I felt most alive this week when:
I asked for some help. Over the past several months I've been slowly recording some of my songs and with the help of my friends James(on drums) and Dave (producing/bass) we completed the recording and production process this week. Somehow along the way, I was totally overwhelmed with the layout and artwork for the album. I'd had a particular title in mind for the CD, which led me to no picture of what I'd like the inserts and disk to look like - so I asked for help.
Heather and Ian started working out some general ideas in photo shop this Saturday and by early afternoon, Ian was inspired and sent Heather and I out on a photo shoot for some more material. We took lots of photos, not letting the rain dampen our creative enthusiasm , and by evening we had over 50 shots for Ian to look through. It was good to get out of the house, hand over this task that just seemed too much for me to deal with, and involve some family and friends in this project. I'm so proud of what Ian and Heather came up with - I can't wait to share it - but I'll hold off and not spoil the surprise for when the CD's come back from printing. I felt most alive this week, when I asked for some help with some tasks that seemed too much - and got out and lived life and played a bit.
But, I felt the most challenged this week when...
I pushed beyond my current level as a guitar player and ended up feeling totally overwhelmed. I'm not diminishing how far I've come with my guitar. It's all a work in progress. Somehow though, when I see how well some folks play I can't help but think - man why don't I know that yet? This isn't sour grapes, its more like - why isn't this easier for me? I know - life isn't' easy, but wow some people just have the nack for some things. Then there are those who have to work a little harder at some things. I suppose it's like this - singing for me is like art or English, its natural - I don't really think about it. Learning new chords and theory on guitar is like math - challenging and requires lots of practice and pink erasers. What is so funny is how the singing and my guitar are married together.
Last week in my bread post I mentioned the terms tob and ra and that they are representative of life being both full of pleasure (singing) and full of pain (learning new chords - "Ouch" my fingers are still sore as I type. Here's to new callouses!)
It may seem a shallow comparison tob and ra to singing and guitar playing, but it is yet another example that even the things we love to do, the work we feel called to, or the relationships we strive to grow in all have tob and ra in them.
Earlier this morning, I visited one of my favorite prayer sites, Sacred Space. The scripture of the day was:
And the child's father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, "This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed--and a sword will pierce your own soul too."
I recall the blessing of time with my family helping me on my project this weekend as well as the challenge of pushing my musical knowledge and aptitude and realize how much I have to learn; and I pause knowing that blessing and struggle are always interconnected. Mary was joyous as Jesus was blessed, but sorrow was also a part of the blessing. Why would I expect my life to be any different?
Letting go enables others to become a part of something bigger than you ever imagined. Hanging in there teaches you some new things - even when it's difficult - you need to keep trying. It's seems the most important thing to know is when you need to let go, ask for help, or hang right in there.
Here's to the wisdom of bread. Get baking.