We are just waking up after our third night in a row of staying up far too late, though last night was well worth it. The concert was amazing, in a beautiful old club downtown with rows of star lights for a stage background. Once in awhile you come into the presence of clear, strong musical ability and its beauty is startling. That’s how I felt last night. Over the Rhine has built such a beautiful sound over the years, his masterful improvisation on the piano, her passionate voice. I had no idea what a treat I was coming to see. I love seeing artistry in all its God-breathed grace. Today we’re in for a bit of earthy art; a drive up into the Cascades with a picnic and some soaring sort of soundtrack for accompaniment. It’s a good way to end the summer.
I was intrigued by some of the comments on the last post (hey Uncle Wiley!), and want to write more on some of the things I’ve been thinking about loneliness and community and the need we have in our time to draw back into relationship with each other. I will write a longer post when I’m home, but for now I’ll say that one of the abiding griefs of my own life, and something I have observed as becoming epidemic in the lives of others, is a deep loneliness. There are countless individual causes for it, but I think they all stem from the fact that we live in a modern world that is becoming increasingly isolated because of media, technology and the fragmentation of traditional community. But we are also a culture that is highly individualistic in values and our view of our own lives. Life is about finding my work, my fulfillment, my call, (especially in the college years) at any cost, instead of valuing faithfulness to relationships. It becomes rarer and rarer to find people who love and believe as I do, but it is even harder to find basic, life-together fellowship. The old arts of home and hospitality and community (as in a local church, people who see each other on a daily basis, etc.) are being lost and it causes so much loneliness.
So, the short version of my thoughts is that I want to reclaim and recreate community, faithfulness, beauty, hospitality in my time. I’ve spent the last few years of my life looking for it. I felt so sure that there would be some college, some group, some town, some country (!), some Christian ministry that would have the fellowship and friendship that I craved. But no matter where I have gone, it has still eluded me. So I’ve decided that the only option left to me is to begin crafting it myself. To partner with a God who is Love and loves me and begin to renew that love in my own time. It has begun with my making choices to stay closer to my family, to build on the relationships I have, to seek out and renew friendships. But my searing hope is that I can take it farther. I want to someday create a physical home to shelter the lonely, to strengthen family and friends, to be a refuge of beauty, a niche of strong love in a cold world.
So, there’s a shot of unfettered idealism to begin your Saturday! I hope you find it full of music and beauty and friendship. Happy autumn day to you all!