I realize that there is a significant force within this strange world of a place we call home. I have come to terms with the fact that there is something beyond explanation that can transpire feelings and thoughts and things we can't begin to fathom. There is something that brings us together, combines us, unifies us as one mass of struggling, beautifully broken people.
I used to think it was the combination of passion and pain, where people finally realize (consciously or not) that everyone has something searing their insides. I thought maybe there was a point where everyone's heart came together and with the help of the weather or surrounding area's environment, people felt connected. I felt it a few times in the music. Was it the fact that there were hundreds of people singing the same lyrics with the singer they loved in an over crowded room? Was it that there was a common interest, common excitement, that brought otherwise opposite people together? Allow me to use a specific example.
On November 27th, I went to a concert at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California. My cousin and I arrived four hours early to ensure the closest spots on the floor in front of the stage where Switchfoot would be playing. While we were in line, a second line formed with people proudly displaying their "Friends of the Foot" badges. They, because of their $52/month subscription, were able to get into the show hours before anyone else to watch the soundcheck and meet the band. The line stretched far beyond the fountain with what seemed to be hundreds of twenty-something, TOMS wearing, dedicated fans. I watched them as it felt to me that we were all competing to love Switchfoot the most. I obviously lost as I was in the I-ate-at-the-restaurant-but-didn't-pay-to-get-in-that-early line (I'll admit to being slightly jealous). Everyone was anxious, excited, overjoyed that today was the day they'd been waiting for. It felt disconnected, everyone with their separate lives and separate problems.
However, when the show started, something drastically changed. It wasn't the fact that Switchfoot played better than normal. They were constant and expected to always put on a good show no matter the date or season. Something changed that night. Somehow, thousands of people crowded into a tiny venue, literally squished up against each other as a can of something, and came together to be united in something they couldn't explain.
Personally, I felt some sort of healing, awakening, and by no means am I saying that Jon Foreman and the rest of the band healed me. Heavens no. My life before that was continuing to unravel. I was literally falling apart emotionally and almost couldn't bear to move anymore. (Little did I know, my future boyfriend and love of my life would be sitting in a show I was absent from, the only show out of thirty-something, as my life cracked to pieces in Orange County. Just a side-note and an interesting one at that). But I found that night that I had more passions than I had experienced before. It literally felt as though I had been through a war where I fought between wanting to run up on stage and curling in a ball in the corner of my bedroom.
I recently heard that when taking a brain scan of someone listening to or being an active part of music, the entire brain lights up. It's phenomenal seeing as different parts of our brain are designed for general motives-- emotional, logical, and the like. There is something amazing, something powerful about music. It has a unique ability to relate with every single man being on this planet. Is that not beautiful? When the music and lyrics of 'Yet' danced through my lit-up brain singing, "If it doesn't break your heart, it isn't love", I felt passion and pain boil up through the tips of my toes to the the brim of my wildly untamed hair. The entire room was singing. I mean all of it. No, the House of Blues isn't very large at all, but there we were, singing. We sang at the top of our lungs and there was something bizarre in that room.
Some people might call it the Holy Spirit and I'm not sure where I stand on that at this particular moment. Could it be that it was just an incredible moment where we stepped away from our lives and truly felt, fell, and found the music we knew and loved with one another? Could we have just shared an incredible time together? I'm not entirely sure what happened that night or if I'm the only one that still thinks about it. Maybe I'm just an emotional girl that holds onto dreams and passions far beyond that they're worth. I don't know because I don't have enough answers.
I do know that my feelings are valid and that night I felt something beyond this place. Whether it was God or something divine, I'll never know.
"Why does history matter, class?" "Because the past shapes the future!"
I've heard history teacher after history teacher say that same thing year after year in my many years of public education. Never have I sat down to really realize how true it is. Yes, WWII obviously shaped policies and behaviors and there was that ever-popular baby boom that we blame overpopulation on. Charles Manson based his theories on the Bible and the Beatles and killed seven celebrities and we locked our doors at night. A man some thousand years ago died on a cross to save our souls and we worship Him. Things happened, we reacted, and now we call it history. The past, it shapes our future and everything we stand for. The past, on a national, even global level is important to our foundations, do you agree?
Yesterday, for some reason, I thought a lot about my own history. We each have a history. We each have a past. If there is a present, there is a past, no? And in the past, we came to believe the things we believe in now. I ask myself the question, "How did I get here?" How did I come to be who I am, how did other people come to perceive me the way they do, how did I come to make the decisions I make? In understanding all of these, I must understand from the beginning, from the first stages, the first steps, the first thoughts.
Charles Manson killed celebrities because of wildly misconstrued theories and philosophies of Heleter Skelter, but where did that come from? His childhood? His allegedly unfortunate upbringing? Before the Bible and the Beatles, Charles never really had a family. He was brought up by his drug addict mother and boarding schools and eventually, detention centers and juvenile hall. His past shaped him. He took in outcasts into his cult maybe because he himself was an outcast that needed to belong. Christ died on a cross. Why? For love, for a fallen world that needed a savior. Obviously, people were in need of a savior. Their decisions, their behaviors were wretched and needed someone to save them from their own habits. And Christ did just that.
So where does that leave me? With a past. I reflect on that past instead of pushing it to the curb to realize, to understand, what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. This might seem obvious, but have you really thought about it? I get upset because I make stupid decisions, but I pass them off. Then, sooner or later, I make them again and it becomes this viscous cycle. For example, I'm a horrible student. I don't study for anything. What does being unprepared lead to? Right. Horrible grades. Everytime I find that I get a bad grade on something, I'm seriously upset. Well of course I am! I haven't put in the work for it! But the next class comes and I fall into the same habit, the same cycle. What I need is change. I need to change those study habits to get a better grade and feel better about my success in school.
My past affects my future. Obvious and clear,I know, but it's the truth. Anyway. Just a thought.
I find myself sitting on my bed writing this on an iPad that i didn't deserve to receive. Today was a strange turn of events. I didn't feel genuine this morning. I didn't feel quite like myself. I felt lost and numb and rather confused about life and love and everything else you want to lump into the general category. I know I am loved. I know I have a great life. I know that whatever I do is already forgiven in some weird and un deserving compassion and forgiveness. But here I am, a living proof of all of this. It's tangible. It's easy to touch and feel and see first hand. You see, I know this isn't making a whole lot of sense, but I was given a gift that I don't deserve. Because I have been bitter and fake, because I have complained more than anyone knows. But I was given this gift in spite of absolutely all of that. And I'm talking about more than the iPad.
I've been given life in spite of my failures. I've been given an incredible story. I've been given the ability to use words and music to reach people. I've been given a heart that truly desires to love and care about other people. I've been selfish with all of these gifts. It's plain to me.
And I'm growing way too tired of using that word. It's the opposite of love. It's the opposite of everything I stand for. But I am the queen of it. I promise you that.
Anyway, the point of this post is to say, to encourage you to look at the gifts you have...tangible or not.
Your life is worth the risk taking. It's worth the breath.