Sunday, January 28, 2018

Snowflakes of life and christianity

I was sitting outside this afternoon reading.  I love doing it if I can stay warm enough.  I wrap myself up in a blanket and put on multiple layers and read a book.  I sometimes take my pipe out with me that my friend Nate gave me for a gift, and sometimes not.  I would take my grandpa's pipe out with me if I had it sometimes but I don't have it; I just know my mom said he used to have one.
Today while I was reading it started to snow.  It was really kind of pretty out actually with a sun and some snow and I sitting out there with a blanket over my legs and my heavy jacket on.
I had some snowflakes land on me and just stay there, it wasn't warm enough to have them melt right away and I was struck by them and how different they are.
If you asked me before this, I already knew that all snowflakes are different.  You learn that way back in middle school science or something and you also learn it in church or from your parents or somewhere else; they talk about how they are all different and special and so are we.
One of the things that my ex wanted from me was a mission statement, or a statement of faith, or something along that lines and I always felt super guilty and judged because I couldn't really give one the way she wanted.  It wasn't that I didn't want to, it was that I couldn't.  Mainly because I feel like somewhere along the way I didn't learn it, or perhaps I didn't have one because I wasn't a good enough christian, or a strong enough one, or perhaps because I wasn't smart enough for one.  It doesn't help that my life hasn't been this lightbulb moment of christian faith and coming to Jesus like I hear so many other people talk about.  For me it has been more like a winding path with a series of hills and valleys and I have not only gone up and down and around, but I have sometimes tripped and fallen right off the path and wandered helplessly until coming upon the road again.  (I think that I have always known this and that is part of the reason of my tattoo on my arm)
Tonight though I was really hit with a message in those tiny frozen drops of water gathering on my jacket.
It is ok that I don't have a statement of faith or anything right now and it is ok that it might take a while for me to build one.  Our faith and our christianity is a snowflake in life.
My path of my spirituality is unique and unlike anyone else's and theirs is the same.  Just like that snowflake my path and my faith and my road is unique and will never be like another person's.  It was a huge relief to know that it was ok that my life wasn't like my ex's, or my dad's, or my friend's, or anyone else's.  It is more important that I know that it is going to be different but that doesn't make it any less beautiful than a different "snowflake" of faith.
It is ok that I didn't have that "eureka" moment in my faith and that I have been traveling a long and twisty road because I know that God is looking out for me and when I stumble off the path that He is going to help me find it again eventually.
It is ok that I have had my spirit renewed again and again and that I am human and fallible and that things haven't always been great for me.  I am new because God helps make me new when I ask for it and even if that person is flawed and can sin, God doesn't care because He loves me, forgives me, and offers me grace when I need it most.
It was a big day for me because I felt close to God in a way that I haven't for a while now, not since Sara called it quits and my dad took a turn for the worse and I felt like God wasn't right there with me and telling me that the things that I hoped were all going to work themselves out.  It was a big day.
It is a new day and I am going to keep working on my snowflake of my path of faith and I don't have to worry about it being "acceptable" in the eyes of others.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Time to Ramble

I am out of grad school, I have a job, I have an income.  I don't have money because I am just out of grad school but I am not living making debt constantly (only semi-constantly).  Now I find myself in a pattern and that pattern consists of not a lot of outside stuff as I try and save money and pay bills.  But that is ok in a way.  But I do think about teaching and conducting and the last couple years and wondering if it was all worth it.  I can't say whether it was or not yet.  I know I made some friends and connections, I got a healthy dose of college and I know why I am too old for it now and I can't go back anymore.  But I don't know much else sometimes.  I feel like I am better at score study and preparing scores but I don't necessarily feel like a better teacher all the time.  I know I am more aware of my hands and how I am conducting but I sometimes fall into bad habits still.  But most of all I still don't know whether I am supposed to be a teacher for the rest of my life.   I still wonder what else I might be doing that isn't keeping me up late or waking me up in the middle of the night thinking about way too many things.  But that is ok.  I think that we all go through that sometimes.  I think that only if you care a lot about the people you work with or making a difference in the world is when you find yourself up too late or too early thinking about work.  And in a way that is ok with me.  Perhaps if there were more people that were concerned about the influence they are having on other people the world might be a little better place.  I do worry about the attitudes of some people but I really should worry about my own.  I really don't need to become the ego-maniac that the stereotypical trumpet player is supposed to be.  I should keep judging myself and not others.  I might try and post here a little more often but that is fine with me.  Perhaps getting this all out will lead me down some path of enlightenment.  Maybe not but either way I type and it leaves the brain (at least for a little bit)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Family and Friends

