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.