Sunday, July 26, 2009

After a sad, strange day....

When I woke up, today was much like any other day. Alarm went off too early, and as I slowly began to prepare myself, the biggest concern on my mind was what on earth to wear. Today was our one year anniversary in our new building, and we had planned a very special celebration service. So I wrestled with the idea that I should wear a skirt, even though my desire was to be comfortable in jeans and flip flops as usual. And then I received word that Rob, our 19 year old bass player, had been struck by a car and killed instantly on his way home from the county fair. Suddenly I was not as concerned with what to wear. I immediately went into "Bob's assistant mode" and began calling the people that I knew needed to know this information before they walked into the building. (It is not fun waking people up in the morning with bad news. It kinda sucks.) While I am relaying the news to the pastors and gathering the information that Bob asked me to gather for him, I am stunned. Rob is the same age as my son Collin. My youngest Max, had seen him at the fair yesterday. It was hard to get ready for the day while knowing that the worship team was devastated and still had to lead worship.

We arrived at the church and I did my best to continue with the responsibilities I have every Sunday. As I typed out the order of service, I knew that it was merely a suggestion, so I put on the bottom that Bob could change things at any given moment, and for everyone to be flexible. Silly me. About 10 minutes later, as we were sound checking the band, everything went dark. The power went out in the entire building. We found out later that an entire grid was out of power. After one minute of looking at each other dumbfounded, I said to Ed and Kris "Well, this is a game changer." We all sprang into action, moving a grand piano into the auditorium and grabbing acoustic guitars and the hand drums. Thank goodness for the emergency lights. They gave us just enough to be able to see our way around. One phone call to the amazing Alice got us enough candles to light the entire front of the stage and enable the musicians to see their music, and Bob to see his notes. Nothing was going to stop us from service today, however hard it was. I watched the worship team as Bob announced the news of Rob's passing. I watched my good friends Eric and Betsy cry. Eric had been mentoring Rob, teaching him the things he needed to know to be a worship leader. His passing hit him hard. In the midst of all of this, I really felt that God was doing something that we could not understand. There was a reason for the lights being out. Michael, another worship leader had stepped up to play bass for us today, even though he had planned to take the Sunday off. But we all knew that God didn't want anyone else playing bass today. As He would have it, the power stayed off all through worship. The lights came back on right as Bob was praying for the offering. I don't think that was a coincidence. I think it was all part of the grand plan for today.

Rob was a great kid. In all the conversations that I had with him, he was polite, funny and a joy to be around. He knew he was called to be a musician. He gave up a full ride scholarship just to play bass in the church. He wanted to play worship music, and he did. In my lifetime, I have known many famous musicians. Big names all. However, Rob was more mature than any of them. He had a gift and he shared it. Shared it in the truest sense of what it means to share. He didn't merely want you to hear him play, he wanted to share with you the glory of the music. That is what truly made him stand out. It wasn't about him, it was about Jesus. He understood who gave him the gift and he used it for God's glory. The lights went out and we had one of the best times of worship I have ever experienced. Rob would have loved it.

So I sat outside today, quietly crocheting. I needed something quiet to do so that I could process the events of the day. I am not one who cries, I am one who seeks understanding for why things happen. One of the things that occurred to me is that you can plan and prepare for things, but when the lights go out, you better have lots of candles. (God Bless Alice!) I know many who work in the media and I wondered what they would do if the lights went out. What would the politicians do. Would it mess up their plans? Because someday, maybe soon, the proverbial lights will go out, and if we are not prepared, then we too will be set into a panic and fall away from the things that really matter. Like our faith. Our belief. And there may not be an Alice to help us.

So my thoughts, though scattered, can best be summed up by this. Don't get so caught up in the day to day, in what you will wear, in what you will say and do. Remember to use your gifts to the glory of the one who gave them to you. Listen to those who try to mentor you. Be humble. Seek out the truth tenaciously. Cultivate your faith unceasingly. Strengthen your belief. And always be prepared for the lights to go out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's A Sacrifice, I Know.....

I have been craving two things for about two weeks now. One is sushi. Specifically spicy tuna rolls. The other is Indian food. Curry sauce. Yum. I actually dreamed I was eating Indian food last night. It's crossing the line between a simple craving and a full blown obsession. And the only obsession I have time for is shoes, as we all know.

So, I know what you are thinking. "Girl, just go out and get some and stop your whining." And that really would be the solution now, wouldn't it. Like I'm not smart enough to know that? I know this. There's a problem with the simple solution. The problem is most commonly known as ... my husband.

Now, before we examine this problem up close and personal, let me state for the record that I love my husband. I adore him. He is the most wonderful man. I find no flaw in him that I can't make a sacrifice for. So, that said, let me delve into why I can't indulge these two cravings at the moment.

