real moments

Somebody should start a blog about real moments . . .

(Warning/Disclaimer/Preface: This post is highly philosophical in nature, more so than most previous posts. It is not very humorous or knee-slappingly funny, but it was something I had to write about. End of disclaimer.) 

Do you ever have those moments when life is finally so real? You realize something. You experience something. You feel taken aback. Or amazed. Or alive for the first time. All of a sudden, the shams of your “existence” don’t withstand or last or satisfy or matter. You’ve stolen a glance at a massive shiver of light, albeit through the cracks of walls erected between you and eternity.

Real moments are like spotlights in an otherwise dark theatre.

It happens when I have a late night walk with friends. Or listen to certain songs on repeat for indefinite time. Or have an ephiphany – even minor characters can have them. Or something happens that is unbelievable for the cynics and those who believe in luck or chance, or their children coincidence and accident. It happens when I’m running “late,” only to cross paths with someone, and one of us desperately needed to see the other.

Sometimes it’s felt through words on a page, in a story, on a song sheet. Today, my real moment was here:

“Sometimes it seems like the most real thing is what we can see and experience with our senses around us – this life, the tangible . . . Ideas like love, like God – these things sometimes feel more disconnected and ethereal, like that’s the ghostly realm. But what if that’s wrong, and God and love is actually what is most real, and we are more like ghosts walking upon the earth, hoping to become more real?” – Michael Gungor

Someone should start a blog about those moments, the real moments when we feel life and, even if but for a moment, become real ourselves.

a collection of signed things

Someone should start a blog about a collection of signed things . . .

I’ve owned a few signed things in my life: a copy of The Giver signed by Lois Lowry, a copy of Holes signed by Louis Sachar, and a few other books.

But on Saturday, I acrued my first signed poster! (That’s because I got to go to the Shane and Shane concert, plus Bethany Dillon and Freely, at Monaghan Baptist in Greenville.)

Here's the poster before it was signed. That's me at the concert.

It would be cool to read a blog about someone’s collection of signed things, or more specifically signed posters. The blog could include a little info on each concert, what it was like to meet the artist, and then be filled with concert pictures and pictures of the signed things.

As for me, this is the only signed poster I have to offer photos of:

Here's the poster after it was signed. That's my hand, holding it up to the door in my room.

Anyways, it was a very cool concert, my second “big” concert. Shane and Shane were harmonious as usual, and funny. Freely was an awesome band that I’d never heard of, and now I can’t stop hitting repeat when I listen to their song “More Beautiful.” Bethany Dillon was also solid, and even shared a new song with us.

where music comes from and the process of becoming a musician

Someone ought to start a blog about where music comes from and the process of becoming a musician . . .

How does someone become a musician? Is playing an instrument and being a musician the same thing?

From the ages of around six to thirteen, I took “official” piano lessons. Weekly meetings. Daily practices (or less frequent). Theory books. The whole nine yards. But I hated it. I never looked forward to practice. It was a forced thing.

So I quit when my mom finally let me. And I was out of piano for a year or two. When all of a sudden, something strange happened. I suddenly wanted to learn to play the piano. I wanted to be a musician.

The piano, my instrument of preference.

I started lessons again, this time with a different teacher. He was passionate, and seemed to stress practical things over theory. I loved it. I started learning chords. I started playing for fun. I started playing with the worship team and wherever I could. In that one year of lessons, I probably learned more than the whole eight years before.

One day in particular, I asked my teacher to play his favorite song. He sat down and played one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard, this thriving, driving song. When he finished, he confessed that he had written the song! What?! That was one of the coolest things that’s ever happened in my music life.

I kept playing, but not long after, school work started to take over my life (aka, I went to college). But just a few months into college, I met a friend who played the piano by ear. And, once again, music jumped into my heart. Watching him sit down and play inspired me so much. I started trying to play by ear. I would just sit down, and at first it was slow coming.

Today, I can sit at the piano and just play a song that comes from, well, I don’t know where. I wish I could have tracked this transformation from being someone who plays an instrument to a musician along the way, but I can only reflect on things in retrospect.

Just this week, two different friends shared two different quotes with me about where music comes from and what being a musician is. So I leave you with them:

“Music comes from a place we don’t know. It sort of comes through the fingers and toes.” – Chris Martin

“My goal is to live the truly religious life, and express it in my music. If you live it, when you play there’s no problem because the music is part of the whole thing. To be a musician is really something. It goes very, very deep. My music is the spiritual expression of what I am – my faith, my knowledge, my being.” – John Coltrane