...I know that becoming is a direction not a destination. Or to say it as Anais Nin "Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state.”
How beautiful a gift the ability to think.
Linger on that reality for a moment...
Today was an interesting day for me. I have been on a journey of discovery. And like some people I’ve been talking it out. One area of discovery has been human relationship to church, mainly what it was, what it has become, and what it’s becoming. So naturally I spent some time chatting with a pastor of a local church here in Ogden Utah. I asked him what his vision for the church was and is. Then I observed him struggle through a state of thought while the winds and waves of intention played their familiar melodies. He attempted to navigate the difficult task of sharing his vision. I did not see his words through eyes of anything but curiosity. I love this man. I am becoming more aware of the immediate limits surrounding that which we seek to understand. Vision, a word I will touch on later in the year, but for now I will stick to a short thought.
Our ability to understand the meaning of “vision” often supersedes the physical, thus we are lead to ask questions with the potential for truth revealed. And truth revealed is the foundation upon which meaning rests. Every word used in describing that which we attempt to understand refines the vision we have to better navigate the many waters, seasons and conditions of our lives.
You know one of my favorite things to witness are those moments when a person sits back and says, “Let me think about it.” And they actually ponder the idea. I love how their eyes dart back and forth as they, like superheroes, navigate the universe of thought searching for a way to put into words whatever it is they’re trying to get me to understand. It’s such a trip to witness the universal beauty of humanity in action. I believe humanity in action reveals our identity, Imago Dei, a term I’ve come to embrace. Image bearer of God. I embrace this identity not by somebodies words convincing me, but by the penetrating and dangerous love of God himself. So my words and opinions mean nothing apart from that which is far above me.
What does this have to do with music? It has everything to do with music. We all bear a responsibility to put to words that which we understand and believe to be most important.The actions of humanity speak louder than the words from the mouths of mankind. When we create we move, whether progressively or perniciously is determined by the motivation and observable outcome. This is a universal. So are you listening to that which is human? Every person who has ever spoken what they understand to be meaningful, do it as only humans do; artistically. We ponder, think, meditate or obsess on that which we seek to understand. Then we build continually atop the foundation of our understanding, mortared with faith, leading us to worship. Every human that has ever walked the Earth walked as worshiping beings revealed by their actions not their words.
This is in part why I believe becoming is a direction not a destination. I learned a valuable lesson on becoming from a very early age. I just didn’t know I learned the lesson till way later. I had to ponder, think and remember my past which was very difficult for me, often leading to emotional distraction. One memory in particular came about when looking back on my budding and insatiable love for music, mixed with pain and misunderstanding.
When I was in 7th grade I composed a piece of music on a little electric piano. This piano had basic recording capabilities with multiple track options. I would sit at the keyboard for hours and create music. I did not think then of what I was becoming, I just created. I loved the thrill of listening back to every piece, note and instrument I added to each piece. Like a puzzle from another world, I never knew what it looked like when I started, and to finish was such a huge challenge. That’s the beauty and frustration of music, finishing it requires insane amounts of focus. Over time my pieces of music became more complicated and difficult to capture. I would spend more and more time creating. I would always repeat a sort of mantra to myself when I wrote, “Simply complicated.” One week I spent almost all my free time creating a classical piece. It was beautiful with movements and dimension. It’s harmonies complemented one another offering tension and release with elegant resolves and a big finish. I remember being absolutely ecstatic to show my parents. I was going to show my mother first because she had a huge impact on my love for classical music. She always had such amazing stories and I loved hearing her heart for the greats. So to share this song with her was a huge moment for me. This was the first time I would ever share a completed musical creation with anyone. As she came down the stairs I didn’t waste any time and played the song. I remember looking at her, observing her every twitch, blink, breath. Her hand movements and body language, all as I listened with her, not wanting the moment to end.
Disappointment was what I took away from that moment. I was so confused as I played back, for years, her response. No sooner had the song finished than she told me to stop taking up space on the piano and to share with my siblings. She deleted the song without pause or acknowledgment to anything I had done. That was the last song I showed my mother.
It took me a long time and five children of my own to understand that my mother's response was more complicated than what I saw as apathetic betrayal. To become a musician and not be destroyed by the many failed responses, took me years to overcome. But to BECOME a musician you cannot avoid the inevitable reality of getting knocked down over and over and over again. It’s in the picking ourselves up that we gain muscle and are forced to confront the question of value. Is this worth doing?
What I’ve become through my many trials is a man, husband, father, friend and musician. Creation is in my blood and music the avenue to discovering the depth and meaning as God intended. It’s with great intention interwoven with hope that I create, for in creating we discover the unsearchable beauties of life. This becoming hopeful as a musician lead me to writing the first song on the album Water River Home; “Error of My Ways”.
...Next time I will go into the creation of Error of My Ways and how it exposes more than I would like to share about my struggle of addiction and its attack on identity. This struggle has often lead me to memories of being in nature. One specific story I want to touch on is the moment I sat on top of a rainbow in the rockies of Wyomings beautiful mountains. This album hits at the core of both humanity and nature.
Thank you all and I hope you have a beautiful day.