Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I'm Discovering... a Lot of Suckers at Gordon

Hello, world of blogginess. I haven't blogged in over a week. I am very busy. (As opposed to most other college students, who of course have loads of time on their hands to do nothing at all.)

Yesterday we had what Gregg called "a water blizzard!!" It rained alot and was incredibly windy. Most people whine about the "bad weather" but I've never minded it.

On Saturday I earned $150 playing in a string quartet at a wedding. We played "Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder" as the recessional; it was a military wedding held at a base. It was kind of fun... and of course, I like the money.

I've been spending the past three or four weeks fighting the administration - excuse me, I mean petitioning - to waive the Discovery Expedition requirement. I participated in a very similar program during the summer prior to my freshman year, and I have already met the overarching goals of the Discovery program. My petition was initially denied; I petitioned to a person higher up in authority, and I think it will be denied again - but first they have to spend several weeks deliberating on it while I continue to attend this class in the meantime. (I can think of numerous fitting adjectives to modify 'class,' but I'll refrain for the time being, since I'm trying to prove to the administration my great maturity. But let me just say that I promise, I don't need to go on an enforced camping trip and spend time climbing ropes and building community with perfect strangers I'll never see again after this class ends and then keeping a journal about all of that in order to grow closer to God. I have many feelings about these kinds of fad mountaintop experiences, but I won't go into detail right now.) As far as the administration of this great school is concerned, apparently the program I participated in during the summer before I went to Biola couldn't possibly be as great as what is offered here at Gordon - so once again I encounter the deep-set Gordon College inferiority complex that makes them fight every class I've taken anywhere else while mindlessly insisting that "we are an accredited institution, and we have policies!"

I've been to the first two class sessions, and boy have I Discovered a lot. For example, we played a game with a tarp. The instructor and TA held the tarp, and the class divided on either side of the tarp. One person at a time on each side went forward and crouched right by the tarp. The instructor would drop the tarp, and the two people had to say each others' names. Now if that's not Discoverytastic, I don't know what is.

I said I wasn't going to rant, and I meant it - that was barely the tip of the iceberg, my friends. The bottom line is that I can't stand to have my time (3 hours of class time a week, a whole Saturday, and a whole weekend!) and money ($475!) wasted when I've already met the purposes and goals of the Discovery program through another (*coughmuchbettercough*) program, and it's a really frustrating situation. When this is all over, I will be writing a letter to the administration summarizing factually, succinctly, and maturely exactly what I believe about all of this.

In other news, Fievel has a great post on worrying; it's definitely worth a read.

And now I must go, because today is Wednesday, and Wednesday means that I get to go Discover things. Oh boy. I might pee my pants with the excitement of it all.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Weekend in Review

On Friday I had a wonderful violin lesson, went into Boston to NEC and observed two other lessons, and had dinner with Katharine, Corey, and Nathan at the top of the Prudential Center.

Yesterday, I taught two piano lessons, watched Just Like Heaven with Cara and Nathan, and practiced for five hours. I also learned some new words from the following exchange, which took place in a parking lot:

Nathan: That car is parked crooked.
Cara: It's parked like a lovesick kangaroo.
Nathan and Sarah: What?
Cara: It's a British expression. It means it's parked squiffy.
Nathan and Sarah: Squiffy? Huh?
Cara: You know, wonky.

Today, I took Nathan to hear the Westminster Abbey Choir at Trinity Church in Boston. It was part of my birthday present to him - he turns 21 tomorrow! It was quite wonderful.

Tonight and tomorrow, I have a ton of homework to do.

Better get to it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Pow'r of Christ in Me

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease.
My Comforter, my All in all,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, who took on flesh,
fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
scorned by the ones He came to save.
'Till on the cross as Jesus died,
the wrath of God was satisfied.
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid;
here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world, by darkness slain;
Then, bursting forth in glorious day,
up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine,
bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
this is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
can ever pluck me from His hand;
'Till He returns or calls me home,
here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

We sang this in church this past Sunday; I like it a lot.

