence, I would have responded to them in love.  That love overwhelmed me was an understatement.  I floated rather than walked.  Spirit took the driver’s seat while humanness took the back.    Eventually, part of me came down to earth and human and spirit became co-pilots.

and now I live alone
work in the belly of machines
wring my soot black hands
and I don’t sleep much
days don’t feel different from the nights
with no goals in mind
there’s a hole in my chest
from the time the time I walked away
one I fill with sweat
’cause now I know
I’m nothing they want

Many changes took place over the years.  I lived my life with God and then got side tracked and led astray by those who meant well but taught legalism was akin to godliness.  While I floundered and still held on to God I was led astray again and drifted further away but did not understand where the distance came from. I could see the shore and the sun on the horizon but could not reach it by own strength because it wasn’t my own strength that was needed.  I had only to allow the gentle current of God’s love to bring me home again.

Like the second stanza of Holy Branches, as an adult I worked in the belly of machines.  Sleep was often shortened and goals became adrift and a hole appeared in my chest again which I filled with the sweat of my labours and the remorse of my mistakes in life.  Yet still God patiently called me back and though I stubbornly held on to self-persecution, God never gave up on me until I believed He forgave me all my wrongs and still calls me His dear child, filling the hole in my heart once more.

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