50 Words: Grief

The joy of knowing, of loving
The weight of absence
The treasure of friendship
The ache of longing
The comfort of heaven
The pain of separation
The sweetness of memory
The numbness of emotion
The confusion of guilt
The hope of eternity

Feeling everything and nothing in the same breath.

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Listening Parties, Liner Notes, and The Burning Edge of Dawn

It is apparently not a thing to have a listening party. But tonight, I made it a thing. The first expectant listen of Andrew Peterson’s new album, which I would have happily done (over and over again) on my own, but decided to wait for the company of my sweet roommate, who thankfully loves AP but had never heard of a listening party. It was clear attendance wasn’t optional, and she joyfully obliged. Grab a pillow, my friend, let’s open these liner notes and soak it all in.

Does anyone read them anymore? The liner notes used to be my favorite part of getting a new album. I’d pull off the plastic, wrestle with that pesky jewel case sticker, pop in the disc, and sit for hours listening over and over and over. I’d look at the pictures, read the lyrics, and try to glean some insight into the stories and emotion behind the music.

It’s how I learned the words to all six verses of Don McLean’s “American Pie,” and how I ever figured out what they were saying in songs like “One Week.” It’s how I became captivated by the beauty of Andrew Peterson’s songwriting. It’s when I started caring about what instruments were being played, and it’s how I fell in love with the hammered dulcimer.

I’d notice who contributed to each song, who produced the album, what inspired the songwriter, and who did he thank. Cover to cover. I would read every bit of that tiny print.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done that.

In this age of streaming music and digital downloads, the liner notes are cast aside. A forgotten concept in the world of music technology. I find myself listening to music without really hearing it. I recognize more songs, but I know less about the artists who wrote them. I don’t know all the words. Sometimes I miss what I used to love about music. I miss the concerts and the stories. I miss holding the CD in my hand. I miss the liner notes.

Tonight I am reminded. I am reminded to pay attention. It’s easy to glide through life without noticing the fine print. Without stopping to appreciate what is happening and who you encounter and why it matters. Without asking questions, or seeing the beauty that is hidden everywhere, or being thankful for the simple things. I want to stop and notice.

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The First Hint of Spring

When I think of Spring coming, I think of chilly mornings and sunny afternoons, shedding the winter coats, and shoes without socks. I think of birds chirping and seeing a daffodil poking up before its time. I usually think, oh no, little guy! It’s too soon! You’re too early! The frost (or snow!) will kill you! Did I miss it this year? The first hint of Spring? I was probably inside shivering.

This weekend is daylight savings. Spring forward. Sure, we may lose and hour of sleep, but springing forward certainly sounds better than falling backwards. With a little bit warmer weather, it does finally feel like spring is coming. I thought it might never arrive this year. Sometimes I get so caught up in the now, that I forget to look forward. It’s true sometimes we need to just focus on today. We only have grace for today, and tomorrow will have its own troubles. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34)

But sometimes, we need to look forward. We need to realize that today won’t always be hard, or maybe that today won’t always be joyful. We need perspective. We need to remember that heaven is real, and that this life is a fleeting breath in comparison.  When we cry “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!” and “How long, O Lord?”, we need to remember. In all of the waiting, we remember that there is so much more to look forward to. There is an eternity of beauty and worship and glory.

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.” 
― 
C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

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I’ve Got Nothing to Say

Ah, yes. The first blog post.

I probably won’t have anything unique to say here that you haven’t heard before. But if you are like me, I forget things. I forget to see the beauty in everyday life. I forget to remind myself of the truths of the gospel, of the goodness of God. I forget to be thankful. I forget to fight the good fight of faith.

Sometimes it doesn’t take much for me to forget. A suffering friend. A difficult memory. A lonely moment. An old fear. A hope deferred, again. And when I forget, doubt and unbelief creep in and steal my hope and stifle my joy. So I write to remember. My hope is that it will remind you, too.

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