My life feels pretty lost right now. The days are slipping past, bringing with them no signs for our next direction. We don’t have a map and our GPS is busted. Caleb keeps trying new roads, but they end or send us in circles. I wake up every morning and read my Bible, painfully reminded that even the Israelites knew why they were in the wilderness and how long they would stay there. We have to know what we’re doing by July 4. Nine days. By now it’s highly unlikely Caleb will receive an e-mail about an interview for a job with a salary rather than wages. We’ll be spending Independence Day staring at a bleak future where I exist to sell chicken and get yelled at by customers or we move in with my in-laws.
My personal Fourth of July tradition is to listen the soundtrack for the musical 1776, about the creation of the Declaration of Independence. It’s the show that always helped me answer the bonus questions in American History classes. (What were the names of the members of the Declaration committee? Easy, if you know the lyrics to “But, Mr. Adams“.) It’s the show that gives me instant, funny, singable greetings to anyone named John. (“Sit down, John! Sit down, John! For God’s sake, John sit down!” or “John, John, is that you carrying on? John?”) It’s also full of awesome, witty humor. (“What’s so wrong with being called an Englishman? The English don’t seem to mind.” “Nor would I, were I given the full rights of an Englishman. But to call me one without those rights is like calling an ox a bull. He’s thankful for the honor, but he’d much rather have restored what’s rightfully his.”)
Most of the musical centers around meetings of the Second Continental Congress. We meet the delegates, learn their personalities, their friendships, and what they care about. Throughout the show, Congress receives letters from George Washington, giving reports on the army and frequently asking for more supplies. Congress is too locked in debate to answer him. Near the end of the show, there’s a disagreement about an aspect of the Declaration of Independence. The delegates storm out. A new message from George Washington comes to the nearly empty room. It says, “Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does anybody see what I see?”
I’ve spent the past few months asking for a direction. Caleb needs a job. We need a place to live. I’d like to work somewhere where I don’t come home angry most days. I’d like to feel like we matter. Like it’s not actually true that we can’t do anything important with our lives until we’re old enough. I’m tired of asking for supplies and not getting any answers. I’ve been shouting Washington’s letter over and over and not getting any replies.
John Adams stands alone re-reading the letter. To him, the letter is a reminder of his own commitment to the cause of Independence. He sees beyond the current issues to his dream of the future. It’s the last song in the show, and it’s celebration of ideals.
I wish I could sing, “For I have crossed the Rubicon / Let the bridge be burned behind me / Come what may, come what may / Commitment!” But I’m not even sure who I am anymore. I’ve gotten so turned around that I’m not even sure of our destination. I started this blog out of my ideals. I wanted to write and think and dream in the long line of writers who lived on nothing in order to do what they loved. Living on nothing only works if the ideals are feeding your soul. Calvin gave me enough bread to get to cliff day, but my cupboards have been bare for a while.
Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does anybody see what I see?