Category Archives: Music

An Open Letter to Glee

Dear Glee,

I’m writing this letter because, well, I don’t know how to say this, but I’m breaking up with you.  Before you get upset and stop reading this letter, I want you to know how much I treasure the good times we had and how much I have loved you.  I have never fallen for a TV show as fast as I did with you.  It was love at first pilot.  (You remember the love letter I wrote you?  Here it is.)  From the minute I saw you, with your Ohio-based show choir (harkening me back to my days in CHS Essence), your myriad of misfit characters I’d love to befriend, and the voracious wit exuding from Sue Sylvester, I was taken.  How can I ever forget the way I teared up the first time the New Directions burst into “Don’t Stop Believing” in simple red tees and blue jeans.  Husband and I said to ourselves that we’d never seen a show capture adolescence quite like this, and we loved it. Continue reading

On iPhoto, Sprouting Peppers, The Avett Brothers, and Our Longing for Intimacy

I had the best intentions tonight…the best intentions to read and write about my ever-growing garden.  I planned to wax poetic about the most recent miniature rose plant I’ve fallen for*.  I wanted to introduce you to my beautiful tomato trellis.

As it turns out, another evening awaited…one that involves the disappointment and frustration of having to rebuild my entire iPhoto library of 8000 photos, a task that will take many more nights than just tonight’s efforts.

The good news is, my garden is growing, as evidenced here…a mini habanero or jalepeno or anaheim pepper.  A.Maze.Ing.

And to decompress from my hard drive snafu, I did the only thing I could: step aside to pull out my yoga mat, turn on The Avett Brothers, cross my legs and breathe in and out.  Everytime I listen to I and Love and You, a new line pops out at me.  This week, it was the central line in the title track, “Three words that became hard to say: I and Love and You.”

Except in my mind, before the words echoed across the room, I’d already translated them to, “The three words I find hard to say.”

My mistranslation reminds me of an incredible quote from Frederick Buechner: “What we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else.”

I could say much more on these two thoughts alone, but I will take the path of wisdom and instead go to bed.  We humans long for intimacy and fear it simultaneously.  What are we to do?   I do not know, but I will plant peppers.

Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in.
Are you aware the shape I’m in?
My hands they shake; my head it spins.
Ah, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in.

* My seduction by mini-rosebush was first documented in an email to high school friend sometime in the school year 2000/2001.  I remember something so insignificant from so long ago because I remember the exact windowsill the first mini-rosebush died upon, and it was in Room 326 of Gerig Hall.

Patty, Buddy, Pike Place: Maundy Thursday in Seattle

Last night, Husband and I went to see the ever-wonderful Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller at the Moore.  On Maundy Thursday, Patty’s haunting covers of gospel standards (from her most recent album Downtown Church) were quenching parts me I didn’t even know had dried up.  She wasn’t necessarily trying to facilitate worship, but for me, that’s what it was…a quality of music that transcends anything I can normally experience during worship, and no one was up there trying to manage how I should be feeling…I was just able to experience it.

Beforehand, we grabbed dinner at a hole-in-the-wall in the International District, played cribbage at Starbucks, and took some pics at the market at dusk.  I’ve been messing with the manual features on our Nikon D60 lately, because it seems sinful to own such a great camera and keep using it as a point and shoot.  No pics of the concert, but a few snapshots of the streets of Seattle on a quiet Thursday night.

Crazy Heart and Worship

Husband and I went to see Crazy Heart the other night.  I have to pause every time I go to utter the movie title, because I always, almost say Crazy Horse, which reminds me of this, which reminds me of traveling 2000 miles on I-90 with Brother in Summer 2004, which has nothing to do with going to see a movie with Husband.  This digressive train of thought has, thus, made it difficult to reflect on Crazy Heart, a movie starring Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

It’s Sunday morning, and I’m in between worship team practice and choir practice before Sunday morning service.  As I was getting ready for church, I was reflecting on worship, and somehow the reflection on worship led me to 2 nights ago watching Crazy Heart.

Crazy Heart is about a seemingly washed-up, alcohol-soaked musician/songwriter, who has arrived at 57 fueled by addiction, and without any touch points of  responsibility and intimacy.  His longing for intimacy and his fear of himself leads him to rehab, where he allegedly shapes up and cleans up.

What I’m thinking about this morning is how Bad Blake makes sense of his world through song.  Songwriting is the place where he has a raw and honest voice, one that can cut through the whiskey and emptiness to find significance.

As I prepare to lead worship this morning, I pray that my words would not be empty.  Probably three weeks out of four in any given month, my mind is somewhere else during the bulk of the weekly church service.  My mouth opens and closes singing words on the screen without ever really filtering them through my consciousness.

This morning, the image I’m struck with is Bad Blake, sitting on his porch strumming his guitar after Buddy and Jean leave.  His words are an offering, for him, probably not to God, but to the world, to music, to Jean, or to life.  Regardless, the painful fullness of it feels like a kind of worship…one I desire to emulate, by searching for that place in my own life and drawing it out as an offering.  It’s from that place, the bottom, the place of despair, the deepest recesses of the soul, from which I long to sing this morning.