Musings of an Irish-American

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

exhilarating confusion

As I walked from the Red Line to my first acting class at ActOne Studios today, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. The oddest sensation of all was actually feeling kind of nervous about the whole ordeal. I took a moment to try to figure it out because, well, heck, what did I have to be nervous about? I’ve auditioned for shows, been on stage, sung for friends and strangers alike; what it could it possibly be about going to this class that made me nervous?

Was it a knee-jerk reaction to wanting to be liked? I’m not saying I’m an overly likable person, but I’ve never had much difficulty getting along with folks, so I didn’t imagine it was that. Could it be that I was intimidated by the prospect of breaking down the craft that I’ve grown to love because I hadn’t done it before? Bingo.

That’s not to say that I thought I was “above” taking classes, because, well, if that was the case, I wouldn’t have bothered signing up for a class (let alone two of them). I think my hesitance or intimidation about the situation comes from a very basic human instinct: to avoid vulnerability. By taking these classes, I’ve come to realize that I have to make myself vulnerable to the process of learning how to act, rather than all I’ve been doing, that is, reacting. Essentially, opening myself up to criticism, failure and growth to take the most out of this process and, hopefully, come out the other end of it a much better actor.

So, I made it through my first class, doing improv exercises (which, in my humble opinion, are going to go the farthest in breaking me down and building me back up), communicating without words, creating conflict, sitting on my hands (quite literally; go ahead and laugh, those of you who know of my wild gesticulations during conversations) and learning how to act and react to what your partner gives you. In all, it went really well. However, I experienced another initially un-explainable feeling as I was waiting for the train home, which was a kind of moody confusion. I know I didn’t feel that way the whole way to the train station, I just sort of realized it as I stood on the platform.

The confusion was oddly liberating in a way; here I was fresh off of this first class having had a bunch of new ideas and concepts thrown at me, ones that made sense to me, but weren’t already part of my process as an actor and, as I stood there mulling them over before heading home, I figured out that my confusion was the first step in this process of vulnerability and growth. Having our core set of ideas or values or any preset way of thinking challenged is confusing at first, but, in the end up, it’s what we do with that confusion that makes us who we are.

In my honest opinion, I’m excited to see where this confusion takes me.



baby steps

Today I took what, on the outside, may seem like a rather insignificant step, but, I’m hoping, it’s a step that has more long-lasting implications than what one might glean from the surface.

I registered for an acting class at Chicago’s ActOne Studios, the second acting class I have signed up for, having signed up for the other at the Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston. It’s the beginning of what I see as an arduous and defining journey in my life.

I certainly don’t want to assign too much weight to it; for all intents and purposes, the actions of my life currently are as inconsequential as spitting in Lake Michigan. However, after coming home in May and facing rejection at every audition I’ve gone out for (a few callbacks, but nothing from those either), I realized I had to do something. I’ve been told that I have good instincts, but not enough formal training. All I have at this point is a job at a casino impersonating Buddy Holly and dealing blackjack. And that’s not to say that I haven’t enjoyed the job itself, or the people I’ve met. But I’ve certainly realized that this isn’t my calling; it’s really the defining difference between “a job” and “a career”. What I’m doing right now is my job; signing up and taking these classes is what I want as my career.

The most difficult thing, not to harp on this point, is not having caught on somewhere (either in terms of going to graduate school or, since coming home, in a professional production); I keep reminding myself of a mantra a friend once told me that, in this industry, “you have to face a thousand nos before you get to that one yes” you’re looking for. It’s definitely shifted my perspective on how things work.  It’s, in fact, quite the opposite of what anyone is led to believe in the first twenty or so years of their life, wherein you go to school, and then more school and then, if you work really hard and apply, more school. Game, set, match. Connect Four. Yahtzee.

The life a person faces after graduating from college (and I’m sure much the same for graduate school) is not the cut-and-dry sequence that we’re all presented with as we grow, mature and develop. That’s not to say that there’s a problem with structure, it’s just to say that there’s a problem with this kind of “pass GO and collect $200”  mentality we’ve developed. If anything, real life is more like “pass GO and keep looking for that job” or “don’t pass GO, at least not yet”.

I’ve started to try to come up with a much more long-term view of where things are headed, where they’re going and what I need to do to get there. It’s the “long game” in every sense of that phrase. The way I see it, I’m going to take these classes, train for what I hope develops into my career, keep this job (both because it’s been quite a bit of fun and is definitely an interesting study in human behavior) and keep trying.

