Yesterday BC introduced spoken word artist Levi the Poet who talked a bit about his craft, new album Correspondence, and some of his background. This piece will be digging deeper into some of Levi's dark past, including the suicide of his father and the powerful song "Rearview Memories."
The song "Rearview Memories" by the hardcore band To Speak of Wolves provides a bit of a powerful look into Levi Macallister's family and personal struggles. The rock track features both spoken word and the screamed vocals with Levi and his sister Bree providing the talking intro, middle, and end.
The vocalist of the band, Gage Speas, is a good friend of Levi, and after his father died they were able to lean on each other for similar tragedies in their lives. The band's vocalist originally brought the idea of the song up to Levi. He asked Levi and his sister Bree to be a part of it.
The spoken word artist said it was weird at first because the song was so personal to his life, and he was unsure if he wanted to be so transparent. His ease passed a bit when To Speak of Wolves was able to get the self-help organization To Write Love on Her Arms involved. Levi and his sister knew that they now had the opportunity to touch many lives with their story and song.
After going back into the song to rewrite some of the parts he was uncomfortable with Gage he now looks back fondly at the experience. "It ended up being a real joy to do that with those guys, and I'm glad for it."
Essentially the story the song tells is of Levi's father who was a pastor and a missionary that suffered with extreme bouts of depression. He fell deeper and deeper into depression that he soon longed to die. He felt as if there was no longer a reason to live on the Earth and tried to stick around for his family.
Some incredibly deep words from the song:
"Was the Devil in the bathroom with you?
Were his hands on the razor?
Was he drawing on your wrists, was he drawing on your wrists?
Did you see God, Did you see God?
I want to know, I want to know
I want to know where your soul is
What was it like when you took flight?"
While Levi was on the Bad Christian Podcast, he went into full detail about the struggles of his father, and spoke of the harrowing trials his family had to endure.
"I got a phone call from my mom saying I needed to come home because I needed to take the guns out of the house because something that night had snapped in his mind where he was one person the day before and the next day my mom was afraid she was going to find him dead via the guest bedroom in house," he shared on the podcast.
Levi explained he took the guns away as the family got together for a meeting, and said his father started weeping because "I was taking away his only hope for peace" and also said he was "positive he would be going to hell forever."
The next couple of months were truly brutal as Levi's father took medications, was hospitalized, and made many attempts at taking his life. Nothing would improve the way he was feeling, so he began drinking because it "took the shakes away."
Then in January 2011, he disappeared altogether as the family searched for weeks with no sign of him.
"He [dad] just called her [mom] from this parking lot in Albuquerque. He told her that he loved her and that he loved us, and that he didn't want to die and if there was a God he hoped that God would heal him and if there wasn't, he wasn't willing to die at home with dignity," Levi shared on BCP.
Levi said his father was gone for a few weeks until he received a phone call saying they found his body. After making that phone call to Levi's mom, apparently his father walked across the street and slit his wrists in a hotel bathroom.
At a time when everyone was devastated at the loss of a life, Levi felt a sight sense of relief through the sadness, which he was certain to explain, is entirely his take on the situation.
Levi believes his father's suicide was the last "perceived act of love" made by his dad. He said the family was going through financial issues and their lives were being torn apart by the instability of the head of their household. His father thought that by killing himself he would help the family and take them away from the chaos.
Again, Levi told BC he does not want to speak on behalf of his family, but he thinks his family understands where he is coming from. When asked why he thought his dad's death was an act of love, he said, "It didn't take a lot to get there."
His father had a lot of issues, "there are times when he was harsh, he was angry, and it was a result of a lot of things...for him what I see in hindsight, beneath that was a man who showed mercy and desired mercy and did all that he could in his life and his work and in his ministry and to see people reconciled to each other."
Levi's father counseled, and tried to help suffering people. "I just think it was his last opportunity to love selflessly, and I know that that sounds crazy...in his mind it was."
"He felt like he was a burden, no one loved him, and that he was destroying other people's lives," he said. "In the midst of all that, he still loved us very much. Because of the pain...he thought 'I've got to get my family out of this'."
That perception has allowed Levi to move on with the death. "It's so perceivably selfish, yet I have come to a place where though I wish that it could be different in everyway, I see it as kind of his last act of selflessness."
There are a few takeaways that Levi can grab from his father's stories and all of them will perhaps help him become the best man, father, husband, and person he can be. He has been married for four years, he has no kids and is not sure when it will happen, but has some thoughts on what he would like to achieve as an individual looking ahead.
"I want to seek the Lord. I want to not be terrified of being challenged. I want to be routed in the gospel and able to listen to other people as well at the same time...I want to be humble, want to be teachable, want to lead my wife well, want to be more of a servant because I know that I lean far more towards selfishness than wholeheartedness. I want to love the church," he revealed.
One day Levi hopes to be friends with his kids because it was something not experienced initially with his own parents. He said for a time his parents where nothing more that an authority figure to him. Now as he and his friends are getting older and people are having kids, responsibilities, and families he came to the realization that his parents were "real people" that wrestled with the same things he has. Levi wishes he could have gotten to that point with his dad where they could have related to each other on things.
Tune back in for part three with Levi the Poet tomorrow as we discuss his plans for the future and his views of the church. Read part one of the interview here.