30 June 2012

What Would I Have Missed?

June 30.

It was two years ago today that I nearly lost my life in a car accident.

I didn't know the date at the time (I'm often lucky just to know what month it is). But since that week it's been etched into my mind. Hardly a day goes by where the memory of June 30, 2010 doesn't nudge at my consciousness.

I feel, in a way, that I've been given a 'bonus life,' like in a video game. Especially in the first year after the accident, I would hear the name of the date and my first thought would be, 'the day I died,' in the same casual way I associate certain dates with friends' birthdays. It took conscious thought to remember that I hadn't died (actually I hadn't even been seriously injured).

It was such a catalyst. Before the accident, I was depressed, numb to everything, at times suicidal -- in fact, just that Sunday I had been poking out of habit at the idea of suicide again, in the wake of some especially cutting words directed at me by a member of the youth group, whom I had previously considered a friend.

But on June 30, laying in that hospital bed, completely immobilised as I waited for them to take x-rays, thinking about the events of an hour before and what could have been -- suddenly I realised I wanted to live. I've not been suicidal since.

As I lay there I wondered, what if I had died? What would I have left?

That set me into a completely different mindset. If it was not yet my time to die, then what was I supposed to do with my life until it was?

Starting 1 July 2010, I pursued the answer to that question like a madwoman. It's become a bit of an addiction, that question... What am I supposed to do with my life? This year? This week? Today? This moment?

My searching and praying pointed to my passion for dance, but that's too long for this post. It also pushed me deeper into encouraging other people and other things as well.

Today, though, on the two-year anniversary, I started thinking -- what would I have missed? What have I experienced since that day that I wouldn't have if I been five inches further into the intersection at the time of impact?

I would never have seen my little brother (six months old at the time), learn how to walk and I would now be missing watching his vocabulary increase at a daily rate.

I would have missed two years of dance by now (going on three).

All those dances in my head, those pieces of choreography I kept reviewing over and over in my mind so to keep them fresh until I knew how to write them down -- those would have been gone. Sing Your Freedom, You Are The One, King Of Kings, Apathy Alert, The Gift, Them -- those would never have been composed or written down (now that I think about it, I didn't even know any of those songs at the time).

The novels Reuben, Rebecca's World, Chasm, Hidden Beauty, and Kidnapped would never have been written, even in rough draft form.

I would never have gotten to own this MacBook.

I would never have been introduced to Lecrae, classicchristian247.com, or (gasp!) White Heart. (No wonder I was depressed -- the White Heart content in my brain was low.)

In a similar vein, I would never have gotten to witness the release of John Schlitt's The Greater Cause (just ordered my copy today!).

I would never have been able to graduate.

I would never have gotten to experience for myself the peace and joy the Holy Spirit gives (another story for another post).

I would have missed last night's beautiful sunset.

I would have missed out on a good thousand or so fantastic songs (I found something I wrote just weeks before the accident saying I had 493 songs in my iTunes library. I'm currently pushing 2,000 and probably have another 500 tracks in my iTunes wish list -- never mind the stuff that isn't on the iTunes Store).

I would have missed my friends' wedding a few weeks ago.

There are so many others. Every moment is one I might never have seen. Every breath is one I might never have taken but for the grace of God in providing that five-inch space on 30 June 2010.

As someone who has been given a second chance, listen to me: Don't waste your life. When I woke up that morning, I would never have guessed it could have been my last.

21 June 2012

You Know You Need To Go To Bed When...

...you're making a playlist and humming Fool's Gold and you wonder what that song would have sounded like if John Schlitt had sung it.

And then you remember John Schlitt did sing it.

That's when you need to go to bed.

16 June 2012

Music News...


So far there doesn't appear to be a Canada date, but hopefully, hopefully there's a booking agent in Alberta who'll bring it about because it would be a total dream come true... right up there with seeing a White Heart concert and a Classic Petra concert.

Come on, tell me you don't want to hear Walk Away From Love live...

PFR website/blog here.
Source (as posted by the classicchristian247.com Facebook page).

10 June 2012

New Experiences

So last night I went to my first 'real' dance.

By that I mean my first everybody-on-the-dancefloor thing.

See, some friends of mine got married -- it was inevitable; we all saw it coming years ago -- and after the ceremony and everything I joined most of the wedding party at the dance.

I hadn't been to a wedding since I was five years old. And at that wedding I was one of the flowergirls and pretty much stole everybody's attention. Even my aunt, the bride, had to share the spotlight with her flowergirl nieces. (And believe me, I soaked it up. I was a total princess back then.) Here I wasn't even in the family, I was just a friend from church.

Anyway, after a gorgeous ceremony, there was the dance.

I half-considered not coming, since I'm hopelessly single and wasn't sure I would be able to find anything else to do aside from sit there awkwardly.

But then I realised I knew most of the people that would probably be there, so I went -- if only because some of them I hadn't seen in a long long while and I hoped to do some catching up with them.

One of them was Kristin. She'd been in England at school for nearly a year now and had finally come back for the summer. Upon arriving at the hall, I made my way over to her and her sister Annika. And within the first three songs, they had teamed up and dragged me out onto the dance floor.

It was weird. Sure I've been dancing 'officially' since I was six years old, but that's classical ballet -- completely different from a roomful of random people bopping around to the Black Eyed Peas. I think I had a harder time of it than the people who have no dance training. I had the rhythm, but I didn't have the freedom. The first few dances were incredibly awkward, but it was even more awkward to sit and kind of look around the room, so I joined Kristin and/or Annika (whichever one was on the dance floor at the time) in dancing to the songs that interested me.