For the last year and a half I have been eating, breathing, and sleeping grad school.  I have kind of ignored many other aspects of my life as I work on my master's degree.  But this was a very important weekend for me that reminded me of something very important.
This weekend I didn't focus on school work, I didn't skip out on things to do homework.  I spent time concentrating on some very important friends and family.
I spent Friday with my dad, helping him celebrate his birthday.  I spent Saturday with family and got to see my nephew in one of the most important games of his life as he helped lead his football team in the playoffs.  I hadn't seen him play before and in this his senior year and his last game (unfortunately they lost) I was able to witness it.  And Sunday evening I spent with close friends helping celebrate the lives of a father that has gone to a better place as we had a memorial service for Pat's dad, Ed.
I have spent so much time working on my degree that I have skipped so much but this weekend I was reminded that it isn't about the work I do as much as those I consider my close friends and family and how important it is that I spend time with them and experience life with them.  These are the people that have stood beside me in all my crazy times when I have been stressed or upset or broke and usually all of the above.  I think it is important that sometimes we set our work or studies or menial tasks aside and remember what is most important.  That is friends and family.  What I did this weekend is so much more important than all the homework I didn't do and I am willing to take the punishment for not having my stuff done tomorrow (because I know I won't get it all done).  But that is ok because I was able to remind myself that my life shouldn't revolve around homework and a degree and a job and money but around love and friendship.  I hope I can keep this in mind these last months when the stress will become unbearable at times as I work on my last classes.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Why music

Everybody loves different things.  I totally get that.  So this post might be just a little bit biased I understand.
But I was thinking about why I can't get away from music.  And why music is one of the most important things in the world (even though I sometimes think that America believes it is fame).

And I came up with one thing.

Music can and does inspire Everybody.

I realize that may seem like a simple statement at first so I should probably explain it.

