Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Starting Over

Have you ever wished that life had a "do over" button?

When I was younger, I used to say, literally, "This is my life. No regrets. I am who I am today because of what happened yesterday. End of story."

Do I still believe it? That's a hard question to answer.

Yes, I'm a product of my past, so at least that much is true.

But do I regret any of my past? Maybe the answer is "It doesn't matter, even if you do."

As a famous meerkat once said, "You got to put your past behind you."

Tonight I've got the whole evening to work on writing new music. My wife has graciously let me out of the house (and agreed to watch the chiluns). But I'm tired and having a hard time getting inspired. So I'm blogging instead, for now.

I'm hoping this whole process will inspire me - and you - to remember that "life's a dance, you learn as you go..."

PS: Anybody else getting freaked out by these crazy "appeals" on Wikipedia?!?!

Do over button image:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Don't HAVE to, I GET to

I love my family.

Sometimes they're difficult. Sometimes they prevent me from doing the things I love to do. But this is all just a part of life, isn't it? Anything can cause us difficulty or keep us from having fun, etc...

I think I'm learning that when you truly love, you're choosing to be in pain - as you love. Here's why:

Love is sacrificial - self-giving, other-oriented, not selfish at all. What does selfishness look like? Putting your desires above the desires of those you love, and when you don't get what you want, you make a big stink about it. (Keep in mind, love isn't one-way - it happens in relationship, so both people have to be giving of themselves, and sometimes it works out that someone is sacrificially loving you - you're the receiver.)

Next, when you hang your heart on the line - when you love - you're bound to be let down by the people you love. People suck. People hurt the people they love the most. Why? They don't really do it on purpose. It's a product of the fact that we spend the majority of our time with the people we love the most. People are prone to act contrary to the way they were originally designed to act (in perfect love).

Now here's how this post relates to my title:

A selfish man would say, "I have to stay home with my children during the day, so my wife can work a steady job." A loving man would say, "I get to stay home with my kids..." I'll be honest. I'm definitely feeling somewhere in between today. Of course, it's because I'm not perfect and I struggle with selfishness - probably more than the next man! But you can't say I'm not trying to work on or figure out how to fully, truly say "I get to..."

Also, my kids are cute. Seth in the leaves and Eleanor with wide eyes.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What All Great Music Does

Life is never what we expect.

Curve balls are thrown. Your dad gets cancer. You don't end up with the career you always envisioned. Your almost 30 and still single. You feel pressured to achieve the unachievable - the unidentifiably unachievable.

This is what life is.

Life is messy. Life is full of disappointments. Life is imperfect. Broken. Difficult. Desperate.

But great music can help.

There is one thing that all great songs have in common: they fill us with a sense of longing for a perfect, eternal future. They remind us that a glorious future is possible. They even contain within them a glimmer of that reality, and for a few, brief moments, we can be there. In that moment. At peace.

Music helps me to continue living.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately: what does it mean to be human? I think it means exactly what I've already described about the human experience: you feel disappointment and long for unattainable fulfillment. Or is it unattainable?

Many of my friends call me spiritual. Few call me religious.

I'd say if ever there were a need to believe in God it would be because we humans know that this unquenchable longing can not be satisfied by what we do, have, or accomplish. History has shown us that our deepest human desires can't be fulfilled by our own achievement. Time and again people "at the top" are the hardest to fall. They seemingly have everything and yet, they lose it all - and eventually, die like the rest of us. Have your actions, relationships, or possessions brought you perfect fulfillment yet? I'm guessing not.

We have to believe God exists. Without Him, we are utterly without hope of having our longings fulfilled. We already know we can't make it happen ourselves.

And I'd say that if ever there were a reason to believe that God can actually do it - can actually placate my (and your!) frenzied hunger - its because when I listen to great music - in that oh so small, fleeting moment, that's exactly what actually happens. I feel redeemed.

God exists because an unquenchable longing exists in our hearts that can't be satisfied by human activity - and we have to believe that this longing can be satisfied by something out of this world. And God is in fact able to do it because he gives us pieces of that satiety through music.

Do I think there's more to the story? Oh yeah. By grace, I'm trying to learn more of it every day.