music.

First of all, I’m terribly sorry I’ve not updated recently.  Secondly, (just as a heads up), I’m going to be on vacation for all of June (I leave tomorrow! Weird).  I may get a chance to post something while I’m gone, but it’s very doubtful.  I’ll have plenty to say when I get home, though.  Okay on to the real post!

This will be fairly quick, because there is SO MUCH I could say on this subject and not enough words to adequately convey my feelings.  During exam week, I’d been listening to quite a lot of Pandora, which is nice because I don’t have to worry about picking each song.  But every once in a while, a song will catch me off guard, gently pull at my heart, buffet me until I listen to it again, and grow on me every time I hear it.  I would listen to a hundred songs just to find one like this that touches something internal and refuses to budge.

I think it has to be a combination of lyrics and melody for it to stick.  The actual music is clearly more important, because there are hundreds of gorgeous, gorgeous pieces without any words at all that move me in a way that I really don’t understand (hello, Beethoven).  But I love it when the chords surprise you and the lyrics inspire or incite or raise up some emotion or make you think about something in a new way, and think deeply… And the two things, working together, intertwine to create something absolutely wonderful and amazing.

A few weeks ago I found myself literally tearing up at a song because of… just everything about it.  Music is relatable, and touching, and somehow creeps into your very heartbeat, taking something from creationand repurposing it.  It’s made up of sound, of vibrations – it literally moves you.  I think, of all of our senses, we tend to take hearing for granted.  Listen, right now.  There’s a lot happening around you that you’re barely aware of.

Anyway.  It’s a beautiful connection when their intensity and emotions somehow move me into emotion.  A bond is formed there, and you’re torn between wanting to share the song with everyone you meet and wanting to hold it close to your soul to play it on repeat as your personal anthem.  It’s intensely personal and wonderfully communal all at the same time.  Music both unites and speaks to you as an individual.  I don’t understand it, but it’s a beautiful thing.

So, yeah.  Heh.  If you couldn’t tell, I sort of love music, and the way it gets inside of you, and the power behind a good song.  Even the amount I sing in the shower is a pretty good indicator of my happiness and/or need for catharsis.  I’ve got so much to say about music in general, but I’ll leave it at that.

Recent obsessions:

Australia, The ShinsI love this.  I just… I just love it.

Hallelujah, Jeff Buckley.  I was actually crying at this.  Also I couldn’t decide between the above version and this one.

Little Talks, Of Monsters and Men.  I can’t take how beautiful this song/ the described relationship is.

Down in the Valley, The Head and the Heart.  I actually love Lost in my Mind just as much as the above (if not more?), but the music video is pretty and you can watch it at that link.

Breathe, Anna NalickI just… really like this.  Alright.

Old favorites that never get old:

Awakening, Switchfoot I think that hearing this in middle school was one of the first times I realized how cool music is.  It still makes me happy.

Death and All His Friends, Coldplay.  There’s… there’s something special about this one.  It always, very gently, touches something inside of me, calms me town, or makes me tear up.

ANY MUMFORD AND SONS EVER.  I can’t even tell you how good they are.  Sigh No More is one of the only physical CDs I own.  Here’s Awake My Soul.

Alright, my dears.  If I continued on with all the songs that I love, this would be far too long, so I’ll leave you with some Queen and Boston.  I hope you like classic rock.

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a confession

Hear this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpI5tJoncS0  <<Pertinent and on repeat.

Okay.

Lately…

I’ve been feeling a certain unrest in my soul.  By lately, I don’t mean the-past-week lately, although it’s certainly been resurfacing within recent weeks.  I want to do something important- something that matters.  I was talking to my friend about this, and she pointed out that that unrest wasn’t necessarily a bad thing- that in those moments, we don’t become complacent, but instead notice the things that we need to change and fix.  And I completely agree.

But I’ve been entirely too hard on myself.  I beat myself up all the time for not doing anything important, for not doing as well in school as I think I should do, for being less than others are.  I want to be great, and that sounds terrible as I type this, but this is a confession of sorts.  As I read these fantastic authors’ work, Dostoevsky, Keats, Joyce, Dickens, Shakespeare, Eliot, Donne, Lewis… I can’t help but want to join them in some way.

Is it bad that I yearn for greatness, to make a difference, to be known or remembered?  Not necessarily.  But my motives bear an explanation.  What has been driving me to such distress?  Do I crave this because God has placed it in me and because I want to say something important, change people’s hearts, and speak his truth as an instrument of his will?  Or do I simply want to make a name for myself, draw attention to my own talents and abilities, and be remembered by humanity for my skills and intelligence rather than the Holy Spirit inside of me?

I want to know I’m doing something important.  I want to have a purpose in this life.  And yes, I know my purpose is to praise God in whatever I’m doing, but it’s frustrating not knowing what he’s created and formed me for.

Comparing myself to others to gauge my own worth or progress isn’t helpful, either.  In fact, it’s terribly detrimental.  Whenever I try to measure myself off of others, which is something I struggle with every day, I can never come close.  I end up feeling stupid, out of place, and worthless, and that’s certainly not a good place to be.  I read the work of these beautiful, fantastic, amazingly brilliant authors and think to myself almost every day, I will never measure up.  I could never create such a thing of beauty as they have already, so why try? 

I focus in too closely on myself and let this selfishness grow until these worries consume me, pull me down, and pull me away from the problems of other people.  I could be showing them the love of God, but instead, I tear myself down from the inside out with worries about the future, about my calling, and about what I do with myself right now.

And… here’s the thing.  I’m not writing the next great American novel right now.  I haven’t produced anything radically world-altering or brilliant.  I don’t do something every day that would be considered successful in the eyes of the world… and that’s okay.

Trusting that God will guide me is hard, because I’m fallible, and I’m human, and I doubt and forget what he’s done for me every single day, getting mired down in stupid things.  But I’m trying.  Scratch that.  I don’t have to try, because nothing that I do could get me any closer to God.  He’s already done and given it all for me.  In my weakness, I rely on His strength.  And I’m not saying that I won’t relapse, or that everything will be fixed tomorrow.  I will, and it won’t.  These are things I struggle with all of the time, doubting and idolizing my intelligence or personal glory above God and His power and plans.

But He is changing me, and will show me what He has planned for me in His timing.  That’s a beautiful thing.  And although it’s dreadfully hard to rest in this uncertainty, He makes it a possibility.

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Read this: “Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam; and why of that loam whereto he was converted might they not stop a beer barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.” Hamlet, V.i

“There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will” V.ii

We’ve been in Hamlet for my Shakespeare class (it’s GREAT, I have a minor crush on him… problematic?), and he’s got a lot to say about fleeting greatness and God as the orchestrator of fate.  Well, he gets there.  Eventually.

in Christ alone

“In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.”

There’s just something about this song.  I’ve always thought it was older than it is.  It’s gorgeous, in any case, and always, always brings me back to where I need to be.  So sound theologically, and so beautiful.

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