|Remember playing with LITE-BRITE?|
One year my friends and I recorded a CD of our Christmas favorites. 16 of them, I think. The next year I wrote a Christmas show, Welcome Heaven's Light, using that music. We performed WHL a couple years running, and then I wrote a new show, Journey of the Wise Men, I think it was called, a departure from previous work in that it had a comic twist made possible by the Wise Men. The last concert I wrote was a reworking of the original, and I called it Touching Wonder. In the meantime, I wrote a non-Christmas show, The Feast, to celebrate the gift of good marriages, and a couple other small shows. The five of us also recorded more music, some of it original.
I often describe my history in terms of the elements of light I recall. These years of music were light bright. Energetic. Creative. Dynamic. I felt like I could achieve anything.
I find it easy to be creative when the world is light bright.
For me, it's impossible to create when darkness falls.
And darkness fell slowly, but in a big way. I guess it all began in January 2008 and decisively ended September 25. In The Inferno Dante expresses a similar experience in his life, and it is so beautiful in the original Italian:
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita(A gloss for those non-Italians... Nel mezzo ... in the middle / del cammin ... of the path (commonly used figuratively) / di nostra vita ... of our life / mi ritrovai ... I found myself / per una selva oscura ... in a dark wood / ché la diritta via ... for the direct/straight way / era smarrita. ... was lost.)
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita.
So I was lost. Floundering. Trying to find my way back to my path. I lost trust in others. I lost my sense of belonging. I lost the energy to create.
I, in fact, lost myself.
In trying to find where I belonged, I made mistakes. I listened to well-intentioned friends. I drove away other friends. Worse, maybe, I stopped making new friends.
And then little rays of light started to shine.
I successfully completed my triathalon. I'm strong.
I created a new music group with Rachel and Brittney, girls I've accompanied for a decade. I make good opportunities for young people.
I taught my staff new tasks, trusting them to do important things; they have lightened my daily burden immensely. I'm able to trust others.
I went back to school. My brain is on fire.
I made new friends and reconnected with old friends. I love deeply and generously.
I applied to a study abroad program and am going to Spain in January. I'm courageous.
I accepted a position managing a new Christmas production with new people and in a new place. I make things happen.
I wrote a new Christmas offering for the teen choir I accompany and the girls and director are excited to perform it in December. I'm creating. Creating!
And you know, the world is again light bright. I can achieve anything.