Refugee

There are songs you get stuck in your head, and songs you get stuck in your heart. Some Sundays ago, our worship leader shared a new song with us called Refugee that he had written. I could only remember the chorus, but it became my new anthem.

“This won’t last forever,
This won’t last forever,
I promise, I promise.
The storm will soon be over,
The storm will soon be over,
I promise, I promise…”

I shared it with my son, who my mother has kept away from me for over a year now. One day, I’ll share the story with you about why he’s gone, but right now all that matters is he’s not home where he belongs. And left up to my mom, he’ll never come home.

He used to sing so much, and he really got good. I was impressed. It broke my heart when I got to see him and when I asked if he still sang, he would say no. So I don’t get to hear him sing anymore. All I have is old videos and recordings, and a prayer that God will give him his voice back. But one day right after hearing Refugee, I sang it to him. He didn’t seem to pay much mind to me, and just went on.

A few days later, I was picking up someone’s shift at work. I was bagging food, something I never did, and was working alongside three new people. Everything I did was a joke, and I messed up everyone else. Normal people go on with their lives, but I’m not normal. I keep replaying that night over and over in my mind. And I hear the song.

“This won’t last forever,
This won’t last forever,
I promise, I promise…”

Several mornings, I’ve found myself dragging my feet just to get up and get myself going. I hit snooze a lot… I love my job and, really, I have a good life. My problem is just being so tired. When I get to the end of this, will it have been worth it? Is my son coming home? Will I ever figure out what I’m doing at work? Is this boyfriend going to realize he can do better? What will I do if I eventually have to realize that it was all a waste? And then I hear it…

“This won’t last forever,
This won’t last forever,
I promise, I promise…”

I have so many song ideas right now, it’s pitiful. Because if I’m allowed to say it, they’re all brilliant ideas. Some of the parts I’ve written are awesome. But parts are all I have. And when I try to play and sing, I realize I’m really not that good. I do okay, but just “okay” enough that I can share what I’ve written. I have no right to take a Bethel song and try to sing it. To hear myself is to crush myself. My guitar is falling apart, I’ve played it so much, and for what? I haven’t gotten any better.

“This won’t last forever,
This won’t last forever,
I promise, I promise…”

Last time I saw Gabriel, I was trying to get him to go to sleep. He was trying to get me to stay. I had to say goodbye to him again, and every time I do, I fear it’ll be the last time before my mom decides to bar me from all contact for another six months. He even hid my shoes so I couldn’t leave. When I told him I found my shoes, he cried. I said, “I am doing everything I can to bring you home, monkey.”

He grabbed my face with his hands like he hasn’t done since he was very little. I’ve fared pretty well to have my whole world ripped away, but if I had any sort of melting point, it was when he grabbed my face and sang to me:

“This won’t last forever,
This won’t last forever,
I promise, I promise…”

Since he was snatched from my world, I’ve died a million deaths. In that one moment, my heart was brutally crushed and shattered, and then made whole again, all in a way only the Lord could do.

That song goes on to say, “I know that you can’t see it, I know that you can’t see it, but I can, I can.” And nothing else from here to the heavens can comfort or assure us quite like knowing God is for us, and knowing that He’s writing an incredible ending to our stories. For now, just brace yourself on His goodness and faithfulness. Know that wherever you are in your own story, it won’t last forever.

I promise.

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