Thursday, January 14, 2010

Can't Keep Runnin' Away

I went to a catholic school for Jr. and Sr. High. It was pretty liberal as catholic schools go but we did have religion as a subject, and in sixth grade my teacher was Sister Noreen.

Sister Noreen and I had a love hate relationship. I hated homework and she hated laziness. I was ok with a B and she demanded an A because she knew I was capable of it. Once a quarter she used to call my mom to rat me out on my substandard homework completion rate.


Too bad she was snitchin’ to one of the two folk who encourage such irreprehensible activity: Johnny Law and Mom.

Again, I digress.

Every class we had about five minutes of quiet prayer time during which a student would bring in a song that meant something to them. We had to type out the lyrics, pass them out, and talk to the class about why the song was special to us and why it was good for prayer.

I was super excited for this. Being the smart ass kid that I was, not to mention a serious lover of rap music, I brought in Runnin' by Pharcyde.

For the uninitiated... Please enjoy...

It was perfect… it was a rap song that I loved and it actually had a message. I just knew that she would seethe with anger but be unable to do anything about it.


I gleefully taped it off of 92.3 The Beat and pressed play and rewind on the tape deck enough times to make sure that I had all of the words right. And then the magical day of revenge came.

She called me up to the front to explain my song. I explained it, about how it was about not running away and facing your fears. And then I put the tape in and looked at her, waiting to see the look on her face when she heard this godforsaken rap music come out of her radio for the next four minutes and change.

But no. She actually liked it. No, she seemed to love it. I think I even got a good grade on the assignment. So disappointing…

It wasn’t until I listened to that song later as an adult that I truly grasped the power of the message. Just like in the story of Jacob that we’ve been reading, I know that there are things in life that I have run from. Jacob got himself into trouble with Esau and then he ran away to Laban. With Laban he lost 20 years to hard labor and trickery and eventually ran from him. With nowhere else to run, he was forced to man up and go back home, face his brother, and repent for all that he had done.

On that path toward humility he wrestled with God. And after wrestling through the night he received a new name and emerged spiritually stronger.

I have definitely experienced this too. I have run from things to my own detriment and it took God keeping it real with me to get me to turn and face the problem. The interesting part is how when we finally get that courage to face our problems, we quickly start to gain the faith that we need to overcome whatever it was. And then everything falls into place. The angry Esau’s in our lives melt away into the loving and welcoming brother that Jacob encountered upon his return.

Life becomes easier when we face our fears.

Perhaps this is why Sister Noreen was so pleased with the song I brought. Perhaps she saw the story of Jacob in the words of The Pharcyde.

I didn’t see the message until years later but I’m glad that I did. I’m sure she’d be happy to know that after all of these years, she still had a lesson or two left to teach me.

Thank you Sister Noreen.

1 comment:

  1. Classic Hip Hop record.
    Yeah man we have to face our fears. I think that's also what faith in God is about, fearlessness.
    Many people are afraid to accept failure. And some even run away becuase they fear greatness. So many things.
    I definitely try to strive to face mine as much as possible. Can't act like I haven't run, but that's what makes us human.
    Great post.


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