Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day Dreams

Hola a mis amigos del mundo. 
It's been a stressful week over here, and my brain is going nuts, life is off the wire. And to top it all off, this is probably my most intense academic week as well. I can't find balance. But, I'll keep chuggin through. 
So, while being a good little student and attending classes today my mind was wondering into deeper thoughts of what I was being taught. 
In my New Testament class today we learned about a passage in Philippians known as "The Christ Hymn." I feel like it really sums up most of my reasons for belief and what I believe to be important factors in life and God's teachings. So, here we go... Philippians 2. 

"If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus..."

Yeah. So far, out of my minimal interpretative and closed reading Bible studying I would say that this is a large summary of all I value. Compassion and sympathy, love, humility, self-sacrifice... Oh, HELL YEAH! I wish Paul would've written this letter to me. 

After learning more about this passage and Paul's relationship with the Church of Philippians I started thinking about my church and the relationships I've formed growing up in that congregation. The deeper I go in life, and the deeper I go in forming new relationships, the more it comes back to my church community. I can't help but recognize the correlation of the ones I love the most and where I initially started my relationship with them... mi iglesia [my church]. Why is that? Is it simply because I've known these people for the longest; and they've seen me through my maturity and growth? Or is it because of the setting I've known them from? I think there's a fair amount of truth in claiming that my love for these people may be solidified because I know they have been taught a love similar to the one that I value. A love that we were taught, and have almost all applied. The largest handful of people that I have as examples and leaders in my life are those I've seen most Sundays and Wednesdays of my adolescence. It could just be that my connection to all these loves are simply because of the time and energy I've put into them. But, I feel like a spirituality that's unexplainable and probably unprovable is an underlying tone in all of these relationships. My bestest friend in life right now is a boy I grew up in church with. We've seen ups higher than I imagined possible, and we've seen downs lower than I'd ever want them. But, somewhere there's always been love and patience. I don't know how he's put up with me all of these years... when I look back on all of our struggles I can't help but just laugh at how ridiculous we've both been... more, I. But, we're both still hanging on. We know what forgiveness does for a relationship. We know the importance of loving someone, unconditionally, and accepting them for who they are and who they want to be. Sounds a lot like some teaching we may have received in the little days of Sunday School, doesn't it? I have multiple other relationships that are similarly strong and based on these virtues that originated at this establishment. The number is high and outweighs all of my other social scenes. Maybe it IS because we can all recognize this "same mind" and "same love." ?
Hell, I don't know. 

I really hope that this theory continues as I go through life, because these people are the ones who will help me the most as I choose my life, or react as it comes. 

I realize the exact opposite of these claims can be made as well. I would guess that there are many people out there who felt more judged in their church than anything else. Which angers me gravely. The ideal of a church is acceptance and love. The ideal of most religions is acceptance and love. Boo judgement and boo church's that exemplify that. I'm sorry to you... 

A certain someone had me thinking non-stop about music as well today. 

What does it mean to me now? How has that changed from previously? Do I want it to continue changing or is this a beyond satisfying place to be?

Music is the answer for me right now. It's helping me identify myself in ways I'm not sure I would've been able to identify elsewhere. I've had music in my life, again mostly beginning at my church, for as long as I can remember. I did the whole piano lessons thing... (not for very long, and not very well, but... lessons were had), I joined choir in 6th grade and have yet to leave it. Sang throughout middle school, continued in high school... ended up doing "well" [whatever the hell that means] and now, here I am, getting ready for a college choir tour to England and Wales, in January. Choir is a lot of my musical mold. There are aspects I'm grateful for, but also training that I'd rather be ignorant of. I wonder what choir would've been like for me in another country? A country that wasn't individualistic? In America, we're so focused on individual talent and doing our own individual, absolute best. There's a sense of pride in the independence of knowing we can sing a part well, on our own. But where's the harm in depending on the group as a whole? You can lead the way all you want, in tempo and in pitch, but if the rest of the group is keeping a group tempo and pitch you are getting nowhere, and benefiting no choir. It's a group. It's a trust. It's great. 
I'm learning that's what I want music to be, and what I want more of my life to be. There's a certain amount of individualism that's needed, especially in our society, but the idea of a communal understanding is gorgeous. 
Music has also given me confidence by identifying my insecurities. I would've never guessed a year ago that I'd EVER play any of the songs I've written for ANYONE. But now, here I am... preparing for potential gigs consisting only of originals. Scary. I never would've thought I'd have the confidence to do that. But, music has enlightened me. It's allowed me to recognize that there are things that I can do that will be beautiful, even if only to me. It's given me confidence in my emotions and expression. Music will never again be an experience lacking spirituality for me again. We've become committed, music and I. We're dating. 
I'm falling pretty hard for him too. It's hard for me to have music in 'the background' at all now. I have to focus on it, I want to focus on it. I want to feel it. I'm so fricken lucky to have a best friend who is one of thee most talented, and admirable musicians I've ever met. And then on top of that, to have a whole realm of friends with extreme talent and passion. Ahhh... but music is so vulnerable. SO VULNERABLE... especially in the voice, I've noticed. Everyone has their own voice, and everyone perceives voices differently. You never know who's gonna like what you sound like, who will like the vulnerable creation you're creating. Takes a lot of confidence to ignore that step and to just make music because it's enjoyable to you. 
I think it helps to have someone who shares the passion.
Safety in numbers, right?

Music has been a huge release to me. It's the deepest I've ever felt for it. It's the most comfortable I've ever felt for it. It makes me appreciate simple things in life. I think I would feel simply the most happy sitting next to a campfire with a guitar in hand, a cello in my best friend's hands, a french horn in my other best friend's hands, and a breathtaking voice in my Puerto Rican lover. Ah. That'd be life for me. A weekend of that, and all my internal conflicts would be resolved and every desire for love would be filled. 
Music and Love.
I'm a broken record.

I need to go camping.
But it's snowing.
My life needs a camping trip. A weekend surrounded by glory. yummy. 

1 comment:

Jon McDuffie said...

Good stuff. So, church. I am definitely of the more judged. To this day, the church that gave you such love I feel hostility inside. Calling myself agnostic and knowing that I'm a lie to the congregation I lied my confirmation to make them feel better lead to that being so bad.

The cork to throw at the idea of this sort of Christian-love you have learned and love others in the same environment, is that the message of Christianity has other facets. To some people, they see the other ones more than they see the love. You and I see love, unconditionally so, as the most essential component, but some people are more worried about how many times you walked your g-ma across the street (thanks tom cross).

It is hard to have faith that someone who calls a christian sees eye to eye with me on love. I gain opitimism about the church when you talk about it so, but I found that message finally when I left the church. The church to me was more often an instrument of judgement and prideful condescension. I had to leave the church in anger to finally see your side of the story. Too bad, eh?
Maybe there is a reason our church never grows.

Music, how could I agree more. As it forces you up against your insecurities you really have to commit yourself to yourself. Loving yourself goes from something that would be cool to have, to something that you need. Something that, without, your hand won't strum the chord and your voice sing the words. I'm glad to have been riding the ride with you.

Maybe the puerto rican, and McCain-ist can get in a car and we can sit next to the fire at my cabin in the northwoods playing music for a weekend. hmm. sounds awful but i could put up with it i guess.