Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Mood Music

Some thoughts on music. I put three new songs over on the side here for El Veneno. I hope you guys will listen to all three. I love them all. The first (the one you are probably hearing right now) is from the CD that the Neverbird gave me for my birthday. I love the message it contains, about pressing forward when you're not sure about things. The next is War on Drugs by the Barenaked Ladies. It's one of the most moving songs I know of. They said at their concert that they were singing about a bridge in Canada that had the world's second-highest suicide rate (after the Golden Gate). When the city put a net under the bridge, people just moved up to the next bridge and started jumping from there. So that was the basis of the song, and it has helped me to understand people who suffer from depression more than anything else ever has. Finally, we have a song that is simultaneously funny and sad. It's called Jim Henson's Dead and Gone, by Stephen Lynch, the same guy who does Dead Puppies and If I Could Be a Superhero. I love Muppets, and so I present this song as an homage to Jim Henson. What a brilliant man, who really seemed to understand dreams and making them a reality.

In fact, my dinner group has recently been transformed into a dinner/muppets group. I love that. Turns out my buddy Robb is just as big a muppets fan as I am.

Robb and Pinetree both just got jobs at Los Hermanos. I love that job. I made $15/hour in tips again tonight. I have been making more than anyone else lately. It's been a major blessing. Alecia says I've been doing a great job there, which makes me very happy. I'm learning the joy of hard work, which was what I talked about in my testimony at this Sunday's Latter Day Sounds fireside in Ogden, speaking about the song Come Come Ye Saints. We can't fear toil and labor, but we have to wend our way with joy. The media would have us believe that work and joy are antithetical. That we work only so we can have joy later. But I believe that we are to find joy in serving, and not stop until we have finished our work or died trying. And then either way, it will be a happy day, and only THEN can we join the saints in crying "All is well."

Latter Day Sounds is so good for me. On Saturday Rachel stayed late at work and closed for me (I love that girl) and Nick let me off early so I could catch up with the choir in northern Utah. And so I took a bus to Ogden last-minute to go be with the choir. I ended up screaming in pain and cold in the pouring windy snowy rain, as I got drenched. It was super miserable, but we all have to make sacrifices for the things that are important to us, huh?

Like Pinetree has recently done. Wow. Dr. Robinson says that I'll have to get rid of every gay everything if I want to beat this thing. So of course I thought, "No, that is too much." But then I remembered the rich young man, and how he had been told he would have to give up all he had. And then i remembered Naaman, who really only had to give up his pride, but found that to be almost an insurmountable task, and I started thinking, "What wouldn't I be willing to give up in order to be the man that God wants me to be?" And really, there is nothing. So I am doing what I can with the Dr. Robinson suggestion. Cutting off contact with a lot of people. Identifying which parts of my life strengthen those dangerous connections that my brain makes, and cutting them out, as they stand in my way, triggers to the booby traps I've set for myself in years past, now obscured by dust. Time to bust out the pledge and figure out exactly where those triggers are, and dismantle them. Anyway, I had a long conversation with Pinetree about that yesterday, and then today he tells me he up and cut off someone who I know means a TON to him. I really appreciate his example. I feel like I learn so much from that kid. So now it's my turn to do the same. Time for some major spring cleaning.

I might be losing a lot of things in this process. A lot of friends. We will see.

But I will be okay. I have so MANY other friends who are so good for me these days. My friends from my ward, and from my choir, and from work. I love all of these people. On Friday Jessica and Goat and Wiggle and I are all going to go to see Guster. I am very excited. They have such haunting voices, and can sing melodies both happy and sad. Which brings me to what I really want to say tonight, a message inspired by everything in my life, and most recently and noticeably by the Jim Henson Company movie "Mirror Mask," which I recommend whole-heartedly to anyone who reads this. Anyway, on to today's moral:

I love music so much. It's so good for me. I like to listen to sad music best of all, because "sad" isn't easy for me to feel on my own.

I think sadness is beautiful, like rain and strong battered women and fancy melting candles and rooms all done up in red velvet. Like wildflowers growing raggedly from a crack in a barren rock, or like sputtering, flickering stars, fighting to shine their light down through earth's muggy, twinkly atmosphere. I want to cup the stars in my hand, make someone's sadness my own, protect it from the tempestuous winds of life, shade it from the overpowering glare of sunshine. In the summer, I lie in the crunchy golden grass and look at the ghosts of giants and heroes and magical beasts placed in the night sky to remind us that we all must pass on, that we are only visitors here in this strange land. And I love them. I love their stories. And then the sun comes out, and the stories fade to a soothing baby blue and all can be forgotten. The heroes and their tragic tales are lost. Their beauty exists only in the darkness.

Will Heaven be all light all the time? Or will there be shadows dancing from the fireplace onto the cozy earthen walls? Will there be the dark spaces between the stars, or will they all be filled in with such blinding light that there won't be stars any more at all? Will the forest still hold its dark secretive appeal, or will the leaves in the canopies be forced to move aside and let in the light, stripping the woods of all their murky mysteries? Will all music be in major chords, all clouds cumulus, all stories have happy endings? Will we mourn our damned loved ones? Will we have to forget we ever loved them?

In moving closer to God, will I have to be homogenized? Will we all eventually shine the same bright white, or can I shine golden, or spring green, or vivid tangerine? Will my dark desires be the catalysts that make me more like God, or will they keep me different? Do I give off my own wavelength of light just by moving close to God, a cosmic Doppler Effect that somehow allows my movement to shine my own color of beauty to the stationary viewer, even as I draw closer to the center of the Universe, where gods and matter end? Is my individuality burned up beautifully like a meteor as I draw closer to my goals? Is the incredible journey to sameness the thing that sets us apart in the end? Are our scars what make us beautiful?