I look at the things that people get excited about in the world (and there are a lot!) and I see that people rarely agree.  I am not saying that is a bad thing; after all, being an individual is a good thing and you should travel your own road and not someone else's or you will never be happy.
But when I look at all the things that people get excited about there aren't very many that everybody can get excited and inspired from.
I look at people that love sports and they get all inspired and excited about great sport moments.  I will admit that I am one of those.  But not everybody is.  There are people that have no interest at all in sports and a game winning score isn't a big deal to them.  They don't understand how and why people can get so excited about a game.  While I am one of the people that love those big game moments I can understand why there are people that don't love them.  Not everybody likes sports and they shouldn't have to because not liking sports is perfectly fine.
I know people that are super inspired by a sunrise or sunset or the calm of the lake or the waves of the ocean or the majesty of the mountains.  Yes, I am one of those people too.  I do love those sights; they take my breath away and leave me feeling very small but at the same time happy to be able to see things like that because it helps me know how big the world is and how small I am and then I remember that even though I am very insignificant God still loves me and He made all this beauty for me and others to enjoy.  But I know people that don't like nature and they don't like scenery and if you put them in front of a scene like that they can nod and smile and 20 seconds later they are bored and ready to go back to what they were doing.  I can understand that too because some people like cities and excitement and being out in nature like that isn't for them.  That is cool.
I know people that get inspired by books.  Yes, I know I am starting with all these things that I get inspired with and that does make it easier to write so yes I do get inspired by a good book too!.  But there are people that don't like to read and there are people that don't read and that is perfectly fine because you don't have to read to be a good person and to be inspired in life.
I know people that love a good movie and they are inspired when they watch a great film.  In a way that is also like the book side because a lot of movies were books and in a way a movie is almost always a story and in that way it holds true as well.  But some people have very little interest in movies or tv or anything like that.
I know people that get excited and inspired by cars and buildings and other things that we have manufactured and created.  Yet there are people that only see pieces of metal and stone and wood and they don't even worry about things until they don't work properly.
But of all the things I can think of the only thing that really can and does inspire everybody is music.  While there are many different genres of music and the same music may not inspire a bunch of people, music does inspire everybody.  Whether it be classical, jazz, rock, pop, metal, alternative, etc. people around the entire world get inspired by music all the time.  Even if they are watching a movie the soundtrack adds so much to the video that you would be surprised if you ever watched it without.  Concerts, radio, cds, online, music is everywhere and people love it.  It is so varied it can appeal to everybody and it is easy to see why.  It brings us to a higher place or a lower place and makes people want to do crazy things like get up and dance, shout for joy, clap, and stomp our feet.
So why music you ask?  There is my reason.  I love being a part of something so inspirational that it has caught 7 billion people.  :D

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

God explained by science

I know that when you want to talk about spirituality, religion, God, or faith that there are always those who don't believe.  They don't believe for a variety of reasons but one of the biggest arguments I have come across is the one about proof of God's existence.  For many years I didn't have a way to talk about this argument other than to say that faith is a matter of the heart and not the mind; and I still do believe that.
Faith is something that is easy to have when things are going your way and harder to have when things are going against you.  But true faith isn't faith unless things are going against you.  At least that is kind of the idea I have always had.  It would be like believing that the Twins could win the world series when they are up 3-0 in the postseason compared to still believing they are going to win when they are 0-3.  (If you don't watch baseball that would be they are one win away from the championship vs. one lost away from losing the whole thing)
I have always approached the idea of God from the perspective that I believe and I have faith that He exists and I am not going to worry about the science of it.  But this morning I read something else and it really helped me add onto this belief.
Don Miller writes that "God does not live within the philosophical science He made".  Yeah, that makes sense I told myself when I read it and I was prepared to move on.
But then I really stopped and thought about it.

Would we really want God to live within a scientific method we have developed?

If so, why would we want that?

Is it perhaps that we are so self-centered and ego driven that we still want to see ourselves as the center of the universe?  Is it the simple idea that we like to be in control of ourselves and our destiny and the thought that there is something so great out there the controls things that we are afraid to consider how insignificant we feel compared to the entire scheme of things?
I think that must be part of it.
I, like many other people, like to have that sense of control within my own life.  But so many times (and especially lately) I have had to remind myself again and again that God is in control of my life and He will do the right thing.  I just need to have faith and trust that things will be fine in the end.  (There is that faith concept again!)
But it is hard I think to accept that we are not in control of our own lives in so many ways.  There are so many outside factors just in day to day life that we cannot control that can affect us in so many ways.  Simple things like driving to work and the other drivers on the road and what they are doing or how they are driving can make a huge difference in our lives.  And that is just the most basic of concepts.
So we are not in control at all in many ways.  Yes our own decisions and actions but how many times have your own decisions and actions been the only contributing factor to a situation?  I can't think of a single one in my own life because the whole "no man is an island" quote is so true. (If you don't know that one look it up, it is a pretty good one)
The other part (and I know I have done those questions backwards) is the part about God living within our own science and scientific method.
This one is a simple thought to me.  I love the thought that if God in His omnipotence and greatness is going to watch out for us that He would be all powerful and mighty and that He would not have to live within the realms and boundaries that He has set for us.  If He did then what would make Him so great?  Would He be able to do anything that we wouldn't be able to do ourselves?  If God was restricted by gravity, by physics, by the ideas of matter and mass and density, what kind of God would that truly be?  Sounds like a man or woman to me albeit a really smart and cool one.  Is that who you really want running everything?
The greatness of God is the greatness of God if you follow me.  It is the fact that God is greater than all that we see.  A God that is greater and outside of science and the restrictions that come with it.
I never worried about whether God existed and those people that always talked to me about the proof of God's existence.  I have always believed that you can't explain God with a set of rules we have developed within our culture (because science is just stuff that we have all agreed on as ideas and theories that we have proven within the limitations of our senses but don't even get me started on that because that is a whole new post) but that instead God is beyond our understanding.  This just emphasizes it and expands my thoughts on it.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Person to Person

