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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Birthday Letter to Jesus

Dear Jesus,

Happy birthday! I wish I had all the best gifts in the world to lay down at your feet, but all I have is myself. Yet that's all you want. The best gift you could receive from me is me.

Jesus, above all the presents I have ever received; new shoes, new clothes, the promise of another's love...they all pale in comparison to you. Jesus, you are the best present I've ever gotten!

I'm not saying this because it's the thing to say or because I should be a good example to others.  I'm saying it because it's true...because without you, my life would not be how it is today. I wouldn't have grown up the way I did, I wouldn't act how I do, I wouldn't have fallen in love like I have. Without you, life would be a living hell.

You are the best Christmas present ever!

Love,
Angelica

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Process of Elimination

*WARNING: this blog post will deal with more adult themes (relationships and affairs).  No, there are no disgusting descriptions.  Just the topics.  Read on with discretion.  And remember who's writing this...it's naive Angelica.*

Some of you are familiar with the singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran.  He's a Rupert Grint look-a-like, a British redhead, and is widely popular with his song "Thinking Out Loud".  Seriously, if you haven't watched the music video, stop reading this and go find it.  You will die from the adorableness.

His song "Don't", reached the Top Ten in the US in 2014.  It's more intense than your usual break up songs.  It's more of a casual telling of the relationship with a passive aggressive response.  In the original version of the song, he uses the f-word in the chorus.  However, in most of the recordings you find now, particularly on Spotify, the word has been removed.

The first verse of the song recounts how Sheeran entered into this relationship.  And yes, it insinuates some inappropriate actions.  Again, use your discretion when listening to this song, especially with younger children around.

Verse two.  Now, he's describing how their relationship works.  They both make money the same way "four cities, two planes the same day".  "For a couple weeks I only wanna see her".  (Hey, a one woman man, nice!)  Before, he could only reach her by text message, but now "she's staying at my place and loves the way I treat her."  Remember that last part...she loves the way he treats her.  That's very key for the third verse of this song.

But verse two isn't all fine and dandy.  You get to the end and find that he was confused about how she was kissing him.  Should have written it down...

Wait what?  She seems to be awfully fickle doesn't she?

Just you wait.

Knock knock knock on my hotel door
I don't even know if she knows what for
She was crying on my shoulder
I already told ya
Trust and respect is what we do this for
I never intended to be next
But you didn't need to take him to bed that's all
And I never saw him as a threat
Until you disappeared with him to have sex of course
It was not like we were both on tour
We were staying on the same ___ hotel floor
And I wasn't looking for promise or commitment 
But it was never just fun and I thought you were different
This is not the way you realize what you wanted
It's a bit too much, too late if I'm honest
All this time God knows I'm singing...

Trust and respect.  What a concept!  To me, that doesn't seem like the logical reasons for having a relationship that really had no intention of going anywhere.  If you didn't really plan to have commitment in the relationship, then why was trust and respect the reason behind all of it?

Because we want to be wanted.  We want loyalty.  We want honesty.  We want love.  It's inbred in us.  After all, we're made in God's image...and He wants that from us.

I think the line that strikes me the most in this song says "This is not the way you realize what you wanted."  How many times do we call for trial and error in figuring out our lives?  Sure, you might say, "But Angel, all I'm trial and error-ing is my college major!  That's not nearly as bad as figuring out who you wanna date."  No, I agree, it's not.

But it's all about commitment.  Trial and error is so often related to commitment and perseverance through the hard times and bumps in the road.  Commitment through the dry spells and the stormy ones.  Whether it's a relationship, a job, a major, a class, or even something as simple as a five minute conversation.  It all boils down to commitment.

Commitment is scary; it means we have to grow up just a little bit more.  And nobody really likes that.  But owning up to our mistakes is even scarier.  

We are all guilty, in some way, of backing out.  We either get scared of the commitment or we start looking at our options again and decide we want to try something new.  We look around and see all the potential around us and quickly become discontent with our original surroundings.  Now, I know God puts us in places for seasons and takes us out of them for reasons, but I'm talking about when we take control.  That's when things get hairy.  And that's when people get hurt.

Can we be a generation that commits to something?  Can we persevere and hold tightly to the Almighty God even when other people go through trial and error and trial and error over and over again?

