Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Sing Your Songs
Do you know what I saw today on my drive home from work? Green stuff. Spring is here! I've been looking at brown grass and brown dirt and brown riverbanks for so many months now, which is very uninteresting for a shutterbug like me. But green! Soon more colors will pop, and my senses will come alive and I'll "see" pictures everywhere...
That's my thing - photography. It's not necessarily your thing, and it doesn't have to be. I'm happy as I watch you find your hobbies and passions whatever they turn out to be. I'm happy to watch an artist come of age and do amazing things with a pencil and a drawing pad. Or an origami artist who can make amazing shapes with a piece of paper or a dollar bill.
One of my favorite quotes from famous people is this one from a writer named Henry David Thoreau, who said:
"Most people live lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them."
That may not make sense or mean much to you at your young age. I understand. What he means is this: not everyone lives as big of a life as we want to. We want to be famous, or rich, or popular. We want to do big things. We want to express ourselves on a big stage - to sing our song! And we rarely get a chance to.
At least it seems that way sometimes. We live our routine lives. We go to school. We go to church. We go to work. Routine things - not the big fancy lives.
That has meaning by itself. Your grandpa and your papaw are not famous men. Did they have big dreams? Maybe? I don't know if they sang "their song" that was in them, but they lived lives that had a profound effect on a lot of people. When I go around town and people ask me "Was your Dad a teacher?", I know I am talking to someone whose life was affected by my Dad's life. It's the same with your grandpa, who helped many many people at work and at church and at a Rescue Mission. Their service to others was their song.
You know that I've known Mom for a very long time. I know that she has many talents, and had more hobbies - like singing in the choir in high school and at church. That was her expressing herself, and getting her song out - literally! I'm so glad that in the last few years she has discovered that she loves to paint!
She needs that time away from taking care of you, which she does so very well, to take care of herself. To feed her soul. To be creative in her own way. Let's all three make sure that she gets time to sing her song through painting.
What is my song, that I want to get out? How do I want to express myself? Through my photography, absolutely. That is fulfilling. My pictures are my view of the world around me. Publishing them on my website - whether anyone sees them or not - is my song. Writing is too, but it's a song still in me.
You both know that I was sad last week when my friend Roger died. You know that I spent a lot of time writing comments on his website. Time that I now wish I had been writing letters to you here instead! I enjoyed the conversations with my friend so much. We disagreed a lot, yes, but we had a friendship anyway. We wrestled with a lot of big issues, and that debate helped me get my song out as well.
One thing that my friend Roger and I disagreed on was about how we see God. My friend grew up in a church, but lost his faith in God as he grew older. He did for many reasons, but mostly he said it was because his understanding of Evolution made him doubt God. That happens a lot. People mistake understanding the How and When of our creation with the Who and Why of our Creator, and they decide that the don't need God in their explanation of life. They say I respect the church, but I "cannot believe in God".
That makes me sad. I want you to know that I have thought about this question a lot over my lifetime. I have studied our faith. I have studied science - which I respect greatly. I have chosen our faith on purpose at the end of all of that study. I believe in the story of the Easter Passion Play that we watched together last week. What a story! Wow. Remember that play, and stand strong in your faith.
I want you to grow, and to learn, and to question, and to study. I know there will doubt at times in what we believe, and that's okay. Ask me questions - I can guide you through those times.
I want you both to have fulfilling lives. To be educated. To find fulfilling work and to find a suitable mate. I want you play guitar and draw pictures and go fishing! I want you to be kind to each other and to serve others as you can. I want you to have great friendships, like I had with my friend Roger and the friends that I met through him. I want you to sing your songs all of your lives, and not take them to the grave.
What is my song, really? It's helping you both, and Mom, to sing your songs. That makes me happy.
Be at peace with life. Do what we have to do and need to do, first. But, sing your song this week.
I'll be taking pictures of green stuff...