While my heart belongs to Linkin Park and 30 Seconds to Mars, this week the universe offered up the amazing music and the story of “The Afters.”
According to their website (linked above) this talented group came together amidst some of life’s hardest moments. I love music that is borne of my familiar state. Climbing out of the depth of sadness encourages us when we do it together, and “Light Up the Sky” is currently in the hallowed third slot on my iPod writing track. Before that? 30STM “Echelon/Closer to the Edge/ Kings and Queens” this week. So what about these people listed them among my favorite songs? Great music aside, it’s the story.
A clean slate. A fresh start. A renewed perspective. These are all things The Afters are thankful for.
After losing their longtime friend and manager to a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer, two band members deciding to part ways, a nearly life-threatening car wreck and a new member losing a close friend one week after joining the band, The Afters have never been more grateful for new seasons. And this season’s a good one.
Holding on to their faith and their passion for making music, the new line-up—including founding members Josh Havens (lead vocals/keys/guitars) and Matt Fuqua (vocals/guitars), along with new members Dan Ostebo (bass) and Jordan Mohilowski (drums)—headed into the studio to craft Light Up the Sky (INO), the most accessible album of the band’s career.
“The story behind Light Up the Sky is a part of the story of all of us,” says Fuqua. “[It’s] a picture of what it looks like when you make it through [a] really challenging time, and you look back and see how God was using all of those things for good and that you were never alone.”
“The story behind Light Up the Sky is a part of the story of all of us,” says Fuqua. “[It’s] a picture of what it looks like when you make it through [a] really challenging time, and you look back and see how God was using all of those things for good and that you were never alone.” (credit: http:// www.theafters.com)
I understand the idea of letting go and having faith that the path you’re on is the right one for you. Having lost love, child, church and trust in most everything, I find redemption in the music of The Afters in my reconstructed state. The truth of my letting go of church and all that goes with it often precludes me from listening to Christian groups that remind my of my own fall from grace. I know they’re meant to help, but honestly the images that I am left with remind me that the most “faithful” acting person who once graced my life actually ended my desire to be part of the Christian world forever. Instead, I “follow the way” and love without censure.
The Afters remind me of the girl that I was before Seminary, the one without all the technical knowledge and a greater level of trust. It takes me back to my beginning work in Chaplaincy, letting all the other memories fade into nothingness. I forget that which shattered my heart in favor of restored faith, choosing life and that more abundant. So, here I am three weeks from holding my new novel, half way through my new Counseling masters degree, still working with the people of the world I encounter with recently diagnosed terminal and life altered illnesses. Somewhere in all these broken people, I’ve heard God. In the music and the story of The Afters, the Divine presence seated itself next to me and started to redeem the time.
I listened to this song perhaps a thousand times over the past three months, until it’s become a comfortable dialogue between my faith and I. Where it took one person to seriously damage my faith, self esteem and understanding of life, it was my husband Brian that rescued me from my “Oceans Wide.”
Finally, this song speaks to me on so many levels. I hope that in the “Afters,” the Divine reaches out and speaks to you. Remember…no one makes us what we are. We chose. You are beautiful, unique and precious. If loneliness, pain or heartbreak haunts you today, find joy in the hope of love…the eternal kind that will stay with your soul forever.