I Don’t Want No Sun

[Word count: 603. Approximate read time: 3 minutes]

Broken Mirror Sunset by Bing Wright -- http://www.photographytuts.com/impressive-sunset-photos-captured-broken-mirrors/

“I can’t see another day.
I can’t face another hour.
Let the night rain down around me.
I’m done.
I don’t want no sun.”

I knew something was wrong when I couldn’t stop playing this song. It spoke to me, singing my life, shaking its tambourine, amening along with every weary sentiment. I haven’t been able to write anything for this faith blog for months. Truthfully, I feared I was becoming agnostic. And I might still be.

These lyrics come from “Sun,” a soulful ballad by Lalah Hathaway from the film For Colored Girls. I personally identify with them because they describe someone who’s been broken… one time too many. It’s not that I don’t want sunshine, rainbows, bacon, and everything else good in life. I just don’t want false hope. I’m so much against false hope that I’m willing to abandon all hope if it guarantees I won’t be disappointed.

“I’m not looking for a sign.
Don’t promise me a change.
You can leave me here in silence.
I won’t run
‘Cause I don’t want no sun.”

According to a close friend, I’m not without faith, I’m just extremely cynical. Maybe he’s right. I’d like to believe, but disappointment is expensive. Emotionally, I don’t feel like I can afford it right now. Belief is a luxury item. It’s only for the rich in spirit. Faith is for upper-crust Gwyneth Paltrows who wouldn’t last 4 days on food stamps.

I kinda believe… I kinda don’t. And yet a third of songs I listen to are still Christian in content or nature. I still tithe faithfully to a church I have little interest in attending. Most surprisingly, I still deign to pray for people. I might even do it with fervor and weave in relevant scriptures I’ve somehow not forgotten.

Praying for people is like buying them a lottery ticket. Maybe they scratch it off and nothing happens. Or maybe they come into hundreds of thousands! Or maybe it’s just enough to purchase another lottery ticket. If faith is a gamble, most Christians sustain themselves from lottery ticket to lottery ticket. As for me, I have never been a gambling man.

A preacher told me a Bible story about a childless woman who was kind to the prophet Elisha (2 Kings 4). In gratitude, Elisha prophecies the woman will bear a son by the next year. The woman promptly freaks all the way out saying, “Hold up, Elisha. Why you teasin’ me? Stop playin’. That s**t ain’t funny.” (I’ve paraphrased somewhat.)

True enough, she bears that son, but some years later, to her horror, the child suddenly dies in her arms. In fury, she travels back to Elisha saying, “Did I ask you for this? Hmmm? Didn’t I tell you not to get my hopes up?” I identify with her as well. She was clear from the start. “I thought I told you I don’t want no son.” What she really meant to say was, “I never wanted to go through the pain of losing a son. That’s why I didn’t ask for one.”

“There’s solace in the dark
I’m blinded to the pain
But the dawn always remembers that it’s gonna come
But I don’t want no sun.”

Later in the story, Elisha manages to bring the boy back to life and return him to his mother, but what a rollercoaster in the meantime. To believe is to sign oneself up for dizzying highs and plummeting lows. That’s some scary stuff that I’m not ready for yet. “But everybody loves the sunshine! Folks get down in the sunshine!” Yeah. That’s great. Thanks. Maybe another day.


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12 thoughts on “I Don’t Want No Sun

  1. Aye! What a powerfully deep blog. You’ve given me so much to think on. What if our belief isn’t supposed to be on the sun (son) but on the ideas behind what we desire?

    Elisha had to learn something as well as the woman. He was arrogant enough to believe all she needed was a child. She was so fearful that she avoided bearing children. Both were changed by the child’s arrival.

    Your transparency is healing me. Thank you.

    Nerissa Street http://www.beyourownanswer.com

    • Hey Nerissa, thank you so much for wading into these waters with me! I never gave a single thought to how this affected the prophet.

      There is something rather comforting in the idea that even in the push-and-pull of this Bible story, conflict happened, but it smoothed out all parties involved for the better, and it all the right spots.

      Maybe I’m getting somewhere asking these questions after all.

      THANK YOU.

      And God bless you. 🙂


  2. Yeah. I here you. I have felt this way often over the last 10 years. How fascinating that me: a 3x Stellar nominated former gospel singer feels this way.

    I never envisioned that I would ever be “that” person. But the truth is sometimes I doubt, sometimes I believe, sometimes I’m cynical, other times I am just numb- despite the fact that a good gospel song can still move me to tears.

    Its confusing to say the least. I wonder if there are other gospel artists (both former and current) who dare to say that they feel the same?

