5.07.2010

God and His Garden Rake


I have a few friends in my life that know me, not stupid facts like favorite this or thats, but really know me. When they have crazy stories that end at no point or some meaningless, yet random conclusion, they call me. Usually there are no boundaries to where any single conversation could go. There's a comfort level shared unlike what I might have with others. Everyone needs a person or two or several in their lives that they can call and just let it go, without facing judgment, without having the pressing need to be "on" or act or talk any certain way. Not that I am expressing a need to be "un-Godly" but I recognize that I've yet to reach "Monk" status and often times, it's as beneficial for them as it is for me. I love those guys.

So, I was out watering the new grass I planted yesterday after the sun went down and got to thinking about what an amazing thing water is. How many uses does water have, literally and metaphorically? When a fire blazes up, what is the first thing one goes for? Aside from an extinguisher of which I am ignorant of the contents. I think I read that our body weight is made up of 75% water and that our blood consists of 90% water. It covers something like around 70% of the Earth's surface. Grass, trees, life ceases to exist without it.

As I was watering the grass and thinking about water, I realized how fast it has come up, less than two weeks. The back yard rests under the shade of a large Oak and a Sycamore. The ground is hard and dry and almost nothing will grow under those trees, except weeds. After several failed attempts to plant grass in the last few years, I finally broke down and went out with a garden rake and really plowed up the ground. I had loosened up about an inch of top soil when I threw out the seed and watered it in, less than two weeks later its three inches high or so. I think that the difference this time was the work I put into preparing the soil versus the hard dry ground in attempts before. In the moment that I had remarked to myself about how fast the grass came up, the Holy Spirit or God in a wind, said very coolly, "It's the time of fertile soil. It's not I haven't been throwing seeds out in your life, but now they are falling on fertile ground."

I won't lie, I smiled a big smile and laughed out loud, thinking about God with his rake plowing up my life in order to prepare his seed to grow.

Later that evening I went into the Bible and started reading the parables about the sower and seed, about how the sower threw out seed in different areas, in one the ground was too hard, the birds came and ate the seed or the thorns choked it out, but the last there was fertile soil and the seed grew. Later on Jesus explains to his disciples that the seed is the word of God. Then I when I turned over to John, it talks in the first chapter about how the Word was with God and the Word was God. So, Jesus is the Word, the Word is the seed, my life is in a state of fertile soil. Hmmm. This is going to be an interesting endeavor. I like Sugar Maples.

5.06.2010

to paint a porch that needs no painting

I should be outside today, but I'm not. The weather is nice, the sun is out, the humidity is high. I need to be painting my porch. But for the moment I'd rather sit and drink some coffee. And while I am sitting and drinking a cup, by cup I mean pot, of coffee, I'd like to type some things that are on my mind, if only for myself to come back to later and ask "What was I thinking when I wrote that?"And usually the answer to that question is, "Well, I was drinking a pot of coffee."

This porch, oh man.. It has become my white whale. I have turned a simple task that should have taken me, or would have taken me several years ago, only two days at maximum, into a project that has allowed me at least something to do on a daily basis - for three weeks.

I was thinking about the last post that I wrote at around 1:00 a.m. after getting home from one of the most fun and productive tracking sessions in a while. Last night we got more done and had more fun, at least I think we did, than any previous sessions. My expectations put aside for the greater good, the result better than anything I would have expected.

The idea is about balance and how now that there is some balance in my life today, as a result I enjoy life more and tend to be more productive, minus the porch.

For several months after returning from the cabin and my experience, I've been seeking something in God. I haven't really been sure what that something was. I'm not even sure that I know what it is now. I have had an idea what it is not, for now. So, in my investigating of what this something may be and finding out for now what it is not, but not ruling anything out, I started seeking deeper things of God... and got sidetracked into trying to figure out why I wasn't supposed to pursue that which wasn't for me for now. Just like I set out to paint the porch today, but have sat typing this and drinking coffee. I grew a little in God while seeking one thing, but finding another.

But until I started doing some investigating, I think that things started getting out of balance again, and affected me relationally. It could have been that I was in a perpetually bad mood due to ending my prescription to a medicine, which caused some things to be out of balance too.

