Everyday Spirituality

Posts tagged ‘music’

Five Dollar Parking

 This weekend we continued our quest to find a church we would like to attend for the remaining months ahead. So this week we ventured into the downtown area of the city. We went to the local Cathedral. After driving the sixteen or so miles to reach the location, we were surprised by the parking situation. The biggest surprise was the five dollars it cost to park across the street to attend Mass.

Now granted we do have some people back home that bid much more than that for a single parking space for a year. But five dollars on a Sunday when people are attending church seems so greedy to me. In many other cities, on Sunday, parking is free in the nearby parking lots.

Well needless to say we will not be returning to the Cathedral very often. What if I did not have the cash money to pay for parking? Of course we were not aware if perhaps there was additional parking in another direction from the church building.

This experience gave new meaning to the gospel message of giving to Caesar what is his and to God what is his. This city has found a way to tap into both at one time. Not sure if it is clever or sneaky. The city was sure to get its share whether or not you were giving to God in the church.

The truth is any time you must divide your income or your time there is the potential for conflict and tension. In life we find ourselves in situations where more and more people want a portion of both your income and your time.

Before Mass began the presiding Deacon come down the main aisle and shook hands and personally greeted many people. He even asked us where we were from…how did he know we were visitors? I checked to see if our camera was visible, but it was in my husband’s pocket. I guess we just looked like we were not familiar with the worship space.


Sitting behind us were about six or seven young Dominicans, possibly seminarians. It was a pleasure to hear them singing throughout the Mass. Religious men chanting make for a unique prayer experience. Their voices are full, rich, and dynamic symbolic of what our spiritual life should be like.

This cathedral is also a Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The architecture is classic Victorian. The high pointy steeples are symbolic of our prayers rising up to the heavens. The choir loft houses an impressive pipe organ and the cathedral choir was very nice.

I must confess that the music at Mass greatly supports my overall state of prayer.  The music probably should not matter, but in reality it does matter, at least to me.

We are still on the hunt for a good Sunday homilist. This Sunday was adequate, but not that inspiring, yet better than most others we have heard in the last three months.

Yes, it now has officially been three months since we began living this foreign life…Living in a space that could fit in our living room at home. Housekeeping came today. Funny I actually look forward to their weekly visit. I guess it is at least someone to talk to. The last couple weeks we have had a different person cleaning our room, a man. He does a terrific job, nothing gets past him. He takes pride in his work. He wipes up the kitchen floor on his hands and knees. Pretty impressive.

In all fairness I must ask myself these questions…

How much in the past have I just taken for granted?

How many things went unappreciated?

How many things went unnoticed?

I am still wondering what God has in store for us here in this place. I am confident he does have a plan…a ‘plan for good’ just as he revealed to the prophet Jeremiah 29:11.

 

 

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Incomplete Words: Missing Letters

As I sit before the computer keyboard today I am at a loss for words. What more is there to say? What happens when we run out of words? Is that when we cease to exist? If there are no more words that need to be said that must be the end. I do not really believe lack of words is an ending.

There are times when words do not suffice. There are times when words get in the way. There are times when words are not necessary. If this is true then why do we miss the words once spoken by a loved one?

Many years ago I had a dream that I was sitting in the bath tub full of water reading what seemed like a newspaper. It was large and I had to lift up my arms to keep it out of the water. The letters seemed so black against the bright white paper.

I was not actually reading the words they were just there upon the page. Letters near each other forming words spread apart with white empty space. Some of the letters pushed into the top of the empty space, while others pushed below the invisible bottom line.

Just when I thought I could actually read what these letters had formed together they slowly began to slide into the bath water. They did not disappear or dissolve; they just floated about aimlessly in the water. Some of the letters gradually sank into the water, but still retaining their properties of color, shape and size.

What these letters had lost was their coherent ability to communicate. You see they needed to be with the other letters in order for me to decipher their message. Each letter alone could not convey the same message. Sometimes I feel like a letter that has fallen off the page searching for the rest of my word.

