Echoes of Path Not Taken

Garden Path

As I work with the church, as I realize I am on the right path as an artist and minister, as I connect with these artists I see echoes, the path not taken.  Why was that path not taken?  As I said in a previous post, this year my birthday has been a somber one and unlike ones in the past three years, I din’t really have any smiles or anything like that, just lots of somber reflection.  I guess over 50 will do that to you.  Why was the path of artist and minister combined not taken?

Baggage and fear at the root of it.  How?  I carried baggage from childhood with me into my young adult years and up until a few years ago.  It was a heavy load and it created also fear, fear that I wouldn’t be perfect enough, get things perfectly right on the one hand, but so anxious to do that I didn’t really listen to the Holy Spirit as I should have for my own life.  My intuitive side was great when it came to other people, dreams of foreknowledge about friends and family, discernment for them, all great, but for me, for my own life, the baggage, thus the fear, and thus not such great decisions were the result.  If I had been able to let go of the baggage, the fear from that, and discern, I probably, even without any support from the family for my artistic bent, or from mom, I could have done the following.  I could have joined a church choir, stuff like that and with that compensation, since college paid for private voice and acting lessons, since music is also in a way theatre.  I could have built a career as an indie artist and songwriter.  I had so many negative voices from that baggage and also some negative external ones, which I allowed to interfere.  The arts has its’ pitfalls, no doubt, so a strong faith life, a strong boundaries spiritual and faith life, as well as community of like minded people of strong faith etc… are the way to keep you grounded.  You also have to really let go of baggage, fears and pre-conceived notions of fame, fortune, success all of that and do it for the love of the arts.  You also have to have a life and other interests outside of that, again to keep you grounded.  

This birthday, my life has had echoes, echoes of could have, should have, wish I had done.  I can’t change what was, but I can change what is and what will be, this is my opportunity to help this parish thrive, and also to put down the echoes.  I also need to find ways to earn my daily bread with these gifts and then those echoes will be further put aside and dissolved.  Life has been quite a journey and I don’t want anymore echoes unless they are of my having realized my full potential in this area and come into union with my truest soulmate, the man who is my truest soulmate at all levels including creatively.  Now, I need to totally trust The Lord, not the voices of a negative nature.  Don’t get me wrong if people see a pattern that is not healthy for you, even in terms of the projects you are doing not being right in line with the Lord, or not succeeding and requiring an overhaul of some kind, that’s different.  I am talking about those voices that chip away at your confidence, self esteem, that do not value your talents in full or at all, may even mock them.  Those voices you need to drown out with the Holy Spirit’s voice and solid scripture, prayer, poetry, music that will uplift etc…  May all listen to and fully precisely discern it and our path early on in life, that is my wish for all.  I look forward to great work at Most Precious Blood and also in ways that will earn me my daily bread in spades as they say.

Amen

 

Frustrated Collaboration, Balloon Deflated?

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The Journey That is Life.

You can see clearly what great potential things have for being a star spangled banner so to speak.  You are doing everything possible to make it happen, it’s your heart and soul, you can see all the potential.  You are really excited about the possibilities. Yeah, right? 

Well, then you are hit with collaboration, with coordinating, with meshing your focus etc.. with that of others, and if the others are like flitter flutter butterflies then you end up with what could seem like a burst ballon, a deflated raft or balloon.   When the ballon gets deflated because though you are focused, doing everything possible to make something a star spangled banner so to speak but the coordinating is not coordinating as it should, that aspect is not gelling, what do you do?  You hope, pray that your able to make it all work in spite of the coordinating etc.. not gelling on the other end, but a part of you, small part, as much of an optimist as you are that thinks if we can’t coordinate, collaborate and gel with synergy and timing, quickly and efficiently, this whole thing may never happen, may never see the light of day of success.  What if this is your calling, this path, what do you do?  Contingency plan.  You always have a contingency plan.  A contingency plan does not mean you are giving up on that project, that great vision for whatever, vocation wise, career wise, creatively.  However, it does mean you understand that what you are working on, as much as you are working on success, if you can’t coordinate with the other parties, rather they can’t coordinate etc… with you in synergy, then it may not see success, not for lack of effort etc… on your part.  

