Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Escape From Wonderland: Punk Grace

Photo taken by waterdawg

Friend knew a little about my life in Wonderland. Her intent was for me to simply have fun. One February holiday I spent the night at her house then she revealed her plan.

Her boyfriend had a friend who had horses. Friend knew how much I loved horses and arranged for us to go horseback riding. Friend assured me this was NOT a date. I didn’t even know the guy and he defiantly didn’t like me. Anyway; she had a plan to keep me safe from trouble in Wonderland.

So, not wanting to disappoint my friend or having to explain why I was home early to Wonderland; I went along.

Her boyfriend and friend picked us up after breakfast.

We were simply friends.
Riding horses.
Then having lunch.

My heart found bliss with the horses. The morning adventure complete, we stopped for a simple lunch of pizza was seasoned with laughter. All piled into her boyfriend’s car they decided to drive me home.

That is when everything fell apart.

The Parentals were in the front yard. I ran into the house to keep them all safe. Before my mouth even opened, the verdict:

It was a date.
I was in rebellion.
It was as bad to God as the sin of witchcraft.

The yelling and screaming became phone calls to validate their verdict. I was put into the car and driven over to Friend’s house to “confront” her Mom. I felt ashamed. My poor friend who tried to create a safe place for me to have fun watched it blow up in her face. I sat in her living room with a bruised cheek as a Parental’s voice railed on about lies, rebellion and inappropriate behavior.

My eyes barely lifted from the carpet.

Then the real discipline happened. I was grounded until the end of the school year-four months. No phone, friends, television and only church activities they approved of.

Within the church’s youth group-The Garden-were subgroups called Seeds Groups. For two years I participated in West Seeds. The group filled with upper middle class popular kids. Part of my punishment was to be sent to the newly formed South Seeds.

With a broken will, I moved to that group. Richard-the Seeds Pastor-led the small rag tag group on the furthest corner of the church campus, away from the youth building.

Then I saw grace.
Photo taken by marce

Richard welcomed everyone. Most of the people in the group were high school dropouts, or at least in the continuation high school. Those Punks-with army surplus combat boots, mohawks, safety pins pierced through parts of their bodies-talked about the Dead Boys, Sex Pistols, Agent Orange and others. I sat and listened as they explained what the music meant to them. Richard simply loved them. He never asked them to wear something different to church. He laughed with them and through his example I saw Jesus.

We all gathered and sang worship songs. Paul, still to this day my favorite guitar player, led worship. He taught me to sing, listening between the notes to find the harmony. It didn't matter if the not was not perfect; dissonance could always be resolved.

We studied the Word and struggled to figure out how to apply it in our lives. In that Seeds group of Misfits I began to feel normal. I wasn't the only one living in a Wonderland.

There was a way of hope.
A way of peace.
A way of escape.

In our own CBGB we found hope and purpose. Our own Hilly opened a way of purpose and redemption. Those Punks taught me what grace looks like.

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