Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ch-ch-changes (NFTPL #8)

Isn't funny how you can be so certain about something and then pow you come in contact with something that totally shifts your direction. Or maybe just slightly turns you a few degrees off from that course you were so set on. So when I came down to Los Angeles almost two months ago I was still planning on applying to Claremont Graduate School for a secondary Masters, with the idea of starting in January of 2011.

But like many things in life, especially major transitions, nothing has gone as I expected it. Including getting the twenty pages of research writing and letter of intent for my application and retaking the blasted GRE all of which is required for Claremont. In addition I have found out about more possible programs that could work with what I want to teach as a professor and might in the end be a better fit with who I am and what I want to do than Claremont...oh yeah and the price tags are cheaper! So as I enter into my third month living in California I find myself becoming open to the shifting and rumbling of direction that God is doing. I have no idea what or where this new twist will lead the one thing I do have is a greater sense of peace about not knowing and a growing ability to trust in the unknown. For the first time in my life more of me is excited about the possibility of new changes than fearful that everything will fall out from underneath me. If nothing else being here has been a place to breath and trust.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I've Been Away a Year and a Day (NFTPL # 6)




Six to seven years ago my dear friend Jillian took me to the Tractor Tavern in Ballard, Wa to see Deb Talan. Little did I know how defining that night would be or how I would walk away bound to Deb and her now husband Steve Tannen both as solo artists and as the band The Weepies http://www.theweepies.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Weepies. Since that first night, on what was their first tour as a couple and band, I have not passed up a chance to see them play live.

Two nights ago I was given the chance to see them again after a four year touring absence due in part to their having two little boys (if only they needed a nanny). My best friend had gotten me tickets as a birthday present months ago. When we got there I was a bit tired and grouchy...sunday had been full of driving all over Los Angeles for interviews and picking my godmother up from LAX, total side note I HATE LAX both as a traveler and pick up person it is a horribly confusing place makes me miss good ol' SETAC, any way all of that to say that I was super tired and as much as I LOVE to see Deb and Steve play I was not in the best concert viewing mood. Yet things started to move up as soon as we got to the historic El Ray theatre. First of all when we pulled up and got in line there was with cute redheaded girl in front of us who looked so very familiar but I couldn't seem to place her. Do you ever have that, where you see someone and you know that you know them but can't for the life of you figure out where you know them from? Then it hit me...she's an actress in a show that both of us watch. Since I was in line first I got to watch as Shiloh realized who this girl was...her face was glowing. "Is that?" she inquired. "Yes" I smiled back. And her next words I kid you not were, "Oh I have to text my parents right now". To which I laughed and said of course...her parents are super cool and fans of the tv show too.

Pretty soon we were in the theatre and suddenly I got this huge rush of homesickness for Seattle. The El Ray is beautiful and big what would constitute a mid-sized venue(if you keep out area shows which I do) in Seattle, about the size of the downtown Showbox if they also had an up stairs bar a quarter of the size of Nemos. First this is weird because I had never seen the Weepies play at a venue bigger than the Tractor in Seattle. There is something so wonderful and intimate about seeing a band you love in a venue that isn't that big. It becomes more like seeing old friends play than seeing a huge show. Don't get me wrong I want great things for this band but it is also hard when a band you have been seeing for years suddenly has all these fans with the screaming people that accompany the larger size shows. I remember a friend going to see Death Cab, who she had followed since high school, when they became super big..three albums ago, and her frustration with all the drunken frat boys who had suddenly taken over the show. That was a bit how I felt last night...but then they started playing and I remembered why I love seeing them play live in the first place because even before they got married Deb and Steve embodied a good right relationship on stage. Ever since that first show years ago their interaction and banter was the visual image of what my lonely heart wanted so badly. While both incredible solo artists they together are even more magical, and there is such whimsy and tenderness between them. I remember when one of them was playing solo stuff the other if they weren't playing would stand just off to the right of the stage gazing at the person on stage just beaming.

It has always been my hearts desire to find a life partner who I could co-create with and who I looked at and who looks at me with that glow that comes from being with someone you truly adore and feel so blessed to be with. The Weepies, from what I see, have that. Going to see them play calls to that desire drawing it out for me to examine again and offer it up to one who knows the end of my story. It is both a lavish and heartbreaking experience for me. So often I find my heart and mind echoing the lyrics of Deb's song "How Will He Find Me?" For unlike her I have yet to find my other half and so many days as an artist I feel my self floundering about wondering what the hell I am doing and if I will ever get to a place that does not include raising other peoples children but rather one where my talents and skills are well used and my huge heart is met by another... for now I have the Weepies to inspire and remind me of hope and that others have tread all paths of this journey before me and found life and art and love and beauty.

How will he find me-Deb Talan

If I don't stand out like a star among the moons
if I am always late and he always backs away too soon
I walk the world with a skin so thin
I can wear no adequate protection
everything comes crashing in.
If I'm too wide open for this place
but not enough for him to recognize my face

How will he find me
with no one's arms to gather me together?
How will he find me?
Only held by gravity, faded with uncertainty
no longer young and not that pretty
how will he ever find me?

It never seems to matter, the tears I cry.
There's a well inside of me that never runs dry
from being born I guess, and born in life until we die.
The music and the hope for love keep me alive
still I wonder, how will he find me?

And what shall I do with a drunken heart
with goggle eyes and the troubling hunger
reaching forward to trick mirror men
leaning out and in again.
If love is a game how can it be creation?
And if I'm wasting my time
how will he find me?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

(NFTPL #5)

Beautiful grace, these are the words that come to mind when I think about church this evening. Tonight I found God again in a well known night club in downtown Los Angeles. Church shopping has never been a favorite thing for me, so often it is awakard and weird because of being highlighted as the vistor. When I moved down I got a list of churches from friends to check out and try, one of these churches was Mosaic. I knew that it was more in the emergent vain similar to churches like Imago Dei in Portland, Fremont Abby & Church of the Beloved in Seattle, and Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids. In all honesty I had been trying to avoid going to one of the trendy churches but today because my dear best friend was sacked by illness I figured I would give it a try. To prepare and get a taste for the church I spent a few hours last night listening to sermon podcasts from the church. And just listening to these messages my heart was excited.

So this morning I decided that I would check out the service closest to me in Whitter before I went to a job interview this afternoon. I was so proud of my self getting up and out of the house to get to church. So with my map quest directions in tow, yes I totally need a gps badly, I set out to get to church in the 20 minutes google said it would take for me to get there. Only it didn't it took me an hour and a half to get there by which time church was over. Now at this point I could have given up and just tried another time but for whatever reason I felt compelled to go to church today. So I decided that I would try one of the evening services after my interview. In the end I decided that I would hit the first downtown evening service because the two pastors that listened to last night both preach at this service.

Anyway I got there directions in hand..and it was great. There was someone painting off to the side during the service and the music was good a little rock concert but good. In that moment I realized it is ok, because we are the generation that finds God in the concerts and movies and books what have you and it is good for a church to see where God is speaking not forcing God to be where we think God should be. Ok back to the service, it was like every aspect of the service was speaking to me...something that hadn't happened at the last few churches I have been to. The message was out of 1 John and the idea of becoming light it went beyond that, he spoke of light meaning that we are translucent light shining out from us. That when we are connected to God and bearing that light brighter as we are more connected to God and others. It was beautiful and I was drawn back to God. And next week I will go again.

This move has been so good for me, a continuing space for me to learn to trust. On of the little gems in the service tonight was this "faith draws us into the light" when he said this it was like being hit in the face by the Holy Spirit..."this is what I have been saying to you all week".