I miss running. The only reason I don’t do it more often is that Elsinore is cold as a braving a blizzard barefoot in the mornings. Even when I’m not too tired to get up before everyone else, it’s just too cold. It’s funny how saying this reminds me of something interesting I just read on twitter:

“Circumstances are the rulers of the weak, the instruments of the wise.”

Hah, so now you see how lazy I usually am. Well, Saturday morning we slept in, so I took the opportunity to drag my butt out of bed and hit my 3 mile course. I honestly believe that there’s something deep in me that wakes only when I run, like the rhythm of my legs pumping up and down or my heart rate accelerating rapidly, pushing fresh, rich blood into my body’s extremities igniting fires that had long lie dormant. They pour understanding through me washing my insides warmly, letting my thoughts run free and granting my mind clarity, like a shower for my soul. That’s exactly what it is! It’s a type of spiritual cleansing! I always feel so fresh afterwards; a regenerating therapy.

God’s been putting me through a great deal of therapy lately, it would seem. Everything has had the potential for healing. I’ve been picking up my trumpet a couple of times a week for the last month or so after Pastor Wells urged me to use the far side of our church warehouse as a retreat and practice facility. I’m falling back in love with my instrument, and with myself oddly enough. I’m thoroughly convinced that no one really knows themselves until they’ve attempted to discipline themselves. I’m catching all of my inconsistencies and idiosyncrasies as I play, the way I set my lips differently for different ranges on my horn, the way my fingers get arrogant on some scales and attempt to jump to a new note before the first has been completely born, how the same note can sound different each of the three times I play it in a row, and even how I’ll repeat a few notes over and over, not until it’s consistently perfect, but just until it’s manageable.

All of these things are consistent with my character throughout the other areas of my life.

I feel as if I can see myself much better than before, and that now, I can change the things I don’t want to see there. Sometimes we’re blind, and sometimes we’re powerless, but now I can both see and act, it’s a beautiful place! I love myself more than I usually do because I understand what I’m doing and why I do it, and so I appreciate those little things for what they are, even if they have to change. That’s a big deal for someone who constantly hovers mere feet away from feeling worthless.

And while we’re speaking of music, here’s a few songs I’ve found myself in love with recently:

Christian Scott- American’t

I haven’t taken the time to really dwell on the meaning of the song, but I love the guitar riffs at the beginning and the odd meter throughout the song really just resonate in me. I love the tinge of sadness mixed with this sort of boldness and hint of aggression. It’s downright defiant at times, but it isn’t angry, it’s just tenacious, especially during the trumpet solo as it approaches 4:00. If I had to sum it all up: this song is one of strong and somber determination. I think it fits me.

Big Boi feat. Janelle Monae- Be Still

The way this song starts is incredible, the piano, then Janelle humming, then the bass and backgrounds? Absolutely gorgeous song, it captures me every time I hear it. The instrumental voicing is beautiful. And Janelle? Lord, I love this woman’s voice! It’s so golden, sultry, and soulful and it speaks with a wisdom and maturity that can’t be replicated. The lyrics of the hook are really what make this track special for me though.

Be still young heart, [and] never will you fall apart

Be still young heart, [and] never will you fall apart

Be wise my dear, you must learn to just be still until you really really know

Show me you’re right, shine the light

I wonder when will I know?

At first those words echoed my heart to someone, then without warning they turned around and spoke to me even more strongly. This song could not have been more timely, and it ministers to me every time I hear it.

Christian Scott- Isadora

The hollow feeling in this song echoed my own for a while when I first heard it, and I welcomed it. It’s always a privilege to have a companion in sorrow.. There is no higher praise I can give this song than that the long, remorseful muted trumpet tones sat down with me and reminisced about our past love and heart breaks as the sparing cymbal and snare taps gave us an anchor to keep us from becoming lost in the riptide of pain and bitterness while descending triplet patterns shared by piano and guitars twinkled rhythmically above us so that we could never forget the God who keeps His promises. Both to Abraham, and to me.

By the way, if you don’t have a Grooveshark account, you need to get on that mess!, you can sign up with your Facebook account, it allows you to search from a considerable library of music to assemble online playlists and the like! I’m in love with it because there’s a lot of music I’m too broke to buy, so when I hear it here, I know if it’s worth my money or not. Some of the newer stuff isn’t here, and the more obscure artists I listen to don’t always have full catalogs, but it’s the best website for this type of thing that I’ve seen yet!

Work is amazing! Everyday is an entirely new experience and everyone is teaching me so much! Even my boss entertains conversations with me about her doctorate papers and how they’re affecting her perspective and the way we operate as a school. I’ve never been around a group of people that care so much in a working environment. I’m also happy to say that I’m getting to know these kids a little deeper than surface level and really learning not only what they enjoy, like, want, etc., but what they need. I understand that they are kids and that they need to be treated that way, but on the other hand, they are little people with complex personalities and wide arrays of emotions, thoughts, and behavioral patterns that must be addressed sufficiently individually and collectively. I’m at the same time overjoyed and pained that I know some of these kids better than my Sr. and Jr. High kids at Mt. View. I’m thoroughly convinced anew that the way we do church must change if we’re truly going to build life-changing communities.

It makes me chuckle because that’s exactly what our school’s philosophy is.

It’s one in a network of that adhere to what’s called “The Montessori Method” where children inhabit into a prepared environment and are primarily self-taught through various learning instruments and the teachers become facilitators, interacting only to aid the learning process (setting rules, resolving disputes, etc.) This weaves into the River Springs philosophy beautifully, here’s the first sentence:

River Springs Charter School is more than just a school for children; it’s a community for families.

Sound much like church? It’s all about communities being formed to both aid and allow people to grow and develop into virtuous and competent individuals so that the community may prosper.

How can the church do this better? I had an interesting thought as I was coming home from work today: Discipling believers to maturity and then equipping them to reproduce it in their neighborhoods and workplaces! Its pretty simple yet quite profound! The church building was never meant to be “the community”. Praise God for churches that have become and are becoming little cities, but it’s not enough. Neither is simply trying to plant enough churches to have one in every mile of every city, that takes too long and even then, vicinity doesn’t guarantee community when we live in a world where people work and go to school far from where they live oftentimes. Instead, what we need are networks. It’s still kinda messy since I thought it up like an hour ago, but for instance: there are a handful of Christians working at the same school I do. If we can have weekly meetings just to study the word, pray for our school, staff, children, and families, and be mindful of the fact that we’re on mission on campus, we will have established a healthy, God-centered work environment (community) where the Kingdom can come to pass day by day around us. The local church should be an anchor for a multitude of communities with each of us being responsible in some way for maintaining the smaller ones in our more personal spheres. When it’s all said and done, we each still have our home churches, families, and neighborhoods, but since we are going to see each other several times every week anyway, we already have a community. I think it makes sense to use it better instead of making new ones all the time. Thoughts? Critiques? Additions? Let me know what you think.

I apologize that my thoughts are kind of jumbled, I just wanted to take a short departure from blogging about the book I’m reading, it got kind of cumbersome for me. And it felt like I was being too weighty and serious, so I wanted to switch it up a little. My plan is to resume my journey through Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus next blog! May the grace of God be with each of you who reads this!

Any thoughts?

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