May 3 Day 3

My sleep was pretty much jacked up last night. It’s a combination of things. Stomach acid from things I shouldn’t have eaten. Neighborhood tom cat caterwauling outside my window. Stress from an ongoing situation. I’d say the stress is probably the biggest driver. It always comes out in different ways. Sometimes I get sick. Sometimes I get a gout flare-up. Sometimes my stomach gets messed up. Sometimes I get infected hair follicles or fever blisters out of nowhere. Right now, the left side of my lower lip has swollen. It’s stress. I can tell when it drives it.

I took Mom to what has become one of her favorite new restaurants. The owner is originally from Sierra Leone and specializes in Afro-Caribbean cuisine. Today, we had a special that was not on the menu: spaghetti and meatballs. Yes, I can see my Italian friends turning up their noses. I don’t know what she put in that sauce, but it was amazing. Totally enjoyed it.

Momma tearing into her spaghetti and meatballs. Good thing I had my own.

Dug out the Rachmaninov again and actually made quite a bit of progress in the practice, which is amazing because it has been like pulling teeth for some time. It’s almost like I started to remember how to practice.

Also pulled out my music for this weekend. I’ve got my “regular” Sunday fare. As I go through it, I make general notes about what I want the band to do and how I see the overall shape. My general “philosophy” – for lack of better word – is that I generally don’t expect the band to copy the recording. Sure, we are “covering” the music, but we aren’t a tribute band. Certain licks and riffs are often key parts, BUT I want my musicians – singers and instrumentalists – to generally be themselves. Know which parts of the song are the biggest parts and know what times you have to pull back. Shape is key.

Tomorrow evening, I’ll be subbing at a Catholic church in Cincinnati. This one has a special place in my heart because one of the parishes that came together to form it was where I really started to learn how to do music ministry. (They’re family.) There’s a bit more music to go through in the order of service than with the contemporary Methodist service I typically do these days.

As I wrap up things for tonight, I’ve taken some time to reflect on a couple of recent developments – one that could be good and one that is not-so-good. Faith is a very deeply and personal thing… and yet, faith is at the same time a very deeply and inter-personal thing. I take Matthew 6:6 very much to heart. (You can look it up.) The last thing I would ever want to do is to paint a false image, because I know first-hand the damage that comes from people who just want to be seen. At the same time… I recognize that people need each other in order to exercise their faith. You can’t do it in a vacuum. You know… The whole “where two or three are gathered” thing? In my experience, there is something about a group coming together. When everyone is on the same page, the whole is truly more than the sum of its parts.

Random thoughts.

Twenty-eight more days before this exercise is done. Let’s hope I don’t mess it up!


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