Saturday, April 7, 2012

Existential Crisis (Part 1)

I actually wrote the previous blog a awhile ago.

Since then I am actually back on the composing wagon.

For the past few months I’ve been dealing with what I have deemed an existential crisis. Perhaps not a dramatic one, not one where I am questioning my worth, or why we live on this planet, but I am asking why compose?

What value does art bring people? I became interested in music because I believed that it could change the world.

I was 19 when I began to believe that I could literally change the world with music. I am 26 now, and I wonder if I was just a naive kid.

I feel like art these days is just used to entertain, distract and escape. I think those things, because I feel like that is all I use art for.

A few weeks ago I posted on my facebook, “what is the value of art?” It was the beginning of a long series of conversations with others about why they think art is important.

I recently went on a trip to colorado, and had the opportunity to discuss with many others why, or if art is important, it was a really great experience, and I gained a lot from my conversations with others.

One of the first things I came across that was helpful for me was my friend Dmitri: Dmitri is a talented and disciplined artist who went to RMCAD (Rocky Mountain School of Art and Design) he noted how art has transcended every culture and that there hasn’t been a single civilization without some kind of art.

While I can’t put my finger on why, I find this idea is intriguing, and oddly inspiring.

Dmitri also noted that every artist struggles with what I am struggling with in some way, and that (he believes) successful artists figure out some way to deal with it.

Another conversation that was really helpful was with Jackie’s Mom, which was no surprise to me, I’ve always been inspired by Rebecca. She is one of those people that I have had conversations with, and the course of my life is changed by something that she said.

Rebecca mentioned a few things

She talked about the creative process and how it is important for each individual; how the creative process is enlightening in the journey to self discovery, and that is always valuable. My friend Bryan Grosbach, said something similar, and the more I think about it, I agree.

Rebecca also asked me about important moments in my life, and things that brought about change. Unfortunately my memory doesn’t work like that, so I asked her what moments in her life brought about change. She didn’t entirely have an answer, but she did remember a song that helped her deal with a really rough situation. She remembered drawing strength from that song.

Since this is a legitimate existential crisis, just one or two answers isn’t enough. I kept searching.

A brief side note:

For those of you that don’t know; I believe that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah, I believe that he was dead, but is now alive, and not metaphorically, I believe that He is literally alive, and the one that the descendants of Abraham were waiting for.

I say that to say this: a lot of my conversations shifted towards God, and God’s purpose for me, and glorifying God, and for whatever reason, right now, that isn’t enough for me.

Another conversation that had a lot of meaning to me was the conversation I had with Jake Denham. I don’t remember how it started but we realized in the midst, that we were both in the same place.

For those of you that don’t know Jake: Jake owns his own carpet cleaning business, and has made more than stable income off of it for several years now. Jake and his wife Hilary recently had a baby, her name is Addie (she is a cutie). Jake and Hilary both work for the carpet cleaning company and are able to support themselves completely off there business, it is safe to say that it is successful.

In the midst of the success Jake couldn’t help but ask himself, what’s the point?

While I am not ambitious enough to explain everything that Jake was dealing with, I will say that we understood where the other was coming from, even though our creativity mediums are hot cold different.

Jake and I share a deep infatuation with Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, and at one point Jake said “that series is so epic, it changed my life.” Jake might have regretted saying that to me, because I instantly latched onto it.

“How?” I said.
“How has the dark tower changed your life?”
“I can’t think of a specific thing, or a specific moment, but everything, every experience, whether or not I can remember it has shaped who I am right now. And I know that The dark tower is a part of that.” Jake looked at me with love in his eyes, and we both wept (unfortunately this was in the middle of King Soopers (grocery store for you Illinoisans (and we weren’t the only ones weeping... )))

Something has been building in me.

I wonder about moments that shape who people are.

I wonder about those moments that absolutely change the course of lives.

The moments that people decide to be different, different than who the have been.

I want to know my your (yes you) moments. Tell me.

To Be Continued...


  1. If God is real and living, and is meant to be worshiped with all that I am, than all I can give Him is all He gave me. Anything less than that is cheap. If your gift is music, then keep growing in that. If you lose sight of your purpose remember WHAT God is, How, as your husband he supports all you do, How, as your father he carefully, lovingly, and gently shapes you, How, as your saviour he provides for everything you require (therefore anything you do not have you must not require).
    Dry spells or endless seas of doubt point directly to the Lord, the authority in our hearts, screaming 'find faith!' We've been given the full measure of faith, and when we seem to be lacking, we've just lost sight of it, wandering into the wilds off the beaten track. Not a problem. This is training. Faith comes by hearing, and not earthly wisdom. The word with the spirit on it is the only thing that will hydrate that chapped ground in your heart.
    All God's promises are yes and amen, but we do not know how to receive them. We also ask amiss constantly because we don't understand God's judgement. He made the earth and called it good; he sent a son so his people might hear they're good. God's judgement is: it's all good. Ask for what your heart desires, and be willing to have those desires sifted, divided, ground up, burned up, and purified until the stuff that is good for eating is the stuff God says is good for eating. All else is unprofitable; good, but unprofitable.
    The work of your hands, the headboard, produces something. It's awesome to be productive, but it remains earthly unless it makes God shine in your heart: All To His Glory! God took our ability to be acceptable to Him out of our hands with Jesus, so you can't actually find real satisfaction by producing something you can see and feel. Likewise, I fancy myself a writer. The moment I think 'Hey, this one's pretty good' I begin lifting the gift up rather than the giver. But writing IS what I've been given. So I write. I don't know if it's meant to touch the world, or just one heart, but it's in me to do so I must. Your music is you. We are only vessels: created by him, loved unendingly, and purposed acutely. Plus there's grace for when I pick up my own life and forget I'm just a vessel for his excellency. A piece that has come through you is purposed to be played: not sit in a folder on your computer. You can ask anything of the Lord and He will give it to you.

