Thursday, August 27, 2009

my musical evolution

It's no big secret that I love music. Around age 15 I learned to appreciate music as more than just sounds in the background of my day to day life. Still, I never fully understood the complexities of actually creating music. I knew that music (done correctly) sounded great, and for years people had been perfecting the craft. A few years later I decided I wanted to join in.

However, as teenagers often do, I became very enthusiastic and then apathetic extremely quickly. I took guitar lessons and soon after they just stopped. Partially because my guitar teacher stopped giving lessons and partially because I discovered girls. But the love for music never ceased. I would dream of playing music that would touch people and those dreams continued for years.

As I entered college and then afterward the working world, I grew farther apart from music. No longer was it something tangible; rather it was an enjoyable escape from a long busy day. But something changed...

I got a new job back home in March of 2006. I started going back to my old church. Not long after re-emerging there, I was asked by two wonderful people to join their youth ministry team. I started teaching occasionally and mentoring, which was great. It kept me very busy. But all along I felt a call for something else. I wasn't sure of what it was, although it should have been very clear to me all along.

After a couple years of working with teenagers and attending camps with them, the thought was brought up by someone else to start a band for our Wednesday night services. I won't lie to you, I wasn't sold on the idea at first. I've seen plenty of bad bands and assumed I'd only become part of one. The idea left and I went along with life.

The next year (2008) we attended another camp where the idea was brought up once again. I was asked to spearhead it. At this point I hadn't touched an instrument in years, and had never sung in public (save one time, which was an extreme embarrassment). To say I was less than enthusiastic would be a safe statement. However, I felt the calling which I know as the Spirit telling me to try. I picked up my old beat up Ovation acoustic guitar and tried to play the few chords I remembered. I was horrible. A youth (who would later become a youth worker) who plays drums pushed me, though, and we tried some songs. Nothing. I was terrible. But I still felt the call. I bought a DVD by Jean Welles which refreshed my memory and greatly helped me to improve. Songs I remembered from my youth popped into my head and I got excited!

Months went by and the vision expanded. We started a band and began inviting the youth who were musically inclined to join in. It became a very free thing...a band where anyone was welcome to come and play and, to be Biblically cliche, make a joyful noise. In the meantime, I found my style. I found my voice. I got enthusiastic!

A year later, the music ministry I am blessed to be a part of has gotten much bigger. We've been invited to play special events at church. Lena (part of the ministry team along with her husband, Blaine) and I have been invited to a few different churches to play at events and services. Our band, the SMASH Band (named from our ministry, Student Ministries at Spring Hill) has been invited to play and share in the next two weeks, not counting our Wednesday night services.

Through all this, though, I realize that it has nothing to do with me. I was the doubting one. This ministry would exist with or without me. But I'm happy that God will continue to push and not give up as easily as we (I) may. It's been a blessing for me personally and my dreams are becoming real, even if no one realizes it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

old times

Clay and I went back in time last night...not literally, but through the wonders of the internet we were able to go back and read old blog posts from Xanga. Thank God our sites are still active. It was quite a nostalgia kick to read entries from 2003/2004 and see what I was up to.

All the jokes and heartaches and friendships I read about really made me look at where I am today and how much I have changed. First of all, I'm not nearly as funny as I used to be. I guess that happens when you turn 26 (like I did this past Wednesday). Second, things don't affect me in the way they used to. One little thing could completely ruin my day back then, whereas now I'm a little more passive. My friends are all still part of my life, but let's face time moves on, so do people. Reliving all the experiences I had back then really made me happy to have lived through all of it.

As we read things to one another, Clay mentioned that he wished things could be the way they used to. I agreed, somewhat. But we all have to grow up...get jobs, make new friendships, accept responsibilities, get married (in his case). And I wouldn't trade where I am now for anything. Life has had it's rough spots, sure, but even a few years ago I didn't know nearly as much as I do now. I miss the hangouts in Tupelo, I miss having everyone around all the time and planning fun weekends. I miss the random road trips and the thrill of being on my own for the first time. But I also love having life experience and being self-sufficient.

All in all, I'm thankful for having blogged my past (almost) seven years. Looking back is fun, but as I once heard a criminal say on some HBO documentary, looking back will only make you go back. Looking down will make you go down. Looking forward...that's the way to look.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

dealing with it

If you want some good reading, check this blog out. It's my brother, who is currently going through some chemotherapy for some cancer I alluded to months ago. He just started and is chronicling the experience, which I think is a great idea. But then again I love to write.

Although that doesn't seem to be true, does it? At least not here lately. I've sort of got a full plate to deal with, what with leading the youth band on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, squeezing in some fun musical sessions with my friend Steven on Thursdays, attempting a social life on weekends, and serving as a deacon at church. Oh and having a day job. Can't forget that one.

Also here lately I feel as if I am even more thrust into the role of peacemaker/peacekeeper with people at work/church. It's a hard role to fill, to be honest, and is very taxing. Why can't everyone just chill? Life is too short to be upset all the time.

However I wasn't "chill" for a while. I was in a pretty bitter mood toward God after learning of Ben's cancer. It didn't (and doesn't) make much sense to me, but eventually I realized that a lot of things don't make sense. All I can do is support and help any way I can, and blaming a supernatural being for a problem seems like a pretty archaic way of thinking. I have friends who have given me advice/scripture and of course He has shown Himself through various methods (usually other people at the right times...not coincidence) as He usually does.

But feeling helpless has renewed my faith, in a way. I am more prone to trust rather than panic. That's a nice feeling, too.

In closing, I will try and write more in the future. In the meantime, read what Ben has to say. It's pretty funny and very real.