Tag Archives: Again with the epiphanies

I guess it’s time to blog again

I’ve been reading some blogs lately… new friends, old friends, family continue to use blogs in creative ways.

When I started blogging, I was in a rut at work. I loved the people I worked with but wasn’t feeling particularly fulfilled. I had my church gig and I was still conducting an orchestra for a high school theater program but I longed for more creativity. Oddly enough, I lost my job and immediately felt like I’d lost my identity. Even though I cried and prayed on the way to work that morning, getting laid off wasn’t the answer to the prayer “Please let something happen. I can’t stand this stress anymore.”

Since that fateful day (almost 5 years ago to the day), I’ve been fortunate to be working where I’ve dreamed of working for a  long time. It is stressful, being one of two people responsible for 700 computers, several servers and networking, is always a challenge but it is fulfilling.

And it leaves me time to be involved in other projects that I love. I just directed a musical at our community theater. First time I directed a community theater project.  Presently, I am music directing Pippin, a show that I’ve always loved. I am also working on A Festival of Lessons and Carols at our church. There are so many cool people involved – people from my current job, people from my church and other churches in the area, people from the theater, people of other faiths, children as young as second grade, adults as old as, well, me.

The other night, I facilitated a group of alumni who had participated in marching band at our high school. We cleaned out the room that holds all of the instruments that could be played by band members… if we had a band. These alumni are committed to help grow the instrumental music program at our alma mater.

It was during this alumni meeting that I injured my left hand. Musicians know how devastating a small nick, cut or squish of an appendage can be. When I began my freshman year in college as a music major, one of the sophomore trumpet players was recovering from a car accident. He hadn’t been badly hurt, but he split his lip, requiring stitches. The lack of practice over the summer, set him back in his studies. The scar tissue caused him to have to redesign his embouchure.

So, when my fingers got caught in the wooden hinge of an aging xylophone, I tried to jerk my hand back but it was getting crushed. The person on the end of the crushing realized what was going on and folded the hinge the other way, apologizing profusely adding that he saw the stars I was still seeing. Three days later, they’re stil tender, even while typing. Not sure how I played guitar last night at church. I think sang more than played.

But heck, I’m doing what I love – providing opportunites for others to be creative. Makes this fortune all the more sweet!

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Filed under Music, Musical Theater, Work

Question for God

I know You know the answer but why?

For the umpteenth time in my life, I’ve come to realize, yet again, that things happen for a reason and in God’s time, we’ll understand why.

When I lost my job in November, I was devastated. Who wouldn’t want me as an employee? I’m smart and funny and I care about what I do. The fact that my life at work was a living hell had little to do with the fact that I needed the salary. I endured the criticism and bullshit at that place with the help and support of some wonderful folks. I call them friends now.

My girlfriend, Mary Anne, allowed me to accompany her to her chemotherapy treatments at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. It was an honor and a privilege to spend time with her and experience her deep faith.

I spent a lot of time with my youngest brother and his wife and kids, I did a lot of babysitting/playing and it was very healing for me to be loved unconditionally after I had been so beaten up and battered at work (mentally).

When money got tight, my friend and former co-worker (who made his escape on his terms 6 months before my catastrophe) hired me to work with him at an exorbitant hourly rate and I’m still using money from those three months to pay bills. I also lived down the shore during this time, a treat even in winter and early spring!

I started to exercise and eat healthier. To date, I have ridden over 300 miles and lost 12 pounds. My goal is another 12 – 15 pounds by the end of September. Oh and another 450 miles!

Do you understand where I’m going? Do you realize, as I did last night, that God’s ways are not our ways and that gifts come in strange packages?

I spent a couple of hours with my girlfriend today. She is prepared for her death. There is a DVD of her life that she worked on with her brother. Her funeral service is planned, right down to the songs and readings. She and her family put together collages of pictures of friends and family. On Sunday, when I saw her she said “You’ve got to tell me how it went with your mom because I want to know what to expect.” I told her as matter-of-factly as I could how the end came for my mom. She also mentioned that she had letters she wanted to write to her son and daughter. She had a friend who wanted to do that before she died, but she never got the chance.

I spent the afternoon reading letters to her – letters that she had written two months ago to her mother- and father-in-law, three sisters, two brothers, mom and dad, son, daughter and husband. We made some additions and amendments. Then I printed them and she addressed envelopes and I stuffed and sealed them for her.

I pray that I have the grace to live as she is dying.

 

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Filed under Death, Life

My New Prayer

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

From Wikipedia:

Thomas Merton (31 January 1915 – 10 December 1968) was one of the most influential Catholic authors of the 20th century. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, in the American state of Kentucky, Merton was an acclaimed Catholic spiritual writer, poet, author and social activist. Merton wrote over 60 books, scores of essays and reviews, and is the ongoing subject of many biographies. Merton was also a proponent of inter-religious dialogue, engaging in spiritual dialogues with the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh and D. T. Suzuki. His life and career were suddenly cut short at age 53, when he was electrocuted stepping out of his bath.

As Eileen says: “he was da bomb!” I like that he was a regular guy with human faults and failings but he still had this incredible love for his Redeemer. He came into the world, like everyone else, captive to a tainted ancestry of human selfishness, greed, and violence that would inexorably graft itself unto his own heart. And I love the prayer which Eileen shares so freely on her blog (in case you missed the link the first time!) and which Merton shared with us.
Here’s what I like about it… In this phase of life, the human, walking on earth life, we don’t know what’s to come. Nor do we know that we’re doing it right. We can best guess it and try our best. This line brings tears to my eyes, 

But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You.

And the next line lays me out, face down on the ground, heaving huge sobs, 

And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I cry because I can now… but that’s another post. I pray, I really pray, that I will always have the desire to please God.  I know that I have faults and failings, like Merton, and that at this stage of my life, I should try to keep them in check. I mean Merton was 53 when he died and I’ve already outlived him by 3 years. 

 
So it’s time to get cracking. I’m way overdue. It’s time to curve that bitter tongue and those evil thoughts.  

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

God, I want to serve you with my whole being. So I’ll get out there on that bike and start praising while I’m cycling to better health. And I won’t binge on hot wings and Texas Toast anymore… only healthy foods for me! And I will put other’s needs before mine, because really, what do I need?

 

Creator, your world is beautiful. Help me to fit into that beauty somewhere, somehow.

 

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Filed under Life