[as written from 81611-6412, with additions and editions on 82312]
When first talking to my Dad about the possibility of going part-time to focus on music and life he said, “Don’t do that! You’ll go through Hell!” What, as if this is paradise? Maybe I have to go through Hell to find out what paradise is. Otherwise I may be in paradise right now thinking it’s Hell all the time.
You can survive without money, but there’s no point in surviving if you don’t have time.
Why waste the best years of your life? Why spend the prime of your life confined to a cube, not even taking advantage of your young, energetic, healthy body?
Waste the prime of life slaving to save up money for the end of life when your body’s too achy from all those years of slaving to really enjoy it. Work during the only years when you could actually be adventurous and do anything you want, only to retire when your outings are confined and safe. I say the exact opposite: retire while you’re still young and work when you’re old.
It’s not like a job is going to be anything too physically-challenging for someone in their 60’s. Especially since by the time I’m in my 60’s everything will be copy-and-pasting on computers anyways, so I’ll be confined to a cube (just like an old person would be in a retirement home) and clicking mouses all day (just like an old person would be doing anyways, playing solitaire and surfing the web).
Slave your whole life away and by the time you can finally retire you’re too old and achy and fragile to do the things you would do if you were younger.
And sadly you have to factor in the possibility that you wouldn’t even live long enough to retire (especially with the age of retirement getting pushed back), in which case your whole existence was all about school or working since you were like 5, and then ended before your life could be known for anything other than that. What a shame it would be for you to invest all your time in a job, just longing for the day you retire, only to randomly get killed by a drunk driver at the age of 60. “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you. Then whose will all these things be which you have acquired?’” [Luke 12:20]
I wonder if an old man on his death bed would be happy he played it safe his whole life, giving up the risk of adventure for the mediocrity of comfort and security? I doubt it. After all, he still dies just like the man who dies while mountain climbing or sky-diving. What does it matter at that point how you die? And though the latter died sooner, who had a more fulfilling life overall? You’re going to leave this earth one way or another; you might as well go out with a bang! And live a more exciting life until that bang comes (if it ever does indeed come).
“Stand by and see the salvation of our God.”
Whereas on our first trip to the new city I was yelling “Livin’ the dream! Livin’ the FLIPPIN’ dream!!” Now I somberly mutter under my breath with reverence “Living the dream.” Do I have cold feet? Of course I’ve got cold feet! But I choose to force those cold feet forward. I don’t wake up everyday with such a strong conviction of faith so as to meditate on every one of my problems until I have peace about each one, but I do have an over-arching faith that says “I’m scared about these circumstances I’m going through, but I know God will make it all work out in the end one way or another.” And so my act of faith isn’t staring at my fears in the face and laughing at them, my act of faith is to not think of them at all and trust that God’s plan isn’t dependent on me having faith about each one, but instead having faith that he’ll make it all work out, and it’s not going to help anything by me thinking about them. Even if my goal is trying to muster faith against each problem individually, chances are if I think about a problem I’ll unavoidably worry; so why even think of them? My act of faith is to keep flying by the seat of my pants, not paying attention to the details (lest I worry), and trusting that God will make me land where I’m supposed to.
[This is something I had to learn from going through major depression during the struggles with my band’s old drummer. It seemed that he would be quitting the band (which for me was ultimately a sign that my dream of music wouldn’t work out and everything I’d banked my life on was a mistake), and so I was stressed, depressed, and anxious as I was forced to wait for him to get his act together and figure out what he was doing. The mood of every day hinged on what kind of response I got from him. Then one day he randomly just hit us with the news that he was moving out of state, which had nothing to do with the band but had to do with family issues, so it was completely out of our control. That’s when I realized that all this time I was trying to fix the situation and manipulate it to work out in my favor, but in the end the outcome was completely independent of me, and I couldn’t have influenced the situation one bit. The outcome was still going to happen regardless of me. I had the realization that instead of spending that month in depression, stress, and anxiety, I could have simply not cared or thought about the situation at all, and instead chilled out and enjoyed life for a month, and the result would have been exactly the same! …only in the second scenario I would have had a much better month of my life.]
“Stand by and see the salvation of our God.” For some reason, in times like this, a verse will just randomly come out of my inner being, and the same verse keeps coming over and over (as was the case when I was nervous about talking to Mike Minter on the phone and the line “Why do the nations rage when their king is on the throne?” kept coming to me all week). This particular line is one that got into my head from one of Minter’s sermons referring to Moses’ statement when the people were dead-ended by the Red Sea (the specific wording I think is a combination with Isaiah 52:10, after being recently amazed by Rich Mullins’ song “52:10”). Just as in the past when God had everything fall into place miraculously and amazingly, even now I’m seeing the pieces coming together and all I can do is keep going, awaiting the miraculous as in the past, and say “Stand by and see the salvation of our God.” May I fall into place, and then stand back and be amazed at the puzzle You have made!
“During the first period of a man’s life the greatest danger is not to take the risk.”