Musings of an Irish-American

Sometimes I think about stuff, and then I write it here…

Monthly Archives: August 2009

here we are, once again

First day of Junior year, under my belt. As classes go, it was an uneventful day, but, on a spiritual and emotional level it was very jarring, if I can be so bold to use that word.

As I mentioned in my last post, DePauw student Shelby Evans passed away this past summer. Today there was a memorial service held by the University for her and, even though I didn’t know Shelby very well at all, I was deeply touched by the outpouring of support by the amount of people who came to the service, and the kind words that were spoken about her as well.

I didn’t respond emotionally while I was at the service; I felt sad, to be sure, but I just didn’t outwardly react. For some reason, as I left the service, being outside and realizing how much of a treasure just being alive is kind of hit me hard. I could feel the tears slowly falling upon my cheeks as I started walking back to my house, when I was fortunate enough to run into a wonderful friend of mine who could tell I was not in the best shape. In that moment that I ran into her, I think I saw what was referred to on Teen Service Week this year as “God’s thumbprint”. Her concern for my well-being and just being there to pick me up made me feel better, and made me appreciate her friendship even more.

In especially rough times, it’s hard to think that there’s something (or someone) out there that’s watching out for you, or that everything’s “going to be alright” (as I’ve mentioned my mother’s much touted mantra). And yet, somehow, as I see it (and I can respect those that do not), God will provide.

So, as you read this tonight, be thankful for the family, the friends, the people in your life that pick you up when you’re down, or go that extra mile to watch your back, because those are the people that will be there for you, no matter what. And, to be perfectly honest, life wouldn’t be worth living without enjoying the company of the people that care about you.

I leave you with a short verse from the Book of Wisdom, Chapter 3, Verses 1-3, in the memory of Shelby Evans; I hope those of you affected by her passing can find the peace and comfort of God in this time of mourning.

Wisdom, 3 : 1-3
But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish,  to be dead; and their passing away was thought to be an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.

-MJH

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the fragility of life

I currently sit here in my home on an evening when I should be at DePauw for First-Year Experience Mentor training because of unfortunate circumstances.

This past Wednesday, my uncle passed away, at the age of 68. His passing was after a very intense battle with colon cancer, which had led him to be bedridden for the past month, if not more. His loss is tremendous, but the fact that he is no longer suffering is a kind of solace that we must divulge in because there is nothing else.

The thing that really hit me hard was the realization, as my dad had mentioned, that my uncle was only twenty days older than my dad is. That kind of reminder of our own mortality, and how fragile life really is, can be tremendously humbling.

This came along with a remembrance of a person who would have been on the DePauw First Year Experience staff this year who passed away this past summer. She would have been a Junior at DePauw like myself, and, although I didn’t know her very well at all, hearing all the wonderful things that I did about her, it certainly made me realize how a wonderful person had been called to God much before anyone here really wanted her to.

All of this has made me realize that life needs to be lived. As cliche as that sounds, it’s extremely easy to let life pass you by and just let it happen, but you have to realize that you’re not going to remember that one time you took a nap on a Friday afternoon. You’re going to remember the time you went out and volunteered, or saw the sunrise, or watched the sunset, or stayed up all night talking with one of your best friends, because we tend to remember our lives in that sort of episodic kind of way.

Create those moments; seek those opportunities; don’t wake up and realize that you didn’t follow your dream or you didn’t get up the courage to ask that person out who you think is really cute.

But don’t only challenge yourself to live your life, but challenge others too. Draw that person out of their comfort zone, and expect the same out of them.

The mentor/facilitator in me is alive and well. I think my first fear about returning as a mentor was that I was going to be too complacent, but if you try your hardest to own your experiences, then you’re going to reap great rewards.

I know I’m going to try my hardest. I hope you do too.

Not to soapbox, but I’m going to put a Bible verse here that I find comfort in in times of loss. Rest in Peace, Uncle Jim and Shelby Evans.

John 14:1-3
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.”

-MJH

Du holde Kunst, ich danke dir dafür!

Roughly translated: Thou sacred art, my thanks to thee for this. It’s the last line of a song by Franz Schubert simply titled “An die Musik” or “To Music”.

It was one of the songs on the program of my concert from this afternoon. I was lucky enough to perform in the beautiful Cindy Pritzker Auditorium at the Harold Washington Library Center.  The 45 minute program consisted of Italian arias, German art songs, opera arias, a Hungarian song, English art songs and a few Irish selections. Overall, I feel like it went well (this may change upon further review), as I managed to make it through the entire program with only one break to re-hydrate. There were plenty of compliments afterwards (a good sign) and a decent turnout (a better sign).

I guess the reason I made the line from that Schubert song the title of this post is because it is so expressive of how I truly feel about music at this point in my life. Two nights ago, I decided to look up the translation for the lyrics to “An die Musik” because, unfortunately, I hadn’t up to that point. That was when I realized that the song was basically an ode to music itself. It was after reading those lyrics that I realized, no matter how frustrating I had ever found music, I had to be thankful for the reality that music has brought me great joy and fortune (albeit not in an ultimately financial sense).

Speaking of being thankful for music, I must also say that I’m thankful for good company and good times, which summer usually brings an abundance of both. Myself and two compatriots have created a YouTube video as part of a contest by Japanese band the pillows, to try to win a trip to Japan. So, if you will humor me, please head to YouTube and watch the video. Yours truly is on lead vocals and faking his way through drum set (no comments from the peanut gallery, please). After watching the video, I remembered how good of a time I had making it, just spending time with fun people having fun.

I’m hoping there’s more in store (1.5 weeks until DePauw :-D)

-MJH