I truly hope and pray that the work I am doing at Most Precious Blood Church and my efforts at coordination efforts will bring it to success, thriving, prosperity, the Italian Catholic heritage preserved.  I hope it is an anchor for conservative traditional Catholicism and values for many generations to come.  As I do my best to coordinate with others, a small part of me is concerned.  What is the contingency plan, something akin to meet up for Catholic Artists.  I am not giving up on MPB, on that dream of it being a star spangled banner of faith and culture, but life has taught me to have a contingency plan.  The artist circle would be the alternative to raise funds and more for this parish and other parishes, organizations, uniting catholic artists to come together in the arts, particularly with A Capella and Improv skills.  I will do that after Labor Day, get moving on that.  May I have excellent coordinating partners and artists on my team, that is my prayer. One could be reactive, just give up be all angry etc.., but that is not what God expects of us, doesn’t expect us to be quitters at the first sign of glitches, or people that are tough to coordinate etc… with.  He expects us to be creative, proactive and figure out how to work through that, and as I said have a solid contingency plan.  If you always give up when there are difficult people etc.., trust me on this, you don’t get far.

Amen

The Church, Cultural Center, Why Not?

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The church is often mocked, the Catholic Church in particular, as well as the conservative evangelical.  That is quite funny considering.

The church was since Biblical times, as was the King’s court, the main patron and supporter of the arts, the talent that was present in those times with the writing of the psalms, and if you read the Catholic bible additional poetic books, you see how the prophets, and those anointed in the faith were great patrons of the arts, since Saul was the initiator of Patrons, calling on David to do his magical thing with music. As I realize this and as I look at the history of classical music, the beauty of it, seems to me that churches should be patrons of the arts and sciences, but in a way that connects to true and conservative biblical principles. This is what I hope my work with my colleague Bill will achieve, this creation of a church that works with nearby colleges, artists that have connection with foundations for young people and even older people looking to start a second career. The potential is tremendous, but it has to be done with good planning, even obtaining sponsors, has to be done in a way that is well organized, solid proposal.  Can the church be a beacon and center for the arts, for true formation of a right mindset in the Word?  Yes, it can, it was in the past, and it can be again, but it needs to avoid being Liberal Progressive Social Justice to the hilt, or to any degree.  If it does and stays true to conservative Biblical truth, makes the arts a vehicle for that, it can achieve that and celebrate the cultures of its’ members.  It can be done.

Some links for your reading on patronage of the arts and the church, Catholic Church:

https://www.ncronline.org/news/media/vatican-revives-its-ancient-patronage-arts

https://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/2792/the-churchs-role-in-art/

Amen

Chivalry and Gallantry, Duh, Good Thing!

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The beauty of a well tended and cared for garden, lovely isn’t it?  The garden did not get this way on its’ own.  Feminism, modern feminism fails to understand that relationships are all about gardening, not about winning, not about what they think it is.  What does this have to do with chivalry and all that? Plenty.

Women decided they didn’t want to care for or be cared for, that it was sexist, a sign of times of enslavement to the male species to have a man truly care for and take care of them and I don’t mean in an unhealthy dependency way.   It’s akin to a garden where both parties are the gardeners and as they tend to each other with great care, with great integrity, ethics, chivalry and all that jazz, the garden produces beautiful fruits, flowers, a beautiful place for peace, so much joy.  This also includes any long term work relationship and friendship.  If you are going to have a long term working relationship or friendship, then both parties need to be in a place where they recognize the beauty of the compliment of male and female as created by God, celebrate those compliment and synergy differences, not hate on them, try to destroy and eradicate them, not try to redefine sexuality.  When a man brings up an event, the courteous thing is you take her, you pick her up, take her home, especially if it is out of her immediate living area, like another county, don’t have her take buses and trains and all that.  The lady may say no thanks, which I don’t see why she would, but at lease the chivalry was extended.  Opening doors, holding doors, including car doors, so many little things that are not done and part of it is the “women’s movement” crazy notion that if you let a man do all this stuff and if you have a man take care of you in any way, worry about you etc..you are setting women’s lib back or some other stupidity.  Women also need to tend the garden, whether it’s romantic union or friendship, once the man has established a solid base, clear boundaries, but has shown he is ready for a mature, deep friendship or other type of union.  The garden should be mutually beautifully nurtured, chivalry should extend both ways in different ways because it’s the right thing to do.  I went through a short phase of “women’s lib, modern women’s lib mindset” luckily, I got of it, got some common sense.  I hope I will find others who think this same way and we can create a beautiful garden in life.

