Saturday, March 18, 2006

Anna... still smiling, even with a chipped left front tooth. Posted by Picasa

I Feel Great!

Okay, so a few weeks ago I was taking a nap in the middle of the day (on my day off) and I woke up to the most horrible, blood curdling scream… It was my two year old, Anna. I jumped out of bed, ran out of my room and saw her running toward me. From the kitchen through the living room and right in to Daddy’s arms she ran, screaming the whole way. When I saw her, I freaked at first because her face was absolutely covered in blood… her blood. I decided to pull myself together enough to comfort her and just held her close. Christy and Norah were close behind. It turns out that they were on a walk around our block when Anna fell and slammed her face into the pavement…

I have heard Anna cry and scream for many reasons in her short little life so far and it’s usually pretty hard to hear, but I have to say that something changed in me when I saw her bleeding. I don’t know… I wasn’t really ready for it, but it’s just different when you see your own child’s life stuff… anyway, there I am holding my screaming little, bleeding little girl, telling her it’s going to be alright when the coolest thing happened. For some stupid reason in that moment I asked her, “Are you Okay?” I mean, come on… the poor thing has just had pavement for lunch and I’m asking if she’s Okay? But Anna, holding on to me said through blood, snot and tears said, “I feel great!”

Now, I have to tell you that my Anna is quite the talker at age two... I know, everyone thinks their kids are geniuses, but I know mine is. I mean, when you sing a song, she tells you who the artist is. No kidding. She talks constantly about everything, but she has only learned words for a few emotions: ‘sad’, ‘okay’, and ‘great.’ Whenever you ask her, “How you doin’?” she always says, “I’m feelin’ great!” Now you would think that after crashing face first into Everest Circle, cutting up her face and chipping one of her two front teeth that she would choose ‘sad’ or maybe even ‘okay,’ but no… held up and held close in her Daddy’s arms, she said, “I feel great!”

James said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2-3) And Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:4-5) Whatever we go through, we should be dancing! We were dead in our sins and Jesus has freely forgiven us and guaranteed us a home in heaven with Him forever! When we think about what we have, in light of what we deserve, we should be happy all of the time! Not just happy though… we should throw a party all of the time! If we suffer and go through hard times, we should consider it PURE JOY! Now when was the last time you did that? No matter what you go through, you’re forgiven, righteous, heaven-bound and always in your Daddy’s arms. Now… don’t you “feel great?”

Friday, March 10, 2006

From Beethoven's Opus 1 Piano Trio no.3 Posted by Picasa

Dissonance and Resolution

I have been reading about the life of Ludwig van Beethoven recently and have learned some really cool stuff… for instance: When Beethoven published his first work, (Opus 1: Three Piano Trios) his teacher, the European Master Franz Joseph Haydn didn’t like it. He thought that Beethoven was messing with the ‘form’ too much. It turns out that in a piano trio, the form called for two movements in a major key with a movement in a minor key in between them. (Now I know this is a little heavy in musical terminology, but hang with me, it’ll be worth it, I promise!) Beethoven’s first trio had two majors and a minor, but he opened the trio up with the minor movement which, according to Lewis Lockwood, “…breathed fire!” This brilliant young composer’s music was sometimes dark and foreboding, full of violent explosions of sound and carried out dissonant notes in ways and for lengths of time that had not been done before.

Dissonance is an interesting thing. Dissonance is defined as: “A harsh, disagreeable combination of sounds; discord, or a combination of tones contextually considered to suggest unrelieved tension and require resolution.” It may seem odd that composers would intentionally write dissonant notes into their music. Notes that don’t sound good together only work in music because the composer quickly resolves the tension by harmonizing the notes. When a piece of music is dissonant and then resolves into resonance, it is exceedingly beautiful… in fact, it makes us look back on the dissonance and say, “Those harsh notes were so beautiful… or the way they resolved was beautiful…” At some point it becomes hard to tell what it is that we liked, the dissonance or the resolution; it’s just all beautiful.

According to the Apostle Paul, God is like a composer writing a beautiful piece of music that we are a part of. In fact, we are called His “opus” in Ephesians 2. Like the works of Beethoven, this music that God is making with our lives is sometimes a turbulent storm of dissonant notes… Our lives are often full of discord and disharmony. We experience pain, loss, hurt, need, tragedies and trials and it’s easy to wonder, “If God is in control, why is life so dissonant?” Romans 8:28 tells us this: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” That means that in everything that happens to us, He is still in control and He is working all of it together for our good. We don’t always know what He’s doing or how He’s doing it, but we can know that He is using all of it, working it out for our good, just like a Master Composer.

One day when our lives are over and we are with Him forever we will get to hear the finished piece of music… the score He has been writing since the days of Adam. When we finally hear it, we will be able to see how all of our dissonant notes were resolved by Him into beautiful harmonies and we’ll say that the dissonance made the resolution all the more beautiful. We will be able to see that He was always in control and that we were never outside of His hand. We’ll see then that it was all beautiful and that we were always playing in the Master’s score.

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