Jesus did.

With you.

Yes you.

I want to be like that.

Do you?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I Believe in Love

Now, don't freak out.  This is not going to be one of those mushy gushy blog posts about love and flowers and stuff.  Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely a hopeless romantic, without a doubt.  But that's not what my point is, anything romantic related.

Hopefully, you all know the four different kinds of love (one of them I didn't really know, so it's okay if you only know three.)

There is storge love, which is affection.  Brotherly love.  Love between a family or family figures.  We may not be able to choose our family, but we can definitely choose to love them, particularly when you don't want to.  That's what family does anyway, right?  :)

Next is philia; friendship love.  Sometimes, I think that the bond of friendship is one of the strongest bonds you can have.  Yeah, we all that one friend.  Are you thinking of someone?  You should tell them how much you love and appreciate them...just saying :)

Then there is eros...romance.  Okay all you married and dating folks, you ought to be with me on this one if no one else is...this kind of love is crucial to our very existence.  We are needy creatures, whether we like it or not.  While we don't technically need this love in order to, yes, reproduce, it will honestly make the growing population happier.  And happier people tend to not do so many horrible things.  Typically.

Finally, there is agape, God's unconditional love.  I know I will be absolutely useless in trying to explain this love.  Because I'm useless at understanding it.  Just know that even though you are a pretty crappy person and that you sin...a lot...God still loves you!  Even though you swung the hammer that crashed the spikes into his hands, God still is so in love with you that He wants you to stay with Him forever in heaven.

But that perfect love, as amazing as it is, is not why I'm writing this to you.  No, there is one more love that I believe in.

Tough love.

Yep, I went there.

That love that we all need but never want.  That love that actually is better for us than all of those good loves combined (except God's love,...because it is perfect.)  Tough love is what shapes us and molds us.

And I needed that today.

And an attitude check.

And yes, I made it through my lesson without crying.  Hmm...some of my biggest lessons come from violin lessons...I wonder why that is.  ;)

I have never felt confident in playing unaccompanied Bach.  I don't even know why...part of it is because my teacher is like, an expert on Bach so I'm always paranoid I'm going to completely botch it up and he's gonna flip out.  Okay, that's a little extreme, I know.  And because I'm always a nervous wreck when it comes to lessons on it, I never play it right anyway.  Gee Angel, that logic went far.

Today, Dr. Thompson asked me what made this particular movement introverted.  Thinking he was completely serious, I proceeded to answer with what I thought was truly brilliant; it's a conversation with yourself.  Turns out that was a trick question intended to be rhetorical.

And he seemed so serious when he asked it.

Darn.

We bantered a bit as I tried to come up with excuses as to why this is hard for me.  Yes, I know, that's lame and a really horrible example to others.  I feel bad about that, okay?

After a few minutes, Dr. Thompson said, "I'm going to be mean now."  That just puts everyone's mind at ease.  "You need to completely change your attitude about this music."  Basically, get over it.  Classic Dr. Thompson phrase.  But there's a reason why he tells it to me so much...

He continued telling me that I needed to learn how to love this music and love the lower half of my bow because he has given me the tools to learn it, yet he knows that I avoid it.  Hearing my professor say that broke my heart.  Yeah, he was right.  I am terrified of playing Bach, so I avoid it at all costs.  But that's not how anything gets done, by avoiding it.

I really need to stop running from my problems.  It's a really bad habit.

So there I stood, in my professor's office, broken.  Realizing how I'd disappointed him, even though he wouldn't really say it.  I could see it written all over his face.  No, I'm not a complete disappointment.  He's told me he's been proud of me several times this semester.  But this, this was different.

I think he could tell I was broken, because he added, "Don't tear up on me now!"  A little late for that, but it made me laugh.

"I'm saying this because I care about you.  It's called tough love."  Yes it is, Dr. Thompson.  Yes it is.
And I truly did need it today.  Tough love hurts, that's why it's called tough.  But that's how I'm going to learn and become a better person and a better musician.  So, thank you Dr. Thompson.  Raw honesty is brutal, but after the initial wound has been made, I start to swell with happiness, knowing you care about me and my studies more than just wanting me to get a certain phrase right.

Tough love.  I believe in it.