I just finished reading wrestler Mick Foley’s fourth memoir Countdown to Lockdown: A Hardcore Journal and, in his afterword, he says something that, where I am currently, speaks very deeply to me: “If I’ve learned one thing in life, one truly important thing – it’s not to allow anyone else to define what success is. We get to do that for ourselves.” And you can bet your bottom that, by my definition, success is going to knock your socks off.


this ain’t goodbye

(Insert overused statement about regretfully waiting so long to post here).

Now that we’re past that, the title of this post is from a song by the popular band Train. It popped in my head today as I was driving back to Chicago from Fort Wayne, Indiana, after attending the wedding of two very good friends of mine. It was a beautiful ceremony for a beautiful occasion; I had never shed a tear at a wedding before this one, mainly because I knew how real and wonderful the love shared by my friends was, and how happy I was seeing them making the ultimate commitment to each other. Besides the ceremony itself, I also had a wonderful time living it up with many college friends at the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, the reception and today’s post-wedding brunch.

The unfortunate side effect of this (and the reason I’m referencing this particular Train song) is how many feelings that were resurrected from the immediate fallout of graduating from DePauw in May. I found myself overcome with emotion as I left today’s brunch due to the realization that there wasn’t another get-together we could all circle on our calendars in anticipation of seeing one another again. It made me re-realize how many people I  knew I would miss having in my life on a regular basis, how many people I had shared laughs, jokes, thought-provoking conversations and knowing smiles with and how emotional I felt about all of it back in May.

I realized driving home that, since then, I had basically forgotten about how it felt, which almost made me more emotional about the whole ordeal. I’m not a proponent of dwelling on one’s feelings, or constantly re-hashing old feelings for the sake of not forgetting them, but I figured out that I had stopped hurting over the course of the past three months because I had pushed all those feelings in the back of my head. I didn’t deal with them, I basically put them in a hole and thought,  “Well, that should do.”

No more, I say.

If you’re reading this and you’ve touched my life in any way, shape or form (or I in yours), know that I will always carry you in my heart, that you will always be with me on my journey, and that I don’t regret a single bit of any of it. We are products of our experiences and our interactions, so, no matter how insignificant you may think it may be, if we’ve met, talked, laughed, drank, enjoyed each other’s company or any combination of those activities, you’ve helped make me who I am and, for that, I am grateful. This isn’t goodbye because, in my book, that’s too permanent; when we part, I wish you safe travels, blessings on your experiences and the hope (nay, the expectation) that we will see each other again. Don’t ever forget that.

I know I won’t.



First off, I have once again been bereft in my blog-keeping. It boggles my mind that I haven’t been here in a little over a month. I guess I’ve been attempting to deal with the fallout of finishing college and figuring out my life from there. Over the course of the past four weeks, all I’ve really figured out is how confusing and muddled life can be without a very clear objective in sight (such as going to school).

This confusion became extremely apparent to me during my now-yearly tradition of being a part of Teen Service Week, this being my second year as an adult leader on the week. During the week, I led a group of four wonderful young women to Nativity BVM Elementary School and the Sisters of St. Casimir Food Pantry, where we diligently performed every task set before us. It was in one of my down-times during Teen Service Week that I realized how undirected my life had been in the weeks since graduating. (Granted, it had only been three weeks up to that point, but I still felt that way). Being able to focus all of your energy into the work of service and seeing the satisfaction it brought to the people we worked with really revealed to me how wonderfully worthwhile it is to perform service for others.

During the course of the week, we watched the 2000 film “Pay it Forward”, with Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment. The basic premise of the film is that this young boy comes up with the idea of doing a good deed that doesn’t require a reciprocal act for the person who does the act, but that the benefiting party “pays it forward” to someone else. It definitely runs counter of the modern “what have you done for me lately?” mode of thinking. These days, people are more obsessed with what they’ll get out of doing something, rather than doing it for the sake of doing something good.

To me, it’s part of the reason why doing service is so fulfilling. I do certainly have great reasons for wanting to do it, because of all the positive experiences I’ve had doing it, but that’s not the motivation for doing it. If we spend all our time chasing gratitude and accolades for the acts we perform, the product is a hollow endeavor. The pursuit really has to be solely motivated by a want to do it for the sake of itself, with a hope, not the expectation, that there will be gratitude or a pat on the back for it. The difficult part, besides the service itself sometimes, is to find that intrinsic motivation to go and do it and persevere through any hardship you face along the way.