Amen

Comes Naturally, Likely Your Calling

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September 22nd we have our Concert at Most Precious Blood and it is in connection with San Gennaro, and as I began taking the information I had found and working it into a poem, it was so easy for me to do, happened immediately.  Then from there I started thinking of song, of improvisational song stuff.  I thought of the importance of music to share the faith, how important the arts is as a tool to share the faith and culture.

Taking something, turning it into a poem, a song, improvisational performance, coming up with a song on a theme right there and then in the moment with just a single line or phrase given to me, no problem, easy breezy.  Give me a bible passage with some basic background on who the intended audience was at that time and right then and there, I can give a lesson on that passage, on the layers of meaning, come up on the spot with a song.  A show, spoken word, song, lecture, no problem, give me six weeks, preferably eight and I can put it together, fine a venue to sell tickets, promotion, not a problem.  These things feel second nature to me, and when I am doing them, they bring joy to me, true joy, not for me alone, but because I feel I can impact lives for good, not out of some sense of anger, bitterness and all that.  That is never a good reason to do anything, not anger that comes from bitterness, not destructive hateful anger.  I realize that if that is the case, that if all this brings me joy, and I feel I am impacting etc…, coming from a good place, then that is my path, vocation.  As for anger, yes there is righteous anger, but even that you have to be careful how you respond.  Creating further division, separation, hate all that is not okay as a response.  Forgiveness, educating, working to bring unity in and through Agape Love, mutual respect, also change in one’s own behavior and community behavior is crucial.  Even when we use the arts as a way to impact, we need to be careful what we are transmitting to youth, to millennials.  Are we teaching hatred, anger, division, violence to others as a way to handle any rejection of sin, or current political activity for example? I realize that my path in the arts and ministry means I have to really be aware of how my artistic work and all I do is presented.  It is I think a wonderful calling and I hope I do The Lord proud in my journey.  I hope I am blessed soon with a life partner to share in this journey with me, a man of faith, of the arts.  

Amen

 

New Year, So What Goals?

Baptism of Fire

As another year has passed, I look back to my feeling last year at this time and the year before, it’s different.  This year, there isn’t the buoyancy of those past birthdays, the heart this year had no expectations, so what’s going on? Is that a good thing for a bad thing? Well…

An old friend had a philosophy “Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst, always”  I  guess in the past I had set all these high expectations for the new year right before my birthday, not goals, not realistic goals, but a bunch of expectations, that included other people.  This year, after learning life’s lessons that I have, I have not done that.  I am hoping for the best, praying, meditating on goals I hope to achieve, that the Holy Spirit has set in me and are realistic, even if this year only the initial buds of the flower spring forth, it’s okay.  The fibormyalgia is still here, not gone away and it may always be there, but so will my music, poetry, love of the arts and ministry, of the faith, of Christ. That is what matters.  What are my goals?

  • Be an effective music minister within the Italian-American and Roman Catholic Community
  • Grow in this capacity and as an artist
  • Earn a living as a music minister and artist, outside of my volunteer work with the church
  • Build a solid group of friends, a family in the arts, ministry, in the same field and grow together in the faith and in our gifts, showcase our talent
  • Be united, by divine guidance, with my soulmate twinflame in sacred companionship for the rest of my life

Unlike other years where i tried to force things to happen had a whole bunch of expectation, high expectations about stuff happening, how it should happen, all that, not anymore.  Yes I have goals and yes I will day to day work towards them, but I wont have a whole bunch of high to the sky expectations.  I will strive to live in the moment, do what needs to be done, still doing long range planning as necessary to succeed, but doing my best to go with the flow as well.

Amen