Youth in the Suburbs: Children of the Shadows

We were night urchins in those days.  Pariahs of the night.  It was the suburban kid culture.  We weren’t kids anymore though.  And we didn’t know how to be adults, nor did we care to. The night was our love affair. We invested our time and efforts in the exploration of darkness.

We messed with our minds because it felt good not to care.  It was surely a mysterious affair.  The sense of something being essentially wrong seemed to fill every moment.  Everyday it seemed as if an air of foreboding filled our lives.  It wasn’t simply an internal sense of darkness, but it was also external.

There were the nights we stared up into the skies, searching the stars, wondering at these mysteries.  There were nights we’d walk between the street lights, on endless wooded roads.  And we searched for something we could never find.

We didn’t care about anything.  We just wanted to be left alone to wander the streets at night and sleep through the days.  We wanted to feel the vibrations of the Earth and explore the shadows within ourselves.

There is an aching of the soul, as it searches for meaning in a confusing world.  There is a glory in the windswept trees and hedge bushes, as we walk along the eau claire river.

There is a disquieting incertitude about the air, in the failing light, as we lift back bottles of strong drink and inhale smoke.  Something sinister seems to be afoot, yet it can’t be tracked. It’s shadow and terrible work seems obvious.  And it’s as if we had missed something critical about the world around us.  We wonder, vaguely, as if we are missing something.  And we ponder at the glorious beauty and the covariant darkness that meshes with the beauty of nature, considering that it seems to indicate something terrible has happened.

It is a disconnected prescient horror, mixed with joy, that makes us think that something has gone terribly wrong in paradise.  And we are the children of that affair.  The picture is broken.  We can only see it dimly.  Yet it seems clear something has gone wrong.  And we can’t summon enough will to care, only to notice and continue at our rapturous self destructive luxuries.

I listened to eerie techno music, Boards of Canada, Do Make Say Think, Explosions in the Sky, and Sleep Party People.  I walked the streets every night, for several hours.  Sometimes my friend Kyle would join me.  Other times we’d have a gaggle of folks jaunting with us through the night, climbing rocks up on granite peak, or I’d pick up Laura and we’d walk about the hills beyond the tech.  Then we’d find that corner halfway up mosinee hill, and sit in the middle of the road around 1 am and stare up at the moon.

We were so curious.  And quite drugged up.  We sensed our desire for something greater.  Yet the shadows within seemed to crowd it out.

I imagine the suburbs across the entire country are quite the same.  House parties, midnight jaunts, jam sessions, night walks, deep conversations, drugged up talks, chattering teeth, jaws clenched tight, good times, salt beers, thc resin hits, and all the rest.  The children of modernity.  The children of the suburbs.  The children of materialism.  The children of confusion.  The children of darkness, and shadow.

Suppose a divine being of infinite power developed, and painted, and meticulously planned a great enterprise of adventure.  This divine being would apply two insanely dangerous variables to the equation.  He would add a part of himself, a divine spark to each of the beings he created.  Second, and necessarily flowing from the first, he would plot the mind of the being and the environment of the architecture with the incredible gift of choice.  This would be a seemingly scandalous and highly dangerous situation.  Yet it would allow for all sorts of wonderful possibilities.

This experiment begins with the creation of a perfect state of reality.  A perfect planet is crafted, with nature, animals, and humans.  Yet something terrible happens.  The divine beings, carrying the divine spark decide to make a choice that leads them away from the divine being, and into a state of darkness.

They walk away from perfection and the good.  They take up residence in a place of darkness within.  So the divine being is faced with a dilemma.  Does he allow his creation to descend into total darkness?  Or is there another option?

Essentially God divides the creation, he allows it to collapse, not 100% but about 50%.  The nature is still beautiful, yet it is unstable.  There is still warmth, yet seasons of cold and winter come.  There is still food to eat, but it becomes more sparse.  There are still beautiful animals, but many become dangerous and hostile to humans.  The Earth and reality itself takes on a form of fallenness.  Humans now sleep at night, a night that never had existed before.  Humans now find themselves inverted in their desires.  Instead of loving God first, they loves themselves first.  Instead of caring for others first, selfishness becomes prominent.  Instead of contentment, fear and foreboding take priority.

Thousands of years pass in this state.  Humanity grows and progresses in technology.  Wars rage, and genocides occur. The human race eliminates as many records as they can of this fall their ancestors went through.  Self-based religions take over.  Materialism takes over.  Technologies grow and flourish.  And pretty soon the modern generation takes hold.  Increasingly faith is driven from society.  And a generation of young people grow up in the suburban sprawls, wondering after wonder, what their lives really mean, and who they really are.  Filled with drugs and drink, they seek after and struggle with the pains of life, wandering into the darkness of the nights, staring up at the stars, trying desperately to understand what has happened on Earth, and what is happening within themselves!

Little do they know, they are seeking after the God who made them, yet their own worst enemy is themselves, they’ve been cut off from the source, left fallen and selfish, and nothing seems to make sense. A yearning of the soul, desperate and terrible, makes life seem unbearable.  So they wander off, into dark places, into the night, desperate to seek after something only found in the solitude of darkness and aloneness.

I did the same.  The endless walks and night ventures seemed to put me into a hypnotized state of clarity.  Away from all the noise, it was just the deep woods, the night sky, music in my ears, and a gentle shimmering presence.  I’m convinced that such a clear, gentle, persistent activity, walking alone in the dark made all the difference.  Many factors played into the journey of my life, but I can say this much: In all those dark walks in the depths of night, as a child of the shadows, I encountered a living God.

Related Posts:

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  3. The Pursuit of God
  4. I love science
  5. Resurrection Sunday: Living a life of Worship
  6. The Sinful Heart of Man & Jesus Christ
  7. Recipes for the Babylonian Captivity
  8. The Paradox of Wisdom in Christianity
  9. Good News in Untenable Circumstances
  10. Rescue in the Labyrinth, Darkest Hour
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