During a prayer I planned on Teen Service Week, I used this excerpt from the letter of James for some guidance through the difficulties we may face. (If the Bible’s not your thing, thanks for reading this far anyway 🙂 )

“Consider it all joy, my brothers & sisters, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lack wisdom, he or she should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he or she will be given it. But he or she should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he or she will receive anything from the Lord, since he or she is a person of two minds, unstable in all their ways.” – Jas 1:2-8

Mother Maria Kaupas, the founder of the Sisters of Saint Casimir, who started the high school where we had Teen Service Week this year once said,  “Always more, always better, always with love.” Once you’ve managed to persevere, I think this is a perfect mantra to live your life by. Hopefully, there will be less of gap between now and the next time I post here.


P.S. definitely a cheap plug, but I’m involved in an online singing competition. If you like this blog, head over to the following link and forward it on to your friends. Thanks for the support! Sing! 2011

i’m no superman

As of about 4 PM Eastern time Sunday, I stopped being an undergraduate college student. Although it doesn’t surprise me that it occurred, I guess I just never thought the day would come. I remember seeing the date on documents even as I arrived as a Freshman, but, up until about four days ago, it was just an abstract concept.

That abstract concept became all too real as I put on my graduation garb on Sunday afternoon, just hoping that the ceremony would go smoothly, since inclement weather had been predicted in the forecast. However, what ended up happening was quite the opposite of smooth, unfortunately. After going back and forth between having it outside or inside, the final decision was made to have the ceremony outside. The only problem was, after that decision was officially made, the only course of action when weather turned bad was for the graduates to retreat into East College, where they would receive their degrees in MeHarry Hall. MeHarry could barely hold the graduates, meaning that a lot of parents did not have the opportunity to see their child cross the stage and receive their degree. As frustrating as it all was, to me it just seemed to be a terribly anticlimactic way to end our DePauw careers (and that was even with me being in the lucky minority to actually receive their degrees outside).

This has been a really difficult couple of days for me personally, as I’m sure any graduating senior can empathize, just because of how hard it is to part from those people who have served as a support system, becoming an integral part of the college experience. Every time someone left, it was like a family member telling you that you weren’t going to see them for a very, very long time. That’s really the worst part of it; in a majority of cases, especially if you go to a residential school not close to where you come from, you really don’t know when you will see those people again. Of course, today, the world is so much smaller; those people that I love and care about are probably reading this right now, but it’s certainly not the same as being able to share their company in person.

Nobody tells you when you show up to college, “So, four years from now, you’re probably going to have a hard time leaving this place.” I know it would have been a downer if an upperclassman had said to me, “Yeah, the last two weeks are UBER sad,” but I kind of wish I had had some kind of warning. The whole experience does support the old adage of “Time flies when you’re having fun”, but I wish someone had said, “Take it in everyday, no matter what; don’t let any of this slip past you.” Of course, this may be the immediate post-graduate-version of myself getting the best of me right now.

The title of the post is from the [Scrubs] theme song, “Superman” by Lazlo Bane. I had it on a mix CD that started playing as I was on my way home today and I just lost it. I never thought a banjo intro would elicit the reaction of uncontrollable sobbing and yet it did. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I knew what the lyrics were and what the song was about, and it made me think about how much it meant to my own experiences.

Well, I know what I’ve been told/
You got to work to feed the soul/
But I can’t do this all on my own/
No, I know, I’m no Superman/
I’m no Superman.

And, luckily, I didn’t do it all on my own; thank you to anyone who touched my life. No interaction or word was insignificant; just having you there along for the journey makes me grateful for you being there. As it says in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 3, verse 9, “For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” Thank you for being my co-worker.



I realized today why I loathe physical activity: because I’m terribly out of shape. Before I lose you all because of my diatribe on my lack of physical prowess, I just figured I’d write a bit about my experience today because of how it was so much more than me being winded. I am painfully aware that I only need to look into the mirror to see where the problem lies on being out of shape (this isn’t me saying that I’m not strong enough or muscular enough or whatever), but that the only person who can motivate me to (as my mother says) get my ass into gear is me.

Weather in Indiana right now is pretty terrible, but I managed to go out on a run in between the crazy rain storms (and now tornado warning) around campus a bit. Besides not having any endurance (vicious cycle, eh?), I had a somewhat emotional moment as I ran out by the Intramural Sports fields on my way. The wind was blowing just enough, and I stopped, stood directly in the face of it and took in the view of the green fields and the DePauw Nature Park just behind it. It was a solidifying moment for me…in five weeks (give or take a couple of days) I won’t be here anymore. Although I’m sure you’ve all read enough about me struggling to cope with my life progressing, I just couldn’t believe how much the moment of being outside in the sun, with the wind in my face and the beautiful sight I was looking at was so real. To me, it’s an almost tangible moment in time that I will always be able to refer to and go “what a memory”. It seems like I’m having a lot of those these days, as I keep fighting the current of time to enjoy my time with my dear friends.