The sermon was very good as well. The passage was Acts 5:12-26, with a focus on "Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life." The angel didn't say to them, "hey, shh, I've released you from prison... run away quickly! Don't let anyone ever recognize you lest you are captured again! Hide yourselves!" He told them to go right back to the people who had put them in prison, to stand in the temple and speak to everyone about the hope and life they had found. The pastor said at one point, "I hope you all have lots of Christian friends. I also hope that you all have lots of non-Christian friends!" It was a good message. It gave me food for thought as I try to decide what the next year of my life is going to be like.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Choir Concert and Music Meme

Last night was our homecoming choir concert. It was fun, and it went much better than I had anticipated. We sang Cantate Domino by Sweelinck; Jesu Dulcis Memoria by De Victoria; O Sacrum Convivium by Peter Mathews; an arrangement of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot; Music in the Air with Gregg as soloist (he did a great job!); Sinner Man with Wesley as soloist (he was great too!); the last two movements of The Settling Years by Libby Larsen (as choir accompanist, FavoriteBoy had a challenging and cool part to this piece, and he was fantastic); and my favorite, Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine by Eric Whitacre. Leonardo went much better than I thought it might have. Also, I made my debut as a super-fantastic finger-cymbal player extraordinaire! Yeah, I was pretty much amazing.

So the concert was fun, and I liked wearing my red choir dress; I never got a chance to wear that one last year since I was sick for the last concert of the year.

I have a Latin exam tomorrow. Eek!

Also, BeatriceG tagged me for this music meme:

List five songs that you are currently enjoying. It doesn't matter what genre they are from, whether they have words, or even if they're any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying right now.

Post these instructions, the artist and the song in your blog along with your five songs. Then tag five other people to see what they're listening to.

[1] Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine, by Eric Whitacre

[2] The Luckiest, by Ben Folds

[3] It's a Beautiful Life, by Ace of Base

[4] Symphony No. 3 "Organ", by Saint-Saens

[5] Brahms Horn Trio (piano, violin, and horn - I'm playing it this semester!)

These are by no means my all-time favorites... just things I've listened to and enjoyed lately.

I tag Emily, Libby, Becka, and Cara!

Tuesday, October 4, 2005


Today has been a pensive sort of day. I did 10 miles at the gym this morning (running, biking, and elliptical-ing) and relished the time to just hang out with myself in my head.

Everything is kind of overwhelming. Practicing. Pedagogy. Latin exam coming up. Choir concert coming up. Beginning to rehearse The Lark Ascending with the orchestra in two weeks. And of course, the possibility of grad school on the horizon.

I find life a little frightening right now. And I've discovered something. The truth is, I'm afraid of my life because I don't trust deep down that God is going to care for me, even though He promises that He will. And I don't trust that He will care for me because some nasty part of myself keeps telling me, even though I know it's not true, that I haven't worked hard enough, and God's not going to bail me out now.

I thought a lot about grad school today, and about the different directions my life could take. So many friends and acquaintances have graduated from college, married someone from the same college, settled down within a few miles of said college (often even working there), stayed in touch with the same circle of college friends, and begun to have babies. And in a way, this life appeals to me. And if God is calling me to a life like that, then that is what I must do.

But my teacher said something to me a few weeks ago that has given me a great deal of food for thought. He mentioned long-time acquaintances he has from the Wheaton area, friends who have led a life very close to Wheaton for years - attending Wheaton, staying near Wheaton, perhaps teaching at Wheaton or taking a staff position at Wheaton, marrying Wheaton sweethearts and raising baby Wheaties. And he made it clear that he cannot judge those people or even hint that they might not be doing the will of God - for that is between them and God. He simply told me that that was not the sort of life he himself had been called to, and that this fact had been clear from an early age based on the talents, gifts, and opportunities God gave him. Sometimes God is calling us to step out into a bigger circle than we've been in before, and sometimes He's given us gifts and talents and callings that are beyond the edges of what feels safe.

I have spent these past few years studying music, and the world of music is a world desperately aching for the truth of Christianity. So while one life I envision for myself involves a life of raising a family and playing my violin in church on Sundays - and this would be a wonderful and valuable thing, and perhaps I would be happy to do that for the rest of my life - perhaps I need to step out a bit farther and do something more. It does seem strange to be devoting myself to study so that I might be better equipped to reach the world for Christ and for His kingdom, and to then remain in a sense in the Christian college bubble for the rest of my life. My teacher was commenting on this phenomenon, and it's something I've thought a lot about before, too, as I watch my friends grow up and wonder what kind of life I want to grow into. What kind of life does God want me to grow into?

All of this made me remember a quote from a good old chick flick, You've Got Mail:

Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, valuable, but small. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So goodnight, dear void.

I've had this quote running through my head all morning. "Do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave?"

I'm worried. Worried about change, worried about courage, worried about making the right decisions, worried about the significance of my life. Some days I feel like life is a giant game, where I just keep moving my playing piece forward a tiny step at a time into some cosmic void of repetition, only to do the same thing the next day and each day following after that. Then other days I feel like it's all so overwhelmingly important.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about music and calling and faith lately. I've been reading a great collection of essays by teachers from the Indiana University string department back in the day, and the one by my teacher in particular was very, very good. I've been thinking about some of Douglas Yeo's articles, too. I posted many excerpts from his writings over the summer, and I've been re-visiting those. This one in particular keeps coming to mind:

Because where are those who do not believe? Where are those who are in darkness? Where are those who do not see the light? Are they only in churches where pastors preach? Are they only in villages where missionaries toil and testify? Are they only in junior high youth groups where young leaders try to get through to the teen age mind?

