Sadness is having your violin lesson cancelled because you're congested and running a fever and feeling generally wretched and your teacher can't risk catching it because he's leaving for Korea very soon. And after he just got back from Germany (I think it was Germany) so you haven't had a lesson in three (two? three? my head is feeling fuzzy with this horrid illness) weeks already.
Happiness is having a few friends here who show tremendous potential to become very good friends.
Happiness is talking to your Mom on the phone for a while and feeling better about life in general afterwards. My parents are so wonderful... they have a way of making life look more live-able.
"Mom? Am I really naive? Because I always believed Dad when he said that he thinks you're the most beautiful woman in the world and he's never thought twice about anyone else. But the guys I've met here are making me lose faith in the entire male gender. Isn't it rude and ungentlemanly for them to discuss women in a crude and immature way, and especially when there are women present? Am I being silly? Are men so hopelessly driven by their testosterone as to have no hope of being virtuous? How can you trust anyone? How can marriage be forever like yours with Dad?"
So we talked about it. And it's true that my Dad thinks my Mom is the most beautiful woman in the world. And it's true that their marriage is solid and stable and the happiest marriage I've ever seen or even heard about. And we talked about how silly this sex-obsession in our culture is. Everyone now says that guys can't help it, and so... they don't try to. When instead of obsessing about sex, they ought to go and pursue interesting things... read a book, study architecture, go canoeing, or go to a museum. I mean, isn't that the way life really is? If you're only thinking about getting laid, then once you do... then what? You'd better be cultivating a variety of interests and developing yourself as a person! And as you're doing this, and as a Christian, as you're running the race with your eyes fixed on Jesus, you look alongside and see that there's somebody running right with you, in the next lane over. Maybe they were there all along and you hadn't noticed, or maybe they just moved into a lane near yours, or whatever. And there you are, running side by side, pursuing the same ultimate goals and sharing a lot of interests along the way, and... so you just join hands and run together in the same lane as one. Kind of like a three-legged race, except you really just become the two legs of one person, the two of you together, and you run better together than either of you could separately. And you glorify God even better together as one than you did as two. And that's that. And it's wonderful and you live happily ever after and then in the ever-after after that, too.
I wish I could argue some people into having a much fuller view of life. Why do people say that Christians "aren't living in the real world"? Even some Christians say this about people who choose not to... oh, whatever. Get drunk on weekends. Do drugs. Screw around. Or whatever. But as Christians -- the kind of Christians whose worldviews really infiltrate the way they see everything around them -- our world is the real world. So beautiful and solid! And meaningful! So it's the others, really, who aren't dwelling within reality. Their world is the pseudo-world of relativity and soul-less, evolved, "trousered apes" and "men without chests."
The heavens declare the glory of God, and yet so many people do not see it. We live in a world where God's invisible qualities are displayed through the visible; we can look up at the heavens and all around us on earth and still...people do not believe. And if the invisible qualities weren't enough, there's Jesus! And fullness of joy! And I'm a little bit frustrated right now with people who say they believe and yet don't live any differently. The world is so full of such a great openness and expanse of possibilities. It makes me sad to see Christians pursuing happiness in stupid ways. So many people are looking in all the wrong places.
Now... I was thinking about something. This is not deeply theological, but I like it anyway. It is personal. Don't laugh. When I think of what it means to abide in Christ, the mental image that I have that comes nearest to expressing what I think it must mean is that of walking on my Dad's feet when I was a kid. You know... standing on his feet and wrapping my arms tightly around his waist and holding on while he walked around. Just going where he led and holding on tight and resting against his comfortable familiarity and letting him take care of things. Trusting. Hmm... that may be theologically absurd, or it may sound stupid or childish... but it makes sense to me. Just the being part... and if you're abiding, just being like that, then the doing part of Christianity stems from that, I think.
Along a similar train of thought, after talking to Melissa a bit lately about her family situation, I'm grateful for my own family. In particular, I'm grateful that my Dad thinks I'm beautiful and tells me so all the time. Funny how important that is. Funny how I still remember vividly walking into Dad's office several years ago and one of his employees saying I looked nice, and how Dad beamed with pride and said fondly, "isn't she beautiful?" Wow. Yeah.
I talked to Brian recently, telling him a little bit about my siblings. Talking about Jonathan, I said I just love him so much and think he's brilliant and clever and funny and good and handsome and wonderful. Brian interrupted and said something like, "Dude, you think your brother is hot?" How weird. How stupid. How sad. I didn't even get to Christopher because of the interruption, but I would have said that I think he's wonderful and brilliant and clever and funny and good and handsome too. That's as it should be. I love my siblings. I'm proud of them. There's nothing wrong with thinking your brothers are handsome; in fact, there's everything right about it.
Well, over the weekend I tidied up a bit, put up some pictures in my new room (well, it's still new-ish at least... I've been here about a week now), and did laundry. (Was down to 0 pairs of underwear, but am now back up to 12 pairs.) Also, my Mum sent me cookies and my sister and her husband sent me a package too, both of which arrived recently, to my great joy.
One more interesting thing: my blog inspired Jonathan Rowley (at least in part) to start a blog of his own. I'm feeling rather pleased with myself about that. His is nice, so go read it! (er, after you're done reading mine.)
Must get back to work on the Barber concerto, starting tomorrow. I've had enough of a break from that. Must begin the third movement, too. It's going to take some work. Must practice scales and arpeggios with more diligence, too.
Must get my fever-ish and sickly self into bed. Last night I couldn't sleep well at all... my skin felt prickly and painful all over, and I was hot and cold alternately. My head was pounding and my heart felt like it would thump right out of my body. Blah. After tossing and turning for hours, I got up at 4:00 with an obsessive desire to clip my nails... and then couldn't find my nail-clippers anywhere. I looked and looked. It felt sort of like that half-dreaming state... and like a dream in the sense that I latched onto something pretty unimportant, but something that I had indeed thought about during the previous day. And then it became this obsession. But I was awake. Weird. Oh, and I still can't find my nail-clippers.
The other thing that happens when I have a terrible fever like this is that I play an endless game of Scrabble with myself in my mind. Letters flying all around in my mind's eye, rearranging themselves, and I've got to keep making words, words, words.... I hate this. So restless. I just need to sleep...