A song came up on my iPod as I was running, Yesterday by Atmosphere, which also kind of helped to solidify this moment in my mind. The main chorus of the song says, “Yesterday was that you?/Looked just like you/Strange things my imagination might do/Take a breath, reflect on what we’ve been through/Or am I just going crazy cause I miss you?” What struck me was the line about taking a breath and reflecting; I think it’s something that greatly neglect in our society. We’re always going, doing, reading, listening, tweeting and so on, but when do we stop and reflect? Reflection gives us time to process and enjoy our past at least a little bit, it allows us to see our mistakes and improve, it gives us resolve and persistence. I know I’ll be doing a lot of it in the next few weeks, hoping to solidify a lot more memories of time well spent.


the other side of the world

Surprisingly enough, there are only two weeks left in my student teaching experience. It has been harrowing and intense, but I can definitely say I’m a better person for it. One unfortunate thing that has come out of this, however, is the fact that I have become very sure of the fact that teaching isn’t what I see myself doing in the immediate future. I say unfortunate because I thought I was so sure about my future post-DePauw and my experiences have impacted that to the point that I know that, although high school students can be very adept and intuitive, I am not mentally prepared to be responsible for educating them.

Part of it may be because of how much I relate to them personally, which is very much because of how close to them in age I am. Conversely, though, I have found the past few weeks to be extremely bittersweet because of my experiences in the classroom. Unlike most of my DePauw compatriots, I have spent my semester spending every day in the classroom, getting up ridiculously early in the morning and working with students and then coming back to campus utterly exhausted. This is in deep contrast to the collegiate experience (that I dearly miss) of a block schedule that could possibly afford one the fortune of not having class one or two days a week, or not having class until ten or eleven on certain days. It has felt like being in a completely different universe than basically all of my friends. It has also made me terribly aware of how my undergraduate experience is quickly coming to a close, as I wonder if the connections and relationships I have created in my time here will stand the test of time and distance after I graduate. One of the biggest things that terrifies me about college is that I will lose touch with all of those people who have been my support system over the past four years.

I can only hope to successfully complete my student teaching and thoroughly enjoy the rest of my five weeks at DePauw. Now, the incredibly cliche lyrics that inspired the post title, from KT Tunstall:

Can you help me?
Can you let me go
And can you still love me
When you can’t see me anymore

Then the fire fades away
But most of everyday
Is full of tired excuses
But it’s too hard to say
I wish it were simple
But we give up easily
You’re close enough to see that
You’re…. the other side of the world
to me



President Calvin Coolidge once said, “Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Anyone in my Fraternity (Phi Gamma Delta) is familiar with this, because we pride ourselves on having Calvin Coolidge among our ranks as a Graduate Brother, and we frequently call to mind “persistence” in use of the Fraternity’s watchword. However, this quote has come to mind for me as of late because of my work as a student teacher.

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus, as I’m sure you can tell, because it’s been over six weeks since I last posted. This is mainly because my days have consisted of waking up between 5 and 5:20 to get ready to go to school, departing between 6:10 and 6:30 and arriving at school anywhere from 7 to 7:35. This has led to long days and evenings of, for lack of a better term, vegging out until I go to bed to repeat the process the next day. This whole experience has given me more perspective on how much the people who educate America’s children go through on a regular basis. I certainly have no reason to gripe, since I’m 1) a young buck of a college student (I’ll wait a moment for laughter to die down) and 2) I’m not dealing with nearly as much responsibility as an actual teacher. Now, if you will, I will ascend to my soapbox just to say that I find what Indiana is doing with its educational system to be personally horrifying, mainly because of how much it devalues the efforts of educators everywhere (I’m not even going to get into how little arts education is considered, but I find that equally appalling). It’s interesting because I’ve learned so much from other educators on an informal basis about how little care is being given to their needs or concerns both personally and professionally. As an American citizen, it actually concerns me about the future of our country, because 1) we treat our educators like crap and 2) the people in charge know very little about education, which then further impacts point number 1.

If you take anything from this post, I hope it’s this: find an educator as soon as possible and thank them for their efforts, then find a politician and make your voice heard to them. If we don’t do either, the status quo will prevail which, I hate to tell you, is pretty crappy as it is. If we can all tap into our reserves of omnipotence, persistence and determination, we can enact change for the better. If we don’t, then what of this life is worth living?


opening up

A full week of student teaching under my belt, and I definitely feel more comfortable in the classroom than I did before, which is progress I’m very happy with. Along with that, I’ve had less events occur to me in this past week than I did the week before (refer to: endurance), so that has certainly helped me to feel more at ease in the most practical education I’ve received in my life so far.