I think that is what it is like when a loved one is gone. Either their letter is missing from the word or you have dropped out of the word. I do not know which.

There are certainly times in a relationship when you can just ‘be’ and words are not necessary. Silence in a relationship is often thought of as a sign of mature love. We do not always speak words that convey our deepest feelings and emotions.

Returning to my dream; as the letters floated about the tub it came time to let the water out. From here I do not have a clear memory so I will create my own ending. I guess it is called artistic liberty. Here is the ending I would have wanted.

When the letters had all slipped down the drain, having no other choice; there were four letters remaining in the bottom of the tub.  Somehow these four letters manage to remain because when all else is gone these four letters find a way to cling to whatever they can. I know you can guess what four letters…L…O…V…E

They will always remain because they are fixed in the soul of the one who loves and fixed in the soul of the one who is loved.

The greatest of all is love. Love never dies or fades away. Love spans fathoms.

When there are no words to be spoken there is love. When no words can be spoken there is love. When the ears can no longer hear the spoken words there is love.

Sometimes the best way love can be expressed is through music. I am listening to Michael Hoope’s  CD Solace. Music has this magnificent ability to wrap around you and sneak into your heart.

I have not run out of words, they have just taken on a different context. Today the words are not on a page or on the bottom of the bathtub. Words today are in the silent recesses of my heart. There they are safe and will not fall from a page or slip down the drain.

~ The Numbness of Grief ~

Sometimes I just want to go to the top of a mountain and scream at the top of my lungs. There seems to be no release. Days go by and the heaviness of grief is numbing. I can understand why people get caught up in drugs and even those who cut themselves…sometimes you just want to feel something intense. Day after day you guard your emotions.

If I could dance I would be putting my feelings into some wildly expressive dance where everything could pour forth in silence. Reaching out far, stretching up high. The emotions could explode from the very core of my soul. Would dance soothe this deep inner pain? I can only perform this dance in the recesses of my mind while listening to music repeatedly.

 

The numbness of grief has a pain unique to itself unlike any other. It is a pain that sears your from the inside out. A pain you cannot hide from…a pain you cannot run away from.

If I was an accomplished pianist I would sit at the piano and play with such passion anyone listening would experience the intensity of the magnitude of my pain. Composer/Pianist, Michael Allen Harrison in his composition Fly Away best captures this state of grief for me. It is a heaviness played in the low bass clef and yet there is a light melody creating a delicate balance and then the oboe comes in with tears of lament. The tempo is like a solid drone. Life continues, the sun rises and the sun sets, but it will never be quite the same. The drum beat keeps everything moving forward with heavy footsteps.

 

Grief makes you want to turn yourself inside out, exposing who you truly are inside. I am at the foot of the cross with the Blessed Mother weeping and holding on to what I was taught and have believed since childhood. I am not alone, but I my tears are held close to my heart.

Do others have the right to enter into your personal space of grief?

 

Sometimes I think about taking a feather pillow and ripping it open; throwing all of the feathers into the air. Watching the soft white feathers slowly, quietly drifting one by one back to the ground, I find a comforting thought.

 

Tenderness is how I treasure the many memories…the times that can no longer be shared.

I have been reading Job and the Mystery of Suffering by Richard Rohr today and listening to music. Throughout the book of Job it is easy to identify with how abandoned he feels by God while at the same time being convicted of God’s love for him.

“If we take happiness from God’s hand,

must we not take sorrow, too?” Job 2:10

 

I had no plan to write these words today; they just flooded into my heart. I really cannot comprehend what my life would be like without music. Music is a spiritual experience for me almost mystical. Music is a retreat in the space of a few precious minutes. Heaven surely has ‘The’ most beautiful music. All of the different instruments harmonizing together remind me of the Body of Christ, the angels and saints worshiping and praising God together in harmony.

I sit with grief as my daily companion, both day and night. Grief is in my dreams. Grief walks beside me like the grim reaper.

I choose life.

I choose to walk in the light.

