Thursday, June 26, 2008

Movie Stardom

I heard a talk by Donald Miller once. He talks just like he writes: sort of rambling, quirky, and thought-provoking all at the same time. He drew the analogy that we all walk around as if we were the stars in our own life movie. He says, “I can prove it to you. I’m in every scene! There’s a couple cameras and a speaker, and all of you are supporting actors in my story.” His point was that we should all be a little more outward focused. Other people exist, and are important. And it’s a good thing to remember.

But sometimes, I think I’m the star of my own life movie for another reason. Sometimes I feel like just kind of watching things play out in the screening room behind my eyes. And you know those moments when you watch a movie and you just want to yell at the characters for the decisions they’re making? Yeah, totally have those…but with myself. Sometimes I think my personality, or just the things I let gain momentum run away with me, and I want to fuss at this character and go “What are you doing?”

I hope that just like the movies, this character I’m watching can figure out a way to temper her flaws, make good choices, and earn her triumphant happy music at the end.

(On a silly note, if my life was a movie, it would definitely be a musical. And it would have at least one corny montage.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Just swinging…

It’s not a new thought, per se…but I still think it’s a good one. Life is a kind of dance. Up until about a year ago, I could identify with the idea behind the analogy. I mean really, what girl doesn’t dream about a perfect waltz with Prince Charming, or Prince Phillip, or even Robin Hood (thank you Disney!)? But after I began my journey into the dance world, I understood a little more, and I wrote the following poem:

Dancing (2007) ~ Regina

My hair swirls in time with the music
As I spin free, yet secure within your frame
For a brief moment I am not alone in my adventure
We are on this journey together
Moving with the ebb and flow of the song
Following your lead as we traverse the floor
We are the center of attention
Yet all else fades from view
And we are the only ones in the room
Right now, I’m not clumsy or confused
I am sure in your arms, graceful in your lead
And confident in your path
Embracing and embodying the joy of the music
We are the song
The voices of brass and percussion
Come to a gallant conclusion…and fade to silence…
Time stands still and for this brief eternity I am content
But then the moment ends
Our paths separate
And I am left to walk alone again

There are lots of times when my relationship with God feels just like that. However, the more that I walk with him and learn more about him…the more our dance feels like a lindy hop. There’s structure, but we’re certainly not bound by it. I never know what to expect next. I have to constantly keep in mind what I know about the “rules” but I have to be ready at any moment for a crazy move or mischievous moment. I am constantly learning that for as much as God is regal and holy…he’s also joyful and playful. But either way, the heart of the poem is true: “worship” or “life” or whatever label you want to call it, is about embracing the moment and just being the song.

The best part? The more often you dance with someone, the more familiar you become with who they are and their dance language…and the more fun you can have together. It’s a beautiful thing to watch a well-established partnership out on the floor just doing their thing.

Dancing truly is a dialogue between two partners. It takes as much strength to lead as it does to follow, because the leader can propose a move, but the follower has the choice of where or not to come along for the ride (Thank you Antonio Banderas).

So perhaps it follows that the strength of my faith can be seen in how I trust and follow the lead I am given. Can I embrace it…even if it’s something I don’t expect, or something I’ve never seen? How well do I know my partner? How much do I trust him?

How much fun can I have with him figuring it out?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Beginning the Journey

So I have a reputation for being a nice, bubbly, cheerful person. But I have a whole other side that is very pensive, brooding, and emotive. Historically, I vent my "other" side through music...and through serving. But life has been changing, and I don't have the outlets I once did.

After imposing on the gracious patience of several friends, I decided that the time had come for two things: 1) I am going to try to be a contributing writer to a couple post-modern magazines, and 2) I am going to spare my friend's ears and mailboxes and vent my thoughts in a blog.

And as usual, I think God has a sense of humor. I have been reaching a boiling point lately. So much so that I wrote the following during a BSO concert:

Chaotic emotions and thoughts from all over
They burst forth at random moments
And splatter on deaf ears

I am feeding a giant lake
Already dark and deep
Does God's spirit hover over these waters?

Reaching out only to grasp air
Digging deep only to find more mystery
I am frustrated with this cocophany

I fear the dam I am already building
Attempting to keep the chaos in check
Sparing my unsuspecting victims

I feel like a cracked pot
Or maybe a fractured dam
The secret is to fracture with purpose

Give a dam a vent and it has power
Enough to sustain a community
Not just to hold back, but to create

One doesn't have to fully grasp a mystery
For it to be used for good.

The very next day I "randomly" visited Faith Community Church. I walked in and felt at home during worship for the first time in a while. They were playing the song "From the Inside Out"...which I deeply connect with. Then the guest pastor got up and talked about the role of an Artist as a Missionary in our culture. My ears immediately perked up. Some highlights from his talk: Jesus could have totally thrown down theology like no other (being God and all), but instead he chose to speak through stories. And often his stories didn't end in nice little bows. He left people with a sense of "huh?" that caused them ask questions. He said something else that stuck out too: Did you know that the #1 export in our country is our culture? There's an idea to mull over for a little while. Anyway, I'm rambling.

He was from a group called "Creative Paradox." And I had a nice chat with both him, and a member of the worship team after the service. I profoundly connected with the things they had to say, the values that they uphold, and the dreams they envision coming true. Between trying to polish and articulate some of my crazy thoughts, I think networking with these people may be the outlet I've been looking for. So hooray for God's sense of humor...and his timing as well.