No. They are in the Boston Symphony Orchestra. They are at Stop and Shop and Walgreens drugstore. At Starbucks. Wandering the halls of the Museum of Fine Arts and dancing on stage at the Boston Ballet. They are reading journals about architecture, magazines about sports cars, surfing the internet, they are walking into doctor's offices learning how to treat their diabetic child or hearing they have only months to live when that devil cancer is eating away at their liver.

All of those people need to see the light. Most will never darken the foyer of a church with their shadow. All of the full time Christian ministry workers in the world will not bring them to understand Christ because they are not where those workers are. They need the light, but how shall they hear without a preacher who comes to them?
You see, wherever you are there are people who need the Light. And the excellence with which we do what we do - as unto the Lord - gives us an opportunity to reach people we might not otherwise be able to reach. Excellence attracts those who want excellence. We do what we do as unto the Lord - WHATEVER we do. Whether it is play the trombone, or write those articles, or paint those pictures, or jump those hurdles or swing that bat or bale that hay, or counsel that unhappy couple, or teach that Sunday School class or even teach a college freshman music student what a Neapolitan sixth chord is. For in each of those callings - and indeed they are CALLINGS every bit as real and significant as being called to the foreign mission field - there are people you will meet and see and interact with who are longing to see the light... And you may be the only person God ever puts in their path who will tell them what they need to hear.

And why will they listen to you? Because you have credibility in their sight because: Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. You give your work your very best because your work is an offering for the Lord. And God is very concerned with the quality of our offering, make no mistake. When he asks for our first fruits, he does not want our leftovers. Let us never forget what he has done for us and why he did it.

For a world lost and dark, there is hope. The sacrifice of Christ on our behalf assures that God will look at us with Christ's righteousness credited to us... When we consider this undeserved gift that God has given us, how can we give him less than our best?

This calling you have - whatever it may be - is honored by God. You need not feel that guilt that you are not doing what someone tells you you should be doing. You simply need to be in that place where God calls you - whether or not it makes sense to you or anyone else. Because God will have you, in the words of the old gospel song, "Brighten the corner where you are."

(From On a Mission From God)

I love the violin. I hate the violin. I don't know what I want to do with my life. I want to go to grad school and play Beethoven and Brahms and Tchaikovsky and have a life filled with music. I would hate grad school and the people would be snotty and the pressure would be too much. I want to play violin forever. I want to quit violin. I want to be single. I want to get married someday and have kids and raise them and be a wife and a mom. (All this = I don't know what I want.)

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Go Sox!

And the Sox are going to the playoffs again, thanks not only to their win against the Yankees this afternoon, but also to the Indians loss to the White Sox. Yay!

I watched the game with FavoriteBoy for quite a while, but then I fell asleep during a commercial and was out for a while - I've been exhausted lately. Anyway, once we knew the Indians had lost, it didn't matter too much that I slept through the rest of the game!

Sucker for Saint-Saens

Last night Nathan took me to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra in their first program of the season. (We went to the second night rather than opening night, because we were able to get much better seats for less money!) This was sort of our celebration of "yay, we've been having fun being best friends for a whole year now!" It was a really grand evening. They played the Le Corsaire Overture by Berlioz, Jeux by Debussy, Le Boeuf sur le toit by Milhaud, and the second half consisted of... Saint-Saens' Symphony No. 3, the "Organ" Symphony! I had such a good time. I absolutely loved the program. The Berlioz was really, really cool, and the Debussy was enjoyable as well. The Milhaud was really fun; it was full of quirkiness. Of course, the Saint-Saens was what we really went to hear, and it definitely met and exceeded my expectations. The BSO has spent the past two years renovating their organ, and Simon Preston came to play the concert. I thought it was grand and glorious - just what Saint-Saens ought to be. The last movement made me cry, which reminded me of a passage I recently read in an essay by my teacher, called The Many Faces of Musical Talent:

"One of my earliest teachers used to put it very beautifully. "If I pay my five dollars for a concert, I will sit down in my seat and appreciate many things about an artist and admire what he can do. Or I may disapprove very much of his sense of style, find his musical taste offensive, and question his breeding. But if just once I do this...," and at this point he would brush away an imaginary tear from his eye, "then I know that I have gotten my money's worth."