Musings of an Irish-American

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

Monthly Archives: October 2010

radiant darkness

I volunteer cantor at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Greencastle, and was there this evening at the 5 PM Mass. During the Presentation of Gifts, we sang the Bernadette Farrell song “O God You Search Me”. If you haven’t heard it before, do look it up; it’s one of the most simply beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard. The lyrics are based off of Psalm 139.

As I was singing it, I was reminded of two things. First, it reminded me of my former church choir director, with whom I still have a close friendship, because she’s told me on multiple occasions that that song is one of her favorites and she is always very deeply moved by it. Secondly, I started to tear up after we finished it because my thoughts turned to my Grandmother, who passed away just over a month ago. Something about the lyrics made me hope that she’s found the comfort of heaven in her passing. It wasn’t really until today that I understood what my former choir director meant when she said she was deeply moved by the piece.

I suppose I can only hope that the lyrics hold true as I forge onward in this semester; the burdens and mystery that lies ahead, and what results will come of my endeavors, both personally and academically. I’ll leave you this Halloween Eve with the lyrics:

O God, you search me and you know me.
All my ways lie open to your gaze.
When I walk or lie down, you go before me:
Ever the maker and keeper of my days.

You know my resting and my rising.
You discern my purpose from afar,
and with love everlasting you besiege me:
In ev’ry moment of life or death, you are.

Before a word is on my tongue, Lord,
you have known its meaning through and through.
You are with me beyond my understanding:
God of my present, my past and future too.

Although your Spirit is upon me,
still I search for shelter from your light.
There is nowhere on earth I can escape you:
Even the darkness is radiant in your sight.

For you created me and shaped me,
gave me life within my mother’s womb.
For the wonder of who I am, I praise you:
Safe in your hands, all creation is made new.

-MJH

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longevity

It’s funny how something can be borne out of boredom and avoidance of work…

…and probably funnier that those are still prevailing themes in my life, two years after I started this blog.

I guess it’s not so much boredom as it is lack of direction, or lack of application, which, one could say, stems directly from the avoidance of work part.

Life’s a vicious cycle.

In this case, two years later, I don’t feel exactly like I have a lack of direction in my life, since I have decided to pursue my passion for the stage by auditioning for Masters of Fine Arts programs in Acting. However, I have found myself being rather noticeably paralyzed in moving forward with these plans. It seems like, at any time that I could bring myself to work on things to prepare for this challenge, I freak out at the prospect of doing anything, and, in turn, do nothing. I’m starting to think that, if I see this preparation for the next phase of my life as a series of smaller steps, I might not be so intimidated by the prospect of the whole thing.

I think it all starts with confidence, both in myself and what I’m doing. As much time as I’ve spent performing, whether it be musically or theatrically, I’ve always dealt with issues of confidence, both on a personal and a professional level. The one thing I do know is this: I will fail. That’s not to say that I am a failure, or that I’m not going to succeed in my pursuits, but I have to own up to the fact that I’m going to face rejection, and to not let that set me back, or to destroy any of the confidence that I have built up. In knowing that, hopefully I can move forward from any adversity I face, and be a better person for it.

By the by, I still enjoy smooth Jazz in the fall 😀

Thanks to those of you who have visited here in the past two years; seeing the hit counter on the right side of the page humbles me every single day.

Sincerely,
MJH

a state of flux

I am now half a semester away from no longer being a traditional “college student”, as I embark next semester on student teaching full time to complete my degree requirements for my Bachelor’s in Music Education.

What a terrifying prospect.

Although many of my friends have heard me complain quite a bit this semester about how things have gone in my classes (both for reasons in and outside the classroom; more on that in a bit), the thought of no longer spending time in a classroom, sitting at a desk, doing all those things that I’ve done for the past three and a quarter years (and many before that), and, instead, spending my whole time focused on working in a classroom with students is daunting and strangely exhilarating at the same time. I think the thing I find most difficult about it is that I won’t be around campus nearly as much next semester, although I will be living on campus. The things I might actually miss more are those “between-class” interactions: running into people on the way to or from class, going to lunch with people or just seeing friends when traversing across campus. I feel like the removal of that from my daily life is definitely going to be difficult, since those moments are part of what help me feel grounded as I’ve gone through  my time at DePauw.

Now back to my difficulties in and out of the classroom. They’re both linked to the fact that, about a week after my last post (which is bothersome because of my terrible absence from this blog), I had surgery done that caused me to have to stay at home for two weeks to recover. Not only did it mean that I had to step down from being a First-Year Mentor, which I have been for the past two years, because I missed the whole week of training before classes started, but it also meant that I missed an entire week of classes too. And, although my professors were very understanding of the situation, I have spent the past seven weeks not really feeling settled or completely caught up from having missed that week, even though I did feel fairly up to date with the work that we were doing in those classes. I’m really hoping that this week off gives me a chance to unwind and kind of “reset”, to finish off the rest of the semester strong.

Of course, there is also another reason that I found myself somewhat distracted throughout this time. Two days after I got back to campus, I found out that my Grandma had passed away. She was my only living grandparent, and was one of the people that I looked forward to seeing most when I would visit. I look very fondly upon the time spent at her house when we would visit Ireland over the years. She was a very strong woman, with a very big heart and a tremendous sense of faith, and I know that those qualities live on in her family, as I see it all in my own mom every day. Grandma would have been 93 this January, and I, along with the rest of my family, miss her greatly. Rest in Peace, Grandma Walsh.

Two year anniversary of Musings of an Irish-American this Thursday. Expect something then.

-MJH