Posts Tagged ‘create

26
Oct
21

Singing In the Rain

Traveling is cool. In fact, I am – at this very moment – traveling down the Danube River with Joan in a COVID-delayed celebration of our 20th wedding anniversary. We are seeing places like Budapest, Vienna, Krems, Remmsberg, and others at an absolutely GLORIOUS time of year.

I also love watching any kind of live sports. The experience of seeing one’s favorite, previously invincible NFL team devolve into a disorganized mess right before one’s eyes takes a bit of the shine off that joy…

… but I still get a real kick out of it.

EATING is another favorite pastime of mine. I love the taste, the smell, the feel, the social dimension, the process, really the whole thing. Unless the menu includes liver, olives, or tripe, I will tuck into just about anything with great gusto.

I am also a HUGE fan of reading. Give me a book with a great plot and good writing and I will be as happy as a clam for hours.

But you know what I really, really, REALLY love? There are not too many things that grab my soul and stir my heart like ORGANIZED GROUP SINGING. 

Honestly.

I love every single part of it. I love opening a new piece of sheet music and hearing the accompanist play it for the first time. I love sitting with my peers in the bass section and groping tentatively for the right notes. I love the gentle glow of confidence that begins to spread through my limbs as we start to hit more notes than we miss. I love it when the individual sections start coming together to form a rich, resonating, seamless harmony.

And I travel to the outer edge of ecstasy when all of us together finally present our harmonious offering to waiting ears. 

Singing with a group creates a mystical connection… between each of the singers and with those listening. It causes a spiritual “welding” of the singers to the artistic vision of the composer… raising each of us to that same rarified plane of experience, if only for a few, fleeting minutes. 

Being part of a choir puts you right into the middle of pure melodious resonance. 

I might be getting a little hyperbolic here, but what the heck! I’m going to go so far as to say that when different voices blend and harmonize, group singing offers one a little foretaste of heaven. 

From many, one.

Harmony in diversity.

As an extra bonus, I open the pages of scripture and discover that pursuing this avocation of mine ALSO allows me to follow the commands of scripture… to wit, “Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.” (Psalm 100:2 NRSV). 

Oh, how I LOVE organized group singing. And oh, how I miss it TERRIBLY

It has been more than two years since I have sung in any kind of group. Once again, the prime culprit is COVID. And sadly, the church we now attend – despite all its other sterling, positive qualities – does NOT have a choir. 

So, what’s a guy to do? How can I satisfy my “choir jones”?

I toss the question to God and receive… silence. 

Over the years I have learned (the hard way, I might add) that silence is often an answer in disguise. It is the answer that says, “Wait. Wait patiently to see what I will do. There is a time for an answer, but that time is MYtime… it is not yours. Wait.”

Or, as the prophet Isaiah said, “… those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31, NRSV).

So, I wait. And watch. And while I wait, I sing in the shower, out on the trail, in the grocery store, and LOUDLY in the car.

Come on… anybody want to join in?

Abundant blessings;

16
Feb
21

Something from Nothing

For some time now I have had a soft spot in my heart for entrepreneurs.

Take Frederick W. Smith, for example. While a student in the business school at Yale University, Smith wrote a paper that outlined a wacky idea for an overnight package delivery service. 

Smith got a “C” on the paper, along with his professor’s gentle reminder that the assignment was to write about a business idea that actually had a chance of being implemented.

Undaunted, young Mr. Smith decided he really believed in what he had written and decided to go out and make it happen. The business Smith described in that “C” paper turned out to be the blueprint for the company that is known today as Federal Express… the company Smith still serves as chairman and CEO.

Through my undergraduate years, I remember hearing the stories of the steam engine stoker turned insurance salesman turned filling station operator named Harlan Sanders who – in his spare time – tinkered around with different combinations of herbs and spices and a method of pressure-frying chicken that eventually took America by storm under the brand name Kentucky Fried Chicken

I was fascinated by the tale of the milkshake mixer salesman named Ray Kroc who helped a couple of brothers named McDonald franchise their simple-menu hamburger stand concept that ultimately created an entirely new category of restaurant.

As I began to study them, I noticed that most entrepreneur stories seemed to follow a similar arc. They each seemed to begin with a restless spirit and a curious mind trapped inside a dull, one-dimensional job. That mind asks – and keeps asking – “What if…?” somehow impervious to all of the voices of reason that counsel the safe path. 

Bold leaps are taken… usually with disastrously disappointing initial results. Nevertheless, the Restless Spiritsoldiers on. He or she makes major and minor adjustments to the vision before hazarding the climb back up the ladder to the high dive platform. Friends, family members, distant relatives, all offer The Restless Spirittheir sincerely considered advice, saying that it is probably time to discard the pipe dream and get back to work on something proven and practical.

But then, in a scene reminiscent of the movie Castaway (starring Tom Hanks), the tinder of that ridiculous idea suddenly begins to smoke… we see a tiny flame somewhere down there at the bottom. That tiny flame grows and grows until it finally becomes an epic bonfire of business success. 

Or maybe it doesn’t. Ever.

But as is the case with most entrepreneurs I have ever met, the lack of a tangible result does not stop or even slow them down. They just keep plugging away.

In that sense, the instinct to entrepreneurism seems to have a lot in common with the instinct toward art. Somewhere, somehow in the deep recesses of the mind of the artist (and/or the entrepreneur), a seed is dropped. There our little seed finds fertile soil, moisture, warmth, and an energizing spark. The seed coat is broken and the radicle, the plumule, and the cotyledons (yes… I Googled all of those words) begin to unfold, gasping hungrily toward the rays of the morning sun. 

The artist/entrepreneur nurtures the tender shoot, strategically clearing its path of obstacles and threats until it begins to demonstrate a more robust grip on its surroundings. 

And in the process, each of these experiences the sheer joy of creating SOMETHING out of NOTHING. 

But you know what else? It is also the joy that motivated God to create YOU and ME and our amazing WORLD in the first place. It is also the joy that God planted within the breast of every one of us. It is the joy that we are each invited to experience… whether we see ourselves as artists or entrepreneurs or not. 

When the Bible tells us we are made, “… in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), it means that we are endowed with the same core traits as the One who made us. It means that if God is love, WE are love. It means if God is about relationships, WE are about relationships. It means if God creates, WE create.

What will you create today?

Abundant blessings;




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