I am still discovering so much. I love life. I love the light, and the dark, and the moments like these, right before the proverbial sun rises, when the field is still shrouded in mist, and everything is grey and blurry and coming coldly alive.


вџн said...

I always have to use Encarta when I read your posts.

I thought homogenized had something to do with the milk I put in my cereal..

blueshorts said...

Yes. Things will be different now.

el veneno said...

Thanks for the music.

I have so much to think about now. I hope I've got enough balls left on me to actually do what I know I need to.

Sara Bear said...

the prior commentators have been surprisingly brief, but I'll have to change that now.

Before you knew me, I had a very similar situation to yours in that I had to give up something that made up a significant portion of my existence. His name was Sean.

I dated him my senior year of high school and the first year of college. He was in fact my first love. We had so many wonderful things in common. Everything I loved, he loved, with one exception. He refused to believe in God.

I went through a lengthy struggle with the idea that if he didn't join the Church, I would have to leave him. I held on longer because I hoped that he would eventually give the spirit a chance and realize the truth. He didn't. We finally broke up in a November, but I still wasn't able to accept the fact that I couldn't have him, because I didn't think it possible that there was someone better for me. I tried to think that, but it never stuck.

The next April, still being tormented by my loss, I decided to write him a letter. A one last effort to get him on his knees asking God if He exists. I wrote that letter, which I now refer to as the book.

It was the greatest challenge to literally write a book. Emotionally and physically exhausting. For an entire summer, I wrote. I woke up in the morning, prayed, typed, went to work. As a lifeguard, I sat on my chair and pondered every detail that I needed to say to him on every topic he ever discussed with his anger and dismissal. On the way home, I would look longingly at the hill where his house sat, and begged God that it would work. At home I typed and prayed, then I retired only to dream of what would happen when I delivered the letter. That was my whole summer.

July 25, I delivered it. Wore my nicest dress; had breakfast with him. Gave him the book. Left before he opened it.

Three anguished days later he called and said he wouldn't read it, nor would he ever be Mormon even if God himself came down and told him it was true. He was rather irate.
I was done.

It so killed me to put so much effort into this thing, only to learn that you have to sacrifice all of it, not only your goal is lost, but your efforts entirely wasted. To accept that loss. To give it all up, like the rich man. That was a hard pill to swallow.

It took about a year to fully rid myself of him. Clearing out my closet of things that reminded me too much of him was the easy part. Removing his memory from my heart took quite a while...

He's gone, now. He eloped with another atheist. He and I have an official pact to never contact one another again, for our other relationships' sake.

...The thing I warn you about though, is how surprisingly difficult it is to clear your thoughts of the thing you've forsaken, even when your heart is free of it.

Satan watches the whole time we struggle to throw the trash out of our life, and then insults us when we're done by rummaging through and bringing it up again. He gives you random thoughts of the things you want least in your life.

It's an interesting phenomenon, and in understanding it, it's easy to redirect my thoughts on my life now. Sometimes random thoughts of Sean pop into my head, but I look around me and I see my apartment, filled with pictures of prophets and little love notes from someone other than Sean. It is the most amazing thing to be here.

I look and see Jonathan. Pure awe overcomes me, eliminating all other tendencies, and all I can do is love him! My Jonathan is my joy! Amazingly, too, I find that he is everything else! He is my pain and sadness in that pain and sadness no longer exist without his love and comfort acting to cure them. I see him morning and night, and he becomes all that I ever want to look at, and the thoughts of the past are buried again.

and in the end, I know that it was worth every heart-crushing effort to rid myself of and continually resist returning to that which would not make me happy.

So, I'm proud of you, man. Good luck with your spring cleaning.


Toasteroven said...

You're not the only one doing spring cleaning.

Who are goat and Jessica? Two of Wiggle's roommates? Which ones?

Dice said...

i don't really feel adequit to reply... You're great. I would love to follow your expample and get rid of a bunch of dirt, but I fear lonliness too much. A little bit at a time.... Loves
Also, don't judge me because I can't spell!!

Karuhh said...

Cand told me this was a must to read. I'm sort of out of words- in a good way. But I like what you say and the way you say it.

Muse said...

well writ.

Wiggle said...

That was Beautiful. I love ya man!

ilaughyellow said...

well lets get on with the pleasantries, shall we? hello! im ms. peculiarmormonsbestfriend. ok. actually im a chronic liar. PM and i just tolerate each other.

actually. who am i kidding? we cant stand each other.

so there you go.
thats who i am.

a unbelievably confusing rambler.

i have to say in a few too many words though, that reading your blog is more than mildly entertaining. its incredibly well written, uplifting, and afterwards i dont feel like i have just read yet another "my life is worse than oscars trash can so im contemplating suicide by snuffulufagus" post.

dont look so baffled.
you know exactly what im talking about.

i honestly hope you get to shine vivid tangerine someday.


Vero Awesome said...

Your mind is beautiful. Now if only your face was... Hehe you know I'm kidding and I love you more than quesadillas. And a LOT more than toothpaste. Seriously, when I'm 27 I will marry you if you're not already taken. Even if you have to be my second marriage...I'll Divo the first for you, Robbit.

-L- said...

I bought a tangerine shirt over the weekend. I thought of you.