Short post, not sure where I am going with this one.

I have noticed lately that when I hang out with groups that cell phones seem to dominate the table.  This isn't a rant against cell phones or the people that use them but I sometimes wonder if they are too prominent in my own world.  I guess I feel that I don't need to look at my cell phone every 2 minutes for any reason when I have people in front of me that I can look at the whole time and share a conversation with.
Tonight I found myself looking at my phone and so I put it away and just paid attention to the people instead.  It was nice to be able to look at them and listen to them in a way that I used to do more and don't find myself doing enough of now.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't saying that if you are a cell phone person that I think you should stop or that what you are doing is wrong.  This is a personal me decision and not an "everybody should do this decision".  So please don't get all upset if you feel like I am pointing fingers because I am not.
I just think that I am going to try to do my best right now that when I go out with someone that the phone is simply an emergency contact and not an activity or form of entertainment.  If I hang out with people I should want to spend time with them and not my phone.
Hopefully it will stay silent and in my pocket.  I lived a long time without one; why has it so suddenly become such a big part of my life?
That is all I got tonight.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

More than enough

I, like many others, often complain about not having enough.  Money, stuff, chances to see friends, free time, etc.
The problem is me.
I make 30,000 a year as a teacher.  That should be more than enough.  That is so much more than other people make.  There are people starving in the streets and yet somehow I don't have enough.
This really struck me tonight.
God gives us more than enough if we are willing to stop and really consider how we live I think.
I eat way too much and often get extra special food or waste food or do so many other things that aren't right.
I buy stuff.  And that is really the best way to describe it.  It is just stuff.
I have 2 drawers full of t-shirts.  I can't wear all of them.  Why do I have all of them?  If I do laundry once a week I can't get through all those shirts.  And 4 suits.  And dress pants and khaki pants and jeans and and and and.....
I have a Nintendo and a Sega and a 64 and a PS3.  And worse I have games upon games for them.  Why do I need all this stuff?  And movies and cds and books, and games, and and and....
No wonder I don't have enough money right now.
The problem is me.
I really think that if I stop and look at how I spend money I would see how wasteful I am.  And really, all I need is God.  God will provide; He always does.
God will provide what I need.
But I don't need stuff.  I only need the basics of life.
Buying stuff is fun because we all want what is shiny and new; or worse we want what we see other people getting.
Have you ever bought something because other people are buying it and they seem to be having fun?  Have you ever noticed that the novelty of having it wears off rather quickly?
Sure having some stuff is nice.  I am not saying I need to live in complete poverty.  But perhaps if I looked closer at the stuff I have I would see that I have so much more than so many other people and I don't need all this stuff.
I have more than enough.  I don't need to live so lavishly.  Maybe there are quite a few out there like me; living for stuff and bigger and better stuff and more stuff and stuff we don't need.......
I have more than enough and God has provided.  But what I really need isn't stuff I can buy.  It is something that has already been given to me for free.
Grace.  Love.  Forgiveness.  Acceptance.  Family and Friends.
More Than Enough for me.