THROUGH

We must go Through it.    

For reasons we do not know.

 

Through enemy lines, to victory

Through ignorance, to sympathy

Through depression, to empathy

Through confusion, to wisdom

Through pointless repetition, 

Through ruthless competition

to mastery, to beauty, to fulfill our promise, our duty

Through sacrifice, to save

To life, Through grave

To rescue, Through fire

To grasp, though Through barbed wire

To realize we were not alone

Through the storm, to get home.

Through labor, now to birth

to learn of our faith’s worth

Through fear, and now we know its voice

has little power against our choice

to trust in He, who is strong

and woven in us like a song,

with it’s melody holding true

though in the storm, we pass Through

we used to flee! We used to run!…

but now we cross Through, and behold… The sun!

 

Christ went Through it, and was condemned

to walk Through torture at the hands of men

Through the city gates, down and then

Through the hours on the cross, 

into the hands of death, and the loss

of the Father’s love, and down to hell

but Through it he crossed, and in hand he held

keys to give to you and me, 

chains now fall, cells emptied!!

 

And still, He understands better than I ever knew,

the nature of this tempest that I journey Through.

And that at times, it’s all I can do

to believe, indeed, “Always, I’m with you.”

 

Bread in hand, Cup in the other

Evidence that we have a Brother

From this day, forever true,

Who went Through it, to go Through it…

 

With you.

Keeton CoffmanComment
GRAVITY

Gravity - not the mountain - is the climber’s opponent. The never sleeping constant that refuses to allow the climber a single inch of effortless progress.  It never tires.  It never rests.  It never quits.

And yet, climbers return to the mountain.  

But why? The view? The challenge? The thin mountain air?

My theory is this: Climbers climb. 

It is their irreducible minimum - if you don’t climb, you are not a climber.  Climbers climb.  

It is their constant.  It is their identity.  It is not the height of their climb, nor the length, nor the difficulty that makes them climbers.  It is the factthat they climb, that makes them climbers.

Now, the other constant: Gravity.

Gravity is the opponent.  Not Failure - it is a teacher.  Not Limits - they are boundaries, daring us to break them. Not Pain - it is a harsh, but honest friend, another teacher... reminding us we are mortal.

But Gravity… Gravity is the opponent.

And though it does not sleep, or tire, or quit... it is in fact powerless.

Here’s why: it can slow the climber.  It can exhaust the climber.  It can even pull the climber off the mountain, laying her out flat on her back, wounded, broken and begging for breath. 

But only the climber can decide to stop climbing.  Only the climber can walk away.  Only the climber can decide, “I no longer climb." 

Only the climber, not Gravity, can forfeit his Identity. 

Climbers climb. 

And, Gravity reminds us that we are climbing.  When we feel It's pull, we know we are headed upward.  Please believe me.

The noise in your head...the self-created voices of your silent critics...the social or professional backlash of your brave stand...the circumstantial repercussions of your faithful walk... the fear that wakes you...the worries that won't let you sleep... that which pulls on you relentlessly.... Is your reminder:  You are climbing. 

Gravity goes down.  Climbers go up.  They will always exist in opposition.

And as your desire to climb grows, so does the pull of Gravity.

Don't believe me?... ask The Climbers.

And now, as we face the Gravity of our day, the Gravity of our calling, and the Gravity of our Identity... As we face the climb ahead... a blessing:

May we link arms today as we move into the fray, into confusion, into the feelings of insecurity, out of mediocrity, out of ineffectiveness, away from wasted time, wasted talent, wasted resources. Through the sickness, through the weakness, through the depression and pain.  Past the chains of bitterness and hatred that tether us to the ground.  Shaking off the habits that own us, the hang ups that haunt us, the heartache that holds us captive.  Away from the doubt that leaves eyes darkened and hearts hardened.  And with the Faith that grants us the strength to reach up and take hold of The Hand that reaches down to take hold of ours... pulling us higher.... and higher... And Higher...

Against Gravity.

This song is for us.  Climb on.

On a mission, 
Keeton

PS - Thanks Marc.

Keeton CoffmanComment
BEAUTY IS REAL

Hi from Colorado!!  I’m visiting the family here in Eagle CO and I’m looking at some rather breathtaking mountains as I write this.  I feel small ... and it feels awesome.

I’d like to talk about Beauty this morning.

