21 May 2008

The Wilderness

I was working on a post last week all about the wilderness that I feel like I'm in right now. My friend calls it "the wasteland." I think I've been there since January or so, with a few good spells of refreshing (like the Lenten season). That's the short version, and I'll leave out all the blogtastically confessional melodramatic 'woe is me' details for now.

In the midst of the various things I'm dealing with and running away from, there is still the Gospel to contend with, of course. There are times when I'd rather actually be dealing with a whole wheelbarrow-ful of cow manure. But the truth of the Gospel isn't going away, and somehow it will bring redemption to the various fears and hurts and craziness. I feel like I need to run and hide a bit from various things and people (rightly or not), and hopefully the shelter I find is in the shadow of God's wings.

I'm learning about boasting all the more of my weaknesses (not one of my natural giftings). I'm definitely finding new things to boast about (I'll spare you here). Brick by brick, I need God to dismantle my false foundations--who I think I am, my identity and motivations apart from Christ. Who I'm being made into in Christ. I need to turn over every rock and repent. This could be a full time job.


I don't want for this to just be a blog o' my woes and emotional vomit (and yes, I do have other genuinely inter-personal channels in which to deal with my crap), so here are some good things going on:

  • in my current housing limbo, the Tullocks have graciously let me come and crash in their upstairs area for a couple weeks...the move a couple weekends ago was surprisingly smooth, and I've settled in as much as I can in just a two-week stay...I'll be moving again for the more indefinite future with another friend from church this coming Memorial Day weekend...
  • my mother and I have been vaguely talking about it for about a year now, but just recently things came together via my brother and his housemate (who works at an Apple store, I think) to get me a new MacBook Pro...I've been getting by for the last year and a half on a borrowed Tangerine iBook, so this is a bit of a step up...first things first: importing all my CDs into iTunes...
  • my friend Shannon and I are splitting a quarter-bushel share from the Community Supported Agriculture program of Avalon Acres farm...there's a food drop every Wednesday for 26 weeks...the first drop was a couple weeks ago, and the lettuce was scrumptious...last week's strawberries were amazing...I'm looking forward to the rest of the season's fun bounty...
  • my friends the Langsdorfs safely had their baby girl, Grace, last week...can't wait to meet her...
  • the unexpected (but not unwelcome) uptick in music stuff continues...I've been rehearsing with Seth Wood for an EP he's recording this weekend...I'll be rehearsing with Taylor Sorensen for his more acoustically-oriented side project, Kyiv, in preparation for a show in early June...and it's looking like I'll be sitting in on Treva and the Suits' CD release show at The Basement at the end of June...good stuff...but the extra work is keeping me up past my bedtime, for sure...

I suppose all of those could be summed up in the word Provision. Luxury, too, for some of them, but I'll tackle that idol another time.

Another little oasis was this past Friday evening. I went to my friends' wedding rehearsal over at the Tulip Street United Methodist Church here in East Nashville, and after the rehearsal they graciously let me crash the rehearsal dinner at The Acorn over by Centennial Park. At the end of that trying week, it was so good for me to be in the presence of so much joy and love among all kinds of family and friends, and I got to meet some great folks and just feel welcomed all around. The fellowship of the body of Christ, a beautiful blessed thing. And still but a shadow of the joy that awaits us. But thank God for those wonderful intimations of His abiding glory and presence. Things for me to remember in the midst of the soulache.

I know that Jesus is the answer. Sometimes I'm not sure how to get there, days when I feel more like I'm at the bottom of a pit. So He's going to have to come and rescue me. And I know that He is able.

He is able. Here's to a God whom death could not hold, who came to save His beloved, trading His glory to take on our skin and bones for a season out of eternity, who came to redeem what He created and created good. Let me rest assured of His beautiful love and favor upon me. Let me take Him at his word, that He will never leave me nor forsake me.

All other ground is sinking sand...

I have a new phone.

By which I mean, a new old phone. I am so averse to change, but my wireless plan (a since discontinued pay-as-you-go plan through Verizon that I've had for years now) was becoming less and less the bargain that it used to be as my usage has gone up, so I finally had to switch over to a conventional plan with a local Nashville area number.

My old phone will still be active for a while, with a voice mail greeting that tells you my new number. So please feel free to call that to get it, or email me, or ask me in person, "What's your new number? And what is that sexy new phone that you've got there?"

Speaking of which, I actually went through extra trouble to track down a recently discontinued model that has the closest interface to my old (long since discontinued) phone. The "new" one is an LG VX-3450. I don't even remember what my old model was--it was a gracious hand-me-down from my brother when I first got the aforementioned cell plan. And I only got that because I was going to be house-sitting for some friends for a few months in a place without a land line. I am a rather late adopter of new technologies. So be it.

01 May 2008

Patience is easy for the first 10 minutes.

Actually, I feel relatively good about life right now. Here's a more mundane update on some other things that have been going on the last couple weeks, particularly on the music front.

I've been sitting in on rehearsals and gigs with Charlie Murphey's new band, Old Bear, some combination of bass and cello stuff. Did a bit of recording for an EP he's working on, too. He does good stuff, and it's been neat to see his music take a certain shape with a band behind it, giving him a chance to rock out a bit more with a rhythm section. So the last couple weeks have seen gigs at the Mercy Lounge, 12th & Porter, and now tonight at the Rutledge, opening for Drew Holcomb and Matthew Perryman Jones. Should be a good one.

But first up after work this afternoon is Siloam Family Health Center's volunteer appreciation party. I've been going there every Friday morning for a year now, and I love it. Usually I'm printing up various lists from their system and pulling charts for the upcoming clinic days, sometimes I get redirected to other little things that they need done. I am not medically inclined whatsoever, and I'm realizing that I'm even more squeamish about a lot of things than I thought I was. And that's ok. I have a place and a work to do there. I can partner with them in small ways, join them in their prayer times, show up for the culture-gram lunches, just chat with all the folks that I've gotten to know this last year, some of whom go to my church.

There's definitely something to be said for just showing up week after week, and I feel both a sense of belonging to and ownership of their labors. I feel loved and appreciated, and there are so many great folks--both staff and volunteer--who commit so much of their time and talents in the service of Siloam's mission: "to share the love of Christ by serving those in need through health care."