    • You know I love you like a college student loves free food, right? First of all, I don’t think I realized you were nominated that many times… — (Sing, wummun!) — But second, I’ve never been willing to believe that I’m the only person who feels this way! It immediately made me think of this card from the Postsecret collection that said “I am a southern baptist preachers wife. No one knows that I do not believe in God.
      I am a southern baptist preachers wife. No one knows that I do not believe in God.

      I feel like Christian artists and leaders are beginning to be more honest out of necessity. I love Tina Campbell of Mary Mary’s fearlessness in telling the truth of the crises in her marriage and faith, regardless of who it makes uncomfortable. That is powerfully freeing to the hearers as well as the tellers. You may need to take your experiences and write a book too. (Who gon’ check you, boo?)

      Either way, thank you for sticking with me on this journey and sharing your own! We stay arm-in-arm, so I think I’m gon’ make it!


  3. “To believe is to sign oneself up for dizzying highs and plummeting lows.” I definitely agree with that. For me, I still believe it is worth it because I love the highs that brings smiles to my face, the memories that coat my soul, and the openness in my heart as a result of “belief”. I speak not necessarily talking about Christianity, but just the idea of belief, as perhaps there is something else to believe in that may bring you (or anyone else) highs that outweigh the lows. I accept the lows because shadow has to exist in order for there to be light.

    • You know, I’m glad I re-read these comments periodically. I’m almost certain I passed over your statement “shadow has to exist in order for there to be light..” I probably wasn’t able to receive that notion 4 months ago. But I’m ready now. And thank you. I believe you are absolutely correct.

  4. Yes sunshine is great however the experiencing the rain builds character and give us knowledge how to navigate it. We must stay warm and dry in order to stay healthy. We use plastic bags to put over our heads, we’ll use a waterproof jacket, a book – something that repels or detracts rain. How wonderful that God/The universe/Spirt gave someone the vision to create a device just for the purpose of protection from rain. And that device comes in many forms JUST to keep the water off our heads and out of our eyes. What a device – An umbrella – A covering – A shield.

    Now aren’t we glad that God/The universe/Spirt gave someone the inspiration to bring the out house in?

  5. In spite of my agnosticism, I do believe in the power of prayer…but because I believe it allows us to access hidden strength within ourselves by focusing on a need or a gratitude. And when praying for others, they benefit from the emotional benefits of having others walk a difficult journey with them. (Why didn’t we get into great thoughts like this in middle school?…’cept I probably would have been fired for corrupting young minds!)

  6. “To believe is to sign oneself up for dizzying highs and plummeting lows.” Substitute the word “love” for “believe.” Yes, there will be highs and lows, but love always wins. Always. Love of self or love of others. I wouldn’t want to have missed any of the highs or lows in my life. They are part of the reason I am who I am today. And the pain of the lows? I’ve learned to say, “It’s just pain. It’ll go away.”

    Best in your quest, Mark.

    • Thank you, Annis! I think you’re right. It’s just easier to agree when a wound is not freshly smarting!!! I plan to borrow your quip though. “It’s just pain. It’ll go away.” THAT is quite useful!

  7. 1st: Analyzing 2 Kings with Lalah Hathaway lyrics?! That’s why you’re my dude. 2nd: The essence of belief is uncertainty. Fear of disappointment should disappear when we leave room for doubt and accept doubt as okay. Churchisms like “know that you know that you know” can make us feel defective for not being absolutely certain. But what I love about the stories in the Bible is that they are filled with folks who boldly, angrily, sadly question God to His face, much like the mother questioning Elisha. Questions, doubt make for a beautiful, authentic, tangible relationship with God. Even Christ asked God why He’d forsaken Him. If Christ did it, it must be Christian. 3rd: I think getting comfortable with no sun might be more than fear of false hope, but also fear that no sun is all we deserve. It isn’t. We deserve sun. We deserve happiness. We deserve love. Fulfillment is our birthright. We were born deserving and born worthy. But God allows something miraculous to happen in those no-sun moments: we survive them! The point isn’t to never have sunless moments, to never be disappointed or hurt. The point is to feel the cold, sit in the darkness, feel lonely, feel disappointed, feel hurt and know that it isn’t going to kill us. We can and will survive those moments. We’ve done it before. We can do it again. “This too shall pass” applies to the good and the bad. When we accept and appreciate the impermanence of life, we can bear pain as temporary and treasure joy as fleeting and most of all, be content in whatever state we are in.

  8. Finally made it back here. Been playing catch up.

    I can connect to this somewhat as well twin. I actually wrote a whole theory on prayer because the gamble nature of it, just didn’t sit right with me.

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