I choose to embrace all that is part of my journey here on this earth.

 

Below is a link for Fly Away by Michael Allen Harrison

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“Zest”

There are some people who say things that seem to not be bound by time. One of those people I think is Norman Vincent Peale. Here is one of his quotes “Think excitement, talk excitement, act out excitement and you are bound to become an excited person. Life will take on a new zest, deeper interest, and greater meaning. You can think, talk, and act yourself into dullness, or into monotony, or into unhappiness.  By the same process you can build up inspiration, excitement, and surging depth of joy.”

 …Life will take on a new zest… So what does the word zest mean?

Zest: flavor or interest; piquancy…spirited enjoyment gusto…hearty enjoyment and enthusiasm…exciting enjoyable quality…an exciting or interesting aspect of something that makes it particularly enjoyable…energy…stimulating.

I ask myself these questions regarding zest.  What is the zest in my life? What adds zest to my life? What can tingle my senses and my sense of being the way lemon zest does for your favorite dish? Zest from citrus fruits like the lemon is used so sparingly and yet can add just the right touch. Music I have decided is a big part of how I add zest to my life. Just the right music at just the right time can change my mood and feelings so quickly. When my husband and I were dating we had, as many couples do I suspect, our favorite song. Ours was by Elton John “Your Song” …”I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words how wonderful life is while you’re in the world.” Whenever it happens to be played at a wedding reception we always can be found on the dance floor held in each others arms remembering our first love. It might sound too mushy for some but it is true even after thirty-seven years.

Zest seems so insignificant and small but yet it adds so much flavor and compliments the other ingredients so well. That’s what music does it adds flavor to life. Christian Dior may create perfume but she says, “Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest.”

I invite you to take a moment and complete this phrase                                                                                                          _____________ add(s) zest to _____________.

Make it a Lemonade Day! Look for the zest in you life and create excitemnet!

Sharon for Faithtwins

Who am I?

Cassting Crowns muscial group has recorded an awesome song titled “Who Am I”. Today I receved this very creative video choreographed by a youth group in the Netherlands. It is inspiring to see the creative way they used white gloved hands and a blacklight. A blacklight reminescent of the  days of the flower children when it was so cool to party in a dark room with blacklights hanging form the ceiling.

I have this thing about hands. We use our hands for so many wonderful things. We can care, nuture, nourish, clean, pray, heal, comfort, entertain, praise, soothe, admonish, carress, and the list could go on all with our hands. God did an awesome thing when He gave us hands. Look at your hands and try to appreciate all the good that you can do with your hands. They are just one part of our whole body, but such an important part. Our hands can be graceful as a ballet dancer’s. Our hands can be strong when building a house. Our hands can welcome a stranger and make him feel welcomed. Our hands can applaude the accomplishments of another. Our hands can craddle the gift of life, a newborn baby. I appreciate the gift of our hands and pray that I use my hands in such a manner to give praise and glory to God in all ways.

Please enjoy this video yet another way to praise God with our hands.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CT7x3VnrqbA

Enjoy and God Bless,

Faith Twins

July 27, 2008

Hello world!

Welcome to my first post for faithtwins. Faith Twins, although not biological twins we are twins of the heart and soul. It reminds me of playing the piano. Have you ever played “Heart and Soul” with a friend on the piano? I remember how fun it was to sit on the piano bench side by side each person playing their part. The bass player kept the steady beat and the treble player could just let loose and play like crazy. Well that is how the faith twins harmonize together. We create programs that harmonize spirituality with our everyday lives. Lives filled with good, sad, anxious, joyful, loving times.

Today has been an extremely stressful day as one of the faith twins under went serious surgery this morning. Waiting to hear that all went well was the really hard part. We are so used to having everything done in “microwave” time. Relief was just a phone call away. At 12:30 I suddenly had the urge to light a tall candle to keep the vigil and remind me to pray; to surrender to God’s will.

Isaiah 43:4 “You are precious in my eyes.”

July 22,2008