We dance with nature in a fascinating manner.  It’s beautiful.  Here’s what makes me pause today:

Our surroundings, our environment, our everyday ... nature... creation... whatever... It also speaks Beauty into our souls.  It is not simply matter and molecular make up that surrounds us.  It is Beauty.

Mountains are Beautiful.  Sunsets are Beautiful.  Snowfall is Beautiful.  My wife and children are Beautiful.  And the intricacies with which they are composed are Beautiful in and of themselves.

That which surrounds us inarguably has a dual purpose - the first is function (air, water, heat, it works)... but then the second is Beauty.  Yes... yes... but why? How? Can someone explain this to me?! How do these mountains show me what Beauty is... and shine it in simple, marvelous glory right in to the middle of my soul.

Like a gift.  Like a kiss.

Does that seem strange to you?   Does it make you feel like you belong here?  Does it make you wonder if that Beauty has a Source?  It does for me.

Do the stars speak to you at night?  Does the ocean remind you of a roaring monster, held at bay by an unending shore?  Are you like me... and these mountains feel like guardian giants - ones that call forth my dreams this morning - the dreams that require faith simply to dare to imagine them. To speak them out loud in to existence.  Giant dreams.  Mountain moving dreams.

That which surrounds me here feels as though it rises up to meet me, and to remind me - Beauty is real.  And in my heart, Beauty whispers - “You are noticed.  You belong here. There is purpose and harmony and melody to what you are... And Beauty.”

This crazy way of thinking led me to write a song called The Tribe.  I included the lyrics below, which I hope you’ll read as well - they mean a great deal to me - and with that... have a Beautiful day.

On a mission,

Keeton

THE TRIBE  // LYRICS

We dance in the wheat fields in the night 

by the Blackstone Lake under moonlight

we dance by the fire as it speaks

we dance for the strong and for the weak

Come up with me now, come up with me now, come up with me now...

we dance in the street lights under rain

by the Bay Ridge River train

we dance for the ghosts in the summer sun

we are mighty, we are one

Come up with me now, come up with me now, come up with me now...

at the edge of the ocean as it breathes

heavily like a monster as it sleeps

silent and still in the twilight

we sing our songs at the sunrise

and race through the trees as the day warms

chased by the warmth of the summer storms

we are the daughters and the sons

we are the daughters and the sons

Come up with me now, come up with me now, come up with me now...

Keeton CoffmanComment
MUSIC IS A MYSTERY

Hello from Lubbock TX.

Heading west this weekend along with friends in Josh Grider’s band, and happy that I’m getting to open for such a great singer and friend.  Traveling today, I couldn’t help but think how strange music is.  My thoughts starting to drift and wonder, “What is it really for?”

It doesn’t take away hunger.  

It doesn’t build anything.

It doesn’t always make sense and it doesn’t solve problems.  Why does it matter?

Sometimes the best music doesn’t even make us happy.  Sometimes I listen to music because it makes me sad.

How did something so transient become so important to the human race?  So important to me?

How do random frequencies played by random materials sung by strangers reveal to me something about myself?

How does it help me travel through time to when I was a freshman in high school?

How does it remind me what it felt like the first time I kissed Sarah?

The answer:  It shouldn’t.  

And this is a mystery, because you and I both know - it does.  And strangely, it holds this power over us when we least expect it, in places we don’t know it will find us, even in our memories as melodies reemerge like a Ghost’s whisper, like a lullaby, like an echo in our soul.

Like every time I hear ‘Racing In The Streets’ by Springsteen. Or when I sing ‘The Tribe’ on stage.

It leads me to believe that none of us are merely flesh and bone.  We have a soul.  Maybe that word scares you… pretend for a minute, that it doesn’t.  Or name it what you like.  But music is the language of this soul, this Self.  And the funny thing is, we need music to help us hear it’s Voice.  Because on our own - full of worries, and stress, and anger, and exhaustion - we can’t hear what we need to hear the most.  Even when we concentrate and we try.  It’s frustrating to me.

I can’t make the thoughts stop.  I can’t make the worries cease.  I can’t calm the seas… the waves tumble over me.  Again. And Again.  They tumble… over me.

And then I hear that opening line on the piano… and I breathe. And I breathe out.

And that’s why we need music.  It speaks to us, but IT is not of us.  Now the question we must each ask ourselves is this… 

Why is that so?

I look forward to writing to you again.  And I hope to see you on the road soon.

On a mission,

Keeton