Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Breaking Yellow Bricks

Days upon days of rain have come upon us, blessing some and cursing others. There's a house in my neighborhood with the roof bashed in from the weight of a falling oak. Half a century of tree branches were one day beautiful and the next were a profanity upon the lips of the house's now weary former occupants. But vegetables are bubbling up from their vines and bushes like gems in an earthen diadem. And as the summer ends and children go through the chrysalid whirly-jig of becoming students, I start to get that itch to try and get shows at colleges. Smoking pipe dreams, I look at the movies in my mind of how well the students will listen and connect with the music. I get all woozy when I think of driving home to tell Kat, "I sold [insert outlandish number] CD's!" It all seems so feasible and magical until I open that email account or find that phone number, the one at which I will leave a message like a fishhook in a murky sea.

I don't like to advertise myself.

Advertising myself gathers like too much espresso in my blood and I get ahead of the one I am to walk beside. Daydreaming and money get in my head and bully into leaving that powerful but lovingly yielding peace in the sufficiency of the Lamb. I forget to listen to the task given me. I forget to create because I am created. I forget that "the worker is worth his wages," but the wages are not near worth a worker. The stories disappear, and the truth becomes a clanging cymbal.

So I am always somewhat loathe to talk to people when I play at a church. I have learned to be have grace to say "Thank you," and move on, glad that the thankful ones were blessed. But, right now, indeed for the last several months, Katrina and I have been between churches. It is certainly a journey, complete with its blessings and cursings found in both the hardship and the ease. But when you play at a church, and then are asked - as undoubtedly you will be - where you attend church, the answer I must truthfully give to this question elicits an enthusiastic suggestion that I should join whatever church it is I am helping out that week.

Please, please understand, I love to help out churches with music. The opportunities are grand, and I am learning to have the grace to be served with Thank You's and That Was Wonderful's. If these things were not given to me so graciously, I would probably topple into the ever-present trapdoor of prideful self-loathing. But I cannot follow the Thank You's like a yellow brick road to assurance of where God would have my family and I attend church. I don't know where we are supposed to be right now, but there have been blessings amongst the uncertainty. If anything, the recent wandering has given us a beautiful view of who she, the Church, is. Our horizons are certainly not broad, but they are not as constricted as they would be if we had been seated in the same pews every week. No, this is not a good reason to leave your current fellowship to experience the world like a younger brother with half an inheritance. But it is collateral blessing, and I am grateful. And I feel like we are nearer to obedience than when we began. Autumn is indeed coming. The moon feels fuller, pregnant with waiting for the harvesttime. The squash plants have succumbed to the soil, and they will hopefully be hoed back in and replaced with broccoli or cabbages - or, if I get adventurous, parsnips and pumpkins.

And the beautiful knelling of October has always been the time both for coming home and for walking until your feet take you to places you knew not where.


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