Wednesday, February 24, 2010


It doesn't take much for me to miss a place. I have a tendency to never be "here" wherever that is. This is a problem. Some old friends of mine are moving and it was very sudden, but it's to a place that will seem to suit them well. Another friend of mine and I were talking it over and we said that if we had to describe the moving friend in one word, it would "discontent." That has stuck with me since then, because even though I was at that moment applying it to someone else, I began to wonder if it could be applied to me. I wouldn't want it to be, and at first I thought "No! I'm happy just about anywhere!" But the more I've thought about it the more I think it could.
My parents threw a stinger at me when they told me, in jest - but it was true, that I want to move to wherever I've most recently been. I think I've mentioned that before. And it's true. Except with China.
But last night, I was driving home at about midnight after doing a little recording and I started thinking about a snowman holding his snow head in his stick arm/hand. I don't know why I was thinking about that. Then I tried to think of where that image came from and for what purpose. My thought process went something like this:
Did I see it on a woot shirt? Should I see it on a woot shirt? What could it mean? How could it apply? Have I seen it with another holiday figure? Like Halloween? Ichabod Crane and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow perhaps? Nightmare Before Christmas? Remember watching Nightmare Before Christmas in Graz with Christian's friends? That was a great time. I wonder how they're doing. Man. I really miss that. Things were almost easy then. Goofy internally but easy.
And that's how I came to miss Austria yesterday and today.
Then also today, I was on Facebook, of course. And was looking around at pictures of a kid I knew a long long long time ago. I mean. Really long ago. Not the longest, but pretty far back. And he had up pictures of Ireland. And that made me miss Ireland. And I wanted to go back to Ireland.
Then I was practicing and I was thinking about whether I actually am a good oboist or if my friends just think I am because we get along and that does influence how you hear someone. So I thought about taking lessons with other teachers, who don't know me (which I am about to do) and playing in places where I don't already have a reputation. And it made me think about Hungary and an oboist there who insisted he hear me play, but I never did play for him. And I thought about how I didn't invest in that relationship. And it actually made me miss Hungary a little bit and want to have a chance again to invest in those relationships that I missed out on last time.
All this to say. I am very rarely present. A few Lents ago, I had decided I would leave "absence" for "presence". Rob Bell at Mars Hill Bible Church had labeled that year's Lent season as a time for leaving Egypt for Jerusalem. So the challenge was to think of something you were leaving behind in pursuit of something better and more freeing. I think this leaving absence for presence is maybe going to be my lifelong challenge.

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