Black Holes of Music

Black Holes of Music

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This evening I have a yellowed sheet of notebook paper in my hand. I was wondering what my reflections were on music in my college days. Despite hesitation and much gained maturity I will let my old self speak to you this evening about my love of music.

I never really had the time to pursue my music. Often, I really didn’t have the time, but sometimes it was also because I was afraid that I couldn’t bear to keep music for a hobby. Hobbies are something you do in your spare time. Music has always been a little dangerous for me. I love it so much that whenever I get involved in it I begin to pull back with fear.

That fear comes from the fact that it has resembled a black hole to me-one that I want to fall into. Music pulls at me with a force stronger than gravity when I get close to it. As long as I can remember I have wanted to throw myself in with reckless abandon. In my dreams I can let it swallow me up and I’ll never have time for ordinary life again.

I first learned piano beginning at age 10. Then I started rearranging my lesson songs, and won a talent contest with the updated version. At 12 I wrote my own songs. Then I wanted a better piano teacher, but couldn’t afford it. At 14 I discovered chamber music and the violin. For me the piano spoke to my heart and the violin echoed my soul. I couldn’t really find much in the way of a violin teacher. The dream faded. I wanted so badly to make time to learn enough theory to compose, but other priorities always drowned out the song.

In college I’d tuck a music course elective in here and there, but was becoming clear to me that it would never be. Ultimately, I decided that the brass ring had slipped through my hand. The dream never died.

I did make room for a hobby as a young adult. I did study theory and wrote more music. I used to lie awake at night listening to the strains of music in my head. The next day I would try to write them down. It wasn’t practical, but it was something that helped me through the hardest time of my life.

My beloved Mother developed cancer and died all too soon. When I remember that dreadful year of her chemo and radiation that ended at the cemetery all through it, I remember the music I was writing. I was singing to her the pinnacle of my compositions during her last day in the hospital. I think that God put the music in me for just that time.

The music faded away as I fell into my grief. Music never took me to a state of pure bliss. It did bear me through the dark hole of loss. It was the only earthly thing strong enough to distract me though that pivotal chapter of life, and death.

Beauty has the power to help us to process the unimaginable. We can walk down roads of song that we could never walk down in silence.Deep space seems to have a symphonic sound. The Holy Spirit, we are told in scripture, will make intercession for us with groans that are too deep for words. In the places that we cannot even find words, there may be music.

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Joy and Strength

Joy and Strength

Today I am joining the gang at Five Minute Friday’s at Kate Motaung’s blog. The word for today is JOY. Five Minutes-Free Writing-No excessive Edits

Go:

“The Joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Joy: it is the name of friends.
It is the word on one of my favorite teacups.
We see it plenty of times at Christmas.

Joy is something we all want to feel, but like all feelings it comes and it goes.
Much sought after and hard to hold on to; joy weaves itself in and out of my life. I wish I could say that joy is a feeling that I find myself in possession of frequently.

Joy is not really just a feeling. According to Nehemiah 8:10 it is the source of our strength.

Wow, strength is a word that I think I need even more than I need joy. I am beginning physical therapy this week. I have been run down with health problems and I need to keep my muscles strong while I heal. Strength is what I really need. The Word of God tells me that joy leads to strength.

Stop:

The Word tells us that finding our joy in the presence of the Lord is the ultimate strength.

All we need is God and we will have joy and strength.

We are not dependent upon health or feelings.

All we need is to be in God’s presence.

Growing Up Into My Three-Year-Old Self

Growing Up Into My Three-Year-Old Self

Three-year-old joy
Three-year-old joy

At the end of each of the hardest physical crashes of my life, I realized that I had been pretending to be someone I am not. I was pretending to be strong. Perhaps it was an unconscious attempt to fool myself into ignoring the physical symptoms of the fatigue. At any rate, I had to do some soul-searching each time and recovery included not only rest but a deliberate attempt to reconnect with my gentle, authentic nature.

Right now I have a picture of myself at age three on my inspiration wall. She had such an enthusiastic smile that little girl. What became of her? At that age I radiated joy because I still knew pure love. I had experienced cruelty from the neighbors, but I was so young that I didn’t know it would continue. I loved everyone and I still believed that everyone loved me. All people and all of God’s beautiful creation was filled with love. My Mommie told me that Love (that was God Himself) made the world go around. I believed it. I thought everyone knew God was all loving. I thought everyone knew Agape love. I could not have articulated these beliefs at three, but that was the world that I knew then.

My life is a process of growing back into that innocence. God is love. He has made everything good. All creations will one day be restored to what it was meant to be. We are here in this brokenness to learn to be our three-year-old selves in spite of the evil still prowling the world.

Leaning into JESUS, not our own strength, is the only way to grow a strong spirit. Meekness is the opposite of weakness. We can only be meek when we learn to let love grow stronger than fear. No one can be meek when they are operating out of fear. It requires the option of retaliation and we choose forgiveness instead. When our response is based on fear we are listening to the evil in the world not the love that comes from God.

Actual strength and wisdom only seem to occur when we go through the fires and the floods of this life and remain our gentle, loving, authentic selves and survive to reach the other side of one adversity after another. We spend so much time relying upon ourselves that we can lose touch with who we really are along the way. Learning to trust God enough to be our original selves in a harsh world usually involves much physical suffering and loss of strength. I wish I knew an easy way to reconnect with that three-year-old joy again. I will keep the picture up for a while as a reminder that the world is a glorious place full of wonder and awe. Love made the world. He is all good and we are His children.