But on this idea of balance, take for instance a musician. If this musician devotes hours upon hours to practice and say, can just blow minds with the talent, but never learned how to use a metronome, the talent is out of balance. That musician probably would not be able to play with other musicians because he/she has no sense of timing; there probably would be no record of this musicians talent because it would be very difficult to capture, and the talent would left inclusive to his/her own enjoyment.

The same appears in my life as a believer. When things get out of balance, I become less effective and less productive - if I have to be productive. I don't just sit and enjoy relaxing in the love of the Father, transcending to the sound of the spirit's voice, hanging out in the presence of Jesus. And I find that usually in my spiritual life, the thing that causes all things to tip the scales, is my will.

So many times I want what I want, or I want things to go the way I want them... And usually it ends up not what I wanted to begin with. I may want God to do something, the way I want Him to do it, or want a result my way, I may even go after the result myself. It almost always ends up like playing a guitar without strings and my life makes no sound.

But things get back in balance when I seek God's will over what I want. Because of the last few days of investigating and finding that the thing I need for now is submission to God's will and complete surrender to the Holy Spirit, things started to become balanced again. Originally I set out to seek God in a way according to what I expected and wanted, and ended up growing His way. I learned a lesson not from the lesson I was seeking, but from the way I set out to learn the lesson.

Instead of panicking about not being where I think I should be or where others may be spiritually, I've been able to just relax in the love of the Father again and transcend by the music coming from the spirit of the artist... and with exception to this porch out there, things are more productive.

5.05.2010

insert clever title here.. because I don't have one


There is something almost transcendent about sitting down with an old acoustic guitar, taking a moment in time where you can just slow your pace in the world and sit and feel the strings under your fingers, locking into a groove floating around, the individual sound waves taking their place in the air as the notes hit your ears and you begin to smile. And what an amazing thing to be able to capture a moment like that, though some of the best moments take place in the absence of that little red light.

Several years ago, I lived in Nashville, a town where an audio "junkie" could definitely develop and feed an addiction, during a time when my spiritual life was rather out of balance.. and though Nashville is a great place for an audio junkie, it's not the best place for a person who has no balance. I definitely experienced those moments while making and recording music, though I could almost never remember them an hour later, and they were probably a little more on the side of "induced" than "transcendent."

I've been on the road of spirituality since leaving Nashville - and let me clarify so as not to be confused at this point that when I refer to 'spirituality' I am referring to seeking God in spirit and truth - and while not every project or individual song that I write or work on presently is geared toward being 'overtly spiritual', like many other things, it's as though music is connected to spirituality in some form- neat when inspired by the Spirit of God, and neat(er) when the spirit of the artist is crying out for God.

This is sort of a work in progress...

A few months ago I returned from a two month period I spent in the middle of nowhere, in Mississippi, in our family cabin. I say "family" cabin but it's more of a project that my dad and I have been working on over the last two years just to have a place to go when we need to get away. Some family have come by. But mostly just my dad and I.
It was previously a wood working shop owned by my granddad, it sits on a hill overlooking a pine plantation, a pond, and a hundred year old oak tree. After my granddad passed away, my dad and I started converting this shop into a cabin so that we would have a place to stay when we went hunting.
Over the past hunting season, 2009-2010, I was able to go and spend a couple of months there, alone, with nothing to keep me company except the quiet, and the wild. An effort to venture into a much needed transition from 28 year old "man-child" into a full blown man. I figured that as it stood, I was still afraid to be out in the wilderness alone, afraid of the dark, afraid to walk in the woods in the dark to a hunting stand, to harvest a deer and skin it by myself, and that at some point a boy must cross the threshold into manhood, fears dying, and this would be a great chance to do that.
The ultimate test in my mind was to harvest a deer, when I was ready, trail it through the woods, walk up to it and poke it to make sure it was dead, and then drag it off and skin it. I know that might sound a bit barbaric to some reading this...blame it on survival of the fittest.
The threshold to cross would actually be walking up to this animal where one of two things is going to happen: 1. Nothing and 2. It wouldn't be dead.
I won't say that I passed the test gracefully, but... I did pass my test.

During my stay I was able to do some soul searching, connect with nature, record some crazy acoustic music, read several good books and gain some valuable spiritual insight, if only of value to myself. And that, is how this blog has appeared.