Peace Love and Theft

and the greatest of these is Love.

Ten days ago, my friend Chad Barth announced the lineup for 7th Annual Concert for Epilepsy. On New Year’s Eve, country artists Craig Morgan and Love and Theft will perform at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.  Ten months ago was probably my worst New Year’s Eve. Ever. In two months, I could have a much better start to the year.

I have had epilepsy for 29 years as of last month, and if my father had not committed suicide nine years ago, I might have never talked about having epilepsy. Having epilepsy was a bigger secret than my father shooting himself and mismanaging my grandmother’s finances. I am still pretty awkward when discussing either topic, because there are not many role models. This leads to another scary realization — I am a role model. I wish there were many more people applying for the job, but in the valley of the problems that look like a nail… I am one of the few people who have a hammer. Hammer on.

 (bryan farley)

I photographed Love And Theft in May 2010 in Mountain View, California. (bryan farley)

If you have ever been woken from a dream by a phone call, you can begin to understand the disorientation of a person having a seizure. You are dreaming. The phone rings. You are startled and you answer the phone. “Were you sleeping?” What happens next? Do you lie or is it more complicated?

Seizures are much worse than dreams interrupted. Seizures are experienced as public betrayal, failure and heartache.

Perhaps because I have epilepsy I do not trust details. Yet, I have a great deal of faith. (I think I have religious dyslexia.)  I live in the space between an abundance of Faith and a complete Lack of Trust. I do not believe that anyone is real on the internet, however, I believe that God has put everyone (and everything) in my life for a reason. And I have a hammer.

For me, Faith is Not in the details. Even when God is my DJ, Faith is in the big picture, which explains why the concert’s symbolism is so important. Rev. Anne Howard explains it well in this week’s blog post for the Beatitudes Society called Crazy Love.

“We live out our love for God, we answer God’s love for us, God’s profligate, abundant, crazy love, in our love for one another. And love in the public realm is justice.”

Chad started the concert as a small event several years ago to honor his sister. Watching him demonstrate his love for his family publicly is a form of justice. Knowing that I can love and be loved in a public setting is … well, it is heart breaking. In a good way. Perhaps my “heart will break right open” the way that Zaccheus’ heart broke.  In the last year, my heart has broken many times. Not always in a good way. Sometimes very publicly and … I could have been myself for Halloween. That bad.

 (bryan farley)

Photographed at Shoreline Amphitheatre in May 2010

I believe in religion as a metaphor. Sometimes I believe in religion too. This week when I was reading Nora Gallagher’s book, Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic, I was reminded of the Episcopal liturgy that applies as a useful metaphor, even for non-believers.

“Almighty God, unto whom all hearts all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid.” No matter the language or metaphor. My kids speak Spanish, but the secrets still translate. I use imagery; I listen to music. The metaphor still translates… even when the language is love. Perhaps especially when the language is love.

The Concert for Epilepsy is more than music. Sure, we dance, we sign, we … sometimes the third item is unimportant. It is better to be loved than be lucky.


One Response to “Peace Love and Theft”

  1. Karen Clark says:

    This blog post is one of your best, Bryan. It makes me cry for all the right reasons. It is haunting, vulnerable and beautiful on every level. So glad you share such a beautiful window to your soul.

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