  2. Do not fear man's face when you submit your music: they also are only vessels, and the heart of the king is in the hands of the lord. Whether they accept or reject you doesn't make you any sort of successful because the only real success is growth in the kingdom. Whether I abase or I abound I am in Him; as I grow in the kingdom I grow in stature both with God and Man; seeking first the kingdom, all this will be added unto me. It's a practical walk and he's actually a really cool God. Above all, what I've found in the last couple years is that he's freaking real. He isn't just somewhere above or beyond the clouds, and he isn't just a concept, and I don't spout Christianese to convince people or make myself feel founded. But God has shown up in an actual practical way, Spirit in Man, and he has drawn close. We can walk with him as Adam did in the garden. People reject that because they never have. So be it unto them according to their faith. I remember meeting you, and I remember praying with you on the bus on choir tour, and I remember what I saw. Do you? God is not afar off and He is Reachable. He doesn't look like we thought and he certainly won't leave you hanging. Be encouraged, for the good times are easy but the dry times are for the sounding of our faith, it's depth and longevity. Your faith isn't to get you through the dry, it's to GROW YOU IN IT. One doesn't muck about in soggy weather, you wait until the ground dries to turn the soil and prepare it for seed. This time of questioning is tough, but it's for the testing of brittle mindsets: God's temple is strong and doesn't what's shaking must not be God's, but someone else's.
    We've been deceived: the other guy came in like an actor, dressed to the nines with the bearing of a king and told us to do this and do that, to build this way and to humble ourselves and flagellate ourselves because we've been just awful. But that keeps us stuck on the floor, never free. God's all about our peace and freedom and he's strong, mighty to save. The joker is a pale weakling who's only play is slightly changing the things God does: he's neither creative nor has he power to create. As long as he keeps our attention aside from our true nature and the real God, he's got us beat because God won't ever force himself on us. We must choose to be vigilant. And when we remember God's got our back, his wind blows through that waif and we laugh at him saying 'this is what had me in hell?'
    So, all this to say you are a purposed creation. What you do on earth doesn't matter as long as you are moving toward the lord (in your heart) through it. Ask anything. Don't consider your works great or crap: they're gifts. You don't be judge, sir, that spot's reserved. Love to you, I'm sending it now.

  3. And I'm glad you're composing again. It's all still true. -Hans.

  4. Hans,

    I am changed by this.

    How incredible that I ask people for their life changing moments, and one happens to me right on this blog.

    "We can walk with Him as Adam did in the garden." I keep finding myself repeating this over and over again. I kept praying it all day yesterday.

    I talked to Jackie about it last night and she pointed out that, that is how I have been living, it is certainly what I have been saying, and slowly I realize that she is right. It is like my heart finally caught up with my mind and spirit, and it took this writing for it to happen.

    I also love your understanding of the "other guy" and how weak and frail he really is. How much truth is in the fact that he cannot create, because he was not made in God's image.

    I do not remember what you saw on the bus.

    God is Freaking real!

    When you say that you write, does that include fiction?

  5. You and I prayed together on Choir Tour and what I saw was the magnificence of God opened to us, so that both of us fell down on our faces to worship him. It was all colour and majesty and power, and it was pretty edifying for me at the time. Still is. I'm glad I remember this.

    Satan isn't as big a deal as we've been told: he tricks us into believing that he's not real, that he's super powerful, or that it's us who are bad or good. But he is real (a distraction), he isn't powerful(just ill-humoured), and we're neither bad nor good but in God, surrounded by waters deep enough to swim in and in that place nothing can take me out of him.

    I write my heart. For the last few years I've been unintentional about my writing, as in, I would try to set myself about writing a thing, and then get distracted halfway through and finish with something else. They mostly end up on my blog as wandering posts. As far as craft, I've judged how I write - my voice comes out, but if I'm writing fantasy it sounds pedantic, and I'm not willing to invest the energy into making any sci-fi sound realistic. I write poetry and long rants. And that's about it. Why do you ask?

  6. I am glad you remember it as well. And I am glad that you reminded me.

    I ask about your writing because I am writing a story and am wondering if you are wanting to help me write it. It isn't prose, I am writing a graphic novel... I am working on the story and am making very minimal progress, but if I find someone to help me write it, I think that it would make much faster progress. Plus I think we would have a very interesting story to tell. I can send you what I have so far if you find yourself interested.

  7. SHYEAH. Who's drawing? Do you have a story arc planned out? or just a general idea? and Yes, send it to me. there. Now. Thanks.