Eventually I grew more comfortable. (Watching a few old friends reveal sides of themselves I'd never seen before helped -- I had no idea my fellow church PowerPoint person could dance!)

And then came a rarity -- a song I actually knew. Cotton Eyed Joe.

Kristin and I had been on the dance floor anyway, so we started on that.

Apparently the version of the song I knew was about a quarter of the length of the actual song -- just when I thought it was wrapping up, it would go back and start all over again. And again. And again.

However, dancer pride does not give up easily. I was nearly spent, but kept going. Kristin had long been reduced to swaying side to side with an extra little 'bop' on each side.

But I had raised the bar too high at the beginning to let myself back off now. I fell into a rather tap-like rhythm -- 1 2 3 4... 1 2 3 4... step side ball change hop, step side ball change hop, step side ball change hop, step side ball change hop, clap, quickly improvise another four-count sequence in time for the next barrage of counts...

About halfway through, I really began to enjoy it. I let myself experiment with the rhythm a little -- three measures the same, the fourth different, or one completely different sequence right in the middle of somewhere, snapping fingers, the odd clap as the guy got to Joe in Where did you come from, Cotton Eyed Joe?

I've never really improvised before -- and most definitely not in public. It was different. It was interesting. And it was actually kind of fun. Even though my sister was probably watching, and so was the guy who told me I was worthless and would never amount to anything, and so was the former youth pastor who probably only knew me as a frowning, nit-picky, selfish shrew, and so were Kristin and Annika's parents...

I probably didn't look like I was having fun. Several times over the course of the song I caught myself counting (out loud, but thankfully not louder than the thumping speakers) "1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4...." and when I'm counting like that I'm usually frowning in concentration. I noticed I was staring through the ceiling as I focused on keeping up with the song. But despite my efforts to tell my face I really was rather enjoying myself, the quick pace of the song demanded way more attention than my facial expression.

But now that I've improvised in public, I'm itching to do it again. It gave my choreographic mind a totally new angle to work from for a few minutes, an angle it had never seen before. Something radically different from the heavily technical, formation-based, every-finger-placed stage numbers I've been demanding of it lately.

So now I need to hang out with more people with upcoming weddings.

08 June 2012

Music Lately (Brought To You By Music Day)

Some music I've discovered recently (you know, aside from the new John Schlitt album):

New Earth (Single)
Jason Zerbin (2011 - independent release)
iTunes here; YouTube here.
Never heard of this guy until the other Sunday night. I was almost home and the PFR CD had reached the end of the song. There wasn't time enough for the next song, so I switched to radio and hoped the station wasn't playing Mandisa, tobyMac, or Phillips Craig and Dean's disgustingly-overplayed Revelation Song.
And it wasn't. It was playing this song.
It made me think of the Kimberlites, though not as heavy in the style (the Kimberlites are good, but you can only take so much). It was happy (come on, there's whistling!), the bass was perfect, and it was a fast beat... so not typical for the local 'Christian' music station. I was hooked right away. One day there will be a tap dance to this.
(Also, apparently he's Canadian -- in fact, it sounds as if he's from the same area I am.)

Your Great Name
Natalie Grant
Love Revolution (2010 Curb Records)
iTunes here; YouTube here.
I'd heard this before on the radio, but kind of ignored it. After all, if you weren't paying attention (and I usually wasn't), it sounded like standard 'inspirational' radio fare. Everyone who listens to these stations knows Natalie Grant without realising that they know Natalie Grant -- she's played constantly, but somehow slips beneath our consciousness.
A few Sundays ago, though, our pastor played this song -- the full six minutes of it -- before communion. I dimmed the lights (for I was on lights/PowerPoint), the sound guy cranked it, and we all sat and soaked in the song for six minutes. It had been a pretty slow service, and this really brought it back around. Even the slightly compromised YouTube quality added to the experience.
This song is totally different to me now. I recommend blasting this at top volume. Connect high quality speakers to your computer if you have some, and close your eyes as you listen. It will make all the difference.

Kerry Livgren
Odyssey Into The Mind's Eye (1996 Kerygmatic Music)
iTunes here.
I heard this one on classicchristian247.com. Normally I don't get into instrumental stuff, but this one got my attention. (Probably the synth -- I'm a total sucker for a synthesizer.) The song seems to go on for quite a long time, yet as it starts to wrap up one starts to feel sad that it's over already -- it's so beautiful. And Liquidity is the perfect name for it -- it all flows and sinks and blends and eddies and drapes itself nonchalantly over everything and yet the underlying beat keeps the silky quality from slowing it to a stall. It's fantastic.
I listened to this the other day at about 2 am and accidentally choreographed most of the ending before I realised it. So then, of course, I stayed up till 3 am writing down the choreography so I wouldn't forget it. (I think it was even a dance night too -- meaning I had to be up at 7.30 the next morning for dance class.)
Sometimes this song almost makes me think of White Heart -- something Mark Gersmehl might have come up with (and come on, can you not see Billy Smiley rocking that guitar interlude?).

07 June 2012

Artists Explained

Found this on the Carman Facebook page (talking about his cat trying to wake him up...).

"He doesn't understand. I'm a musician. I have no 6.00 am on my clock... anywhere."

Your artist friends have now been explained to you.

P.S. -- For those who are interested, Carman is currently raising money to record a new praise and worship album. Details on his Facebook page if you'd like to be a part of that.