“All that we are is story. From the moment we are born to the time we continue on our spirit journey, we are involved in the creation of the story of our time here. It is what we arrive with. It is all we leave behind. We are not the things we accumulate. We are not the things we deem important. We are story. All of us. What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we’re here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship—we change the world, one story at a time…” – Richard Wagamese
The past eight years of my life have been colored by harsh highlights and hopeful undertones.
I was 11 when I moved to from Honduras to the United States. Not having a lot of friends and struggling with the language barrier gave me plenty of free time at home, and my brother saw this an opportunity to teach me a thing or two about what “real music” was. That’s when I was first introduced to a band called Switchfoot.
From there, I fell in love with music and picked up several instruments as I served on the music team at my church.
For quite some time, immersing myself in music became my “great escape” from all the madness. I viewed music as a method to dodge pain; I used it to avoid asking the tough questions haunting my heart.
As I got older, music transformed into something else. You see, I could no longer avoid the questions or the pain.
Why the abuse?
How could a parent not want their child anymore?
Am I unworthy of love?
Why wasn’t counseling helping?
Why do I feel so angry?
Is there really anything good out there waiting for me besides pain?
I soon discovered that I was struggling with depression. And around the same time, I learned to let go of escapism; I embraced the questions so I could work through the pain, rather than avoid it.
Throughout the process of healing, I found Jon Foreman singing to me—like an optimistic and supportive friend.
His songs spoke about challenging myself to move forward, as if the struggles of today never happened. His songs told me the shadows of life actually proved the sunshine was out there, with all its warmth and promises.
I started to believe that something better was waiting for me. Maybe I couldn’t find it yet, but I would, eventually.
The morning comes again because it has no choice.
Music connected me with the character of my creator and introduced me to the idea of hope. I wanted to do for others what Jon did for me. I found purpose as a songwriter and decided to pursue a career in music.
A year after graduating high school, I found myself at Heavy and Light 2018. I went with my older brother and my two best friends—who I also call my brothers—hoping to finally see my living legend in person. The one who wrote the songs that gave me hope; the songs that kept me from ending my story short.
As Jon Foreman walked onto the stage that night, my mouth opened on its own accord and I yelled, “Jon, I love you!”
I silently hoped he hadn’t heard it, but he was quick to respond with, “I love you too, sir. What’s your name?” My outburst of adoration led to an exchange of pleasantries. I couldn’t wait to tell my friends at church that the Jon Foreman knew my name.
A few songs into his set, a couple in the crowd requested that Jon play “When We Collide.” He confessed to having trouble remembering how the song went, or what key it was in, so I spoke up again, “It’s in G!”
Much to my excitement, Jon saw this as an opportunity to embrace chaos of the night and invited me on stage.
As I sang through the nerves, it felt like the room was on fire with love and joy. Getting to play with the artist that helped me find hope and purpose felt like a collective achievement, as though I was representing something bigger than myself, bigger than just that moment. It was about witnessing tangible proof that things do get better.
That’s why I’m sharing my story.
I’ve come to see that every struggle in life is mysteriously full of wonder, depth, and sometimes beauty. There’s a reason behind the pain, and you owe it to yourself to find the answer.
Hope wants you to keep going. It wants to pull you forward, long enough so that you can someday take a look back at your story and finally see where the dots connected.
Eventually, you will gain a new perspective. You will realize that struggling is an inherent component of our stories. Then, you may find yourself in my position: sharing the story of how you came to see the dots in your timeline connect. And you will hope that it will inspire others to hold on for a little longer so they too can live to witness the dots in their story finally, connect.