My husband and I have loads in common. Loads. We hardly ever even notice our 10 year age difference. (He's older, thanks for asking) We have a lot of fun together. It's partly why I married him. But when it comes to food, we see things very differently.

I love ethnic food. All kinds of ethnic foods. I am an adventurous eater, all though I don't do crazy foods like cow tongue or deep fried bugs. My husband doesn't do ethnic foods. In his mind, the only acceptable Italian food is pizza or spaghetti, the Mexican he prefers is completely Americanized, a la Taco Bell, and he orders chow mien at Chinese places, which really isn't Chinese at all. I stick to a mostly raw, mostly vegetarian(leaning toward the vegan)diet while his favorite food is steak and white potatoes, preferably deep fried. Do you see the dilemma here? Do you understand now what I am dealing with?

Now on Monday I made the suggestion that we visit a local eatery that features really excellent sushi. On Mondays they offer it at half price. Good suggestion, right? Wrong. The response I got was: "Why? I don't like sushi." Now had I suggested we visit the local steakhouse, the response would have been something like: "Hurry up and get your shoes on already!"

So here is my point, although I took a long time to make it: Marriage is a sacrifice. You have to have give and take and you don't always get your way. It's the beauty of the sacrifice that makes the relationship deep and special. I think if more people gave up what they wanted for the other person, less marriages would end in divorce. A simplistic view of a complex problem, I realize, but if only people could see this going in. You see, I will eventually get my sushi. And I will continue to visit steakhouses and order salad. While I find my husband's aversion to ethnic foods a bit funny and something to tease him about, I respect his choices. And he respects mine. That's what makes our marriage work so well. And that is what makes my life work so well. However, I will have to wait for my next visit to Denver to see Nicole before I will get my Indian food fix. It's a sacrifice, I know.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Life at that certain age.

We all have that number in our head. You know, the one that we think when we reach it we will be officially old. It's different for everyone, but I think it is safe to assume that it falls somewhere after the 29th birthday. It arrives long after the "yippee, I'm an adult" euphoria of the 18th birthday and the "Awesome, now I can drink" partying of the 21st birthday. It definitely comes on the heels of discovering that life is not all bubblegum and roses. It is mundane and boring and (here's the real shocker) average.

So I reached one of these "milestone" birthdays recently. And I was fine with it until about a month before. That is when I realized that the world in general believes that a woman of "a certain age" is irrelevant to her community and culture. Let me explain.

You see, we here in America live and celebrate a youth oriented lifestyle. We celebrate the young and carefree. Our celebrities are either young up-and-comers, or women who dabble in diets and plastic surgeries to appear years younger than they really are. You rarely see women in their 50's taking lead roles. (Diane Keaton excluded) It is the exception, not the rule. So you see why suddenly I felt not a whit glamorous or fabulous anymore. Fashion was suddenly being dictated to me by girls who can't remember the 80's excess or the real problem with 70's disco pants.

This to me is a big tragedy. Why is it that we celebrate these kids who haven't learned yet that relationships should not be temporary and that there is more to the world then owning a D & G purse in every color of the rainbow. I want to hear from women who refuse to buy into the lie that Cinderella's life is the one we should covet. I mean, really, every princess should eventually transform into a wise queen who governs her world with compassion, kindness, modesty and restraint, thinking of the well-being of those she loves more than herself. Where are these women and why are they keeping silent? That is the question of the day.

So my birthday epiphany led to a resolution. I shall not remain silent in this world that insists that I should live quietly and raise my children and grandchildren and not make a scene. Nope, I will make a scene. Me and all my "irrelevant" friends who also share this "certain age." We will shop for the latest fashions that WE deem acceptable. We will go out for dinner and talk as loud as we want and laugh as much as we want. We will close out any dance floor near us just because we like to dance. And we will laugh at all these silly teens and 20 somethings who believe that they own the world. Oh, silly girls, don't you see? We do.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Welcome to the new....

So here it is, the new blog. For those of you who were fans of the old blog, you may not like this one. For the few who hated the old blog, you may find this one drastically different.

"What's changed?" you ask. Well, me, basically. After years of being a "yes" person and doing the right things and saying all the right things and pleasing all those around me all the while hiding what I really thought, I hit the end. I have fully decided to embrace being me, flaws and all, and finally report on the world as I see it, whether you like my opinions or not.

So, if you want to know what I think, follow along and feel free to comment. If not, well, stop visiting this site. We will miss you. Maybe.

So if you have read all this and are still with me, a new post is coming tomorrow entitled "Life at that certain age." See you then.