One interesting event this week (note the lack of bold and italics :-D) was that former show choir director from Onalaska, Wisconsin, Paul Gulsvig, came to Brownsburg for two days and worked with a few of the performing groups in as a clinician. I had not heard of Mr. Gulsvig before this week, but, apparently, in the American choral music world, Paul Gulsvig is kind of like Yoda; great at what he does and wonderful at dishing out guidance and advice. He built up an excellent choral department in Onalaska over thirty years and now spends his time traveling around to high schools and workshopping with different choirs, as well as giving motivational talks about music in our lives and our lives in general. He’s quite a delightful fellow to listen to and work with; he has this wonderful ability to use sarcasm that doesn’t offend but to get his point across (so, unlike him, I almost always manage to use sarcasm to tick somebody off) and to use his extensive knowledge of working with music and high school age students to get visible progress out of performing groups in a short period of time.

He was at the school on Monday and Thursday and, on Monday, he asked me what I learned and all I came up with was, “You make all of this look so easy.” And he started to explain to me that it wasn’t really fair for me to look at what he did or what my coordinating teacher does, because they’ve both been doing what they’re doing for much longer than I’ve been doing it (which would be about twelve days at this point). For some reason, this really resonated with me. I then spoke with him yesterday, where he basically picked up his conversation with me as if we had started it two minutes beforehand and not three days previously. First off, he said that he had the “gift of experience”, whereas he said he was sure that I had the “gift of talent”, which was extremely flattering coming from this man who I felt I couldn’t have possibly made such an impression on. He then said to me that I wasn’t being fair to myself if I was going to constantly compare myself with him or with my coordinating teacher because I was never going to be them; all I could do was be the best version of myself, because no one else could do that. I know this sounds extremely hokey, but it really seemed to provide a moment of clarity for me. I spent the first eleven days of student teaching being absolutely terrified of teaching where I was because of how in awe I was of my coordinating teacher and the impressive work that I know she’s done with her program. It wasn’t until this choral director from Onalaska, Wisconsin looked at me and, essentially in the nicest way possible, told me I was super insecure and needed to stop being so about who I am and what my abilities are did I realize how insecure I had been.

I decided to try my best to change that today; by being brutally honest with my students and trying to be as open with them as possible. I realized that in the past eleven days I had been extremely guarded in class, attempting to project this kind of removed professional, which, for anyone who knows me, I can tell you that “removed” is the last thing someone would describe me as. So, I told the two choirs I’m primarily working with two things: 1) I’m really happy to be working with you and 2) I’m extremely sorry I still don’t know all your names. This has been the bane of my existence so far as a student teacher; I honestly hate that I don’t know every student’s name because it creates a barrier between me and them. I love talking to people, and in doing so, knowing their name and their story is instrumental with being able to honestly converse with them. That’s why I told my students today that if they greeted me and all they got was a blank head nod and a “hello” from me, then they should feel more than welcome to introduce themselves to me and tell me about their favorite anything. I want to know their stories because I want to make music with people, not with a faceless mass of teenagers.

I can only hope that I do my best to be me, and I hope that you can too (be the best you, don’t bother trying to be the best me, I’m having a hard enough time with it as it is).



So, I’ve survived my first week of student teaching…it may have (fortunately) only been four days (no school Monday because of Martin Luther King Jr. Day), but I made it through relatively unscathed.

However, my use of the term “relatively” is extremely, well, relative in this case.

I’m unscathed in the way that I am in possession and good usage of all of my limbs and I’m in a pretty decent mental state. Besides that, this first week was full of adventures (as I like to lovingly refer to them).

Tuesday, my first day, my cooperating teacher’s eyes lit up when the piano tuner showed up in the middle of her intermediate concert choir’s rehearsal, which is one of the groups I will be primarily working with. Her eyes lit up because she had to go show the piano tuner where all the pianos were throughout the choir wing that needed tuning. She turned to me and said, “Well, here’s your chance, Mr. Hughes”. I think my cooperating teacher’s a great lady, but I swear there was some sort of good-natured sadistic pleasure in this situation where I had to take over the rest of the group’s rehearsal on my own. Unfortunately for me, my piano skills are, at best, at the level of a monkey typing Shakespeare; add that to the surprise of taking over in the middle of the rehearsal and let’s just say the results were less than spectacular. Nevertheless, I made it through without 1) yelling profusely or 2) breaking down into the fetal position, both of which speak towards a hopeful future as an educator, I’m sure.

Day 2 consisted of warming up the aforementioned concert choir and the freshman men’s choir; this in and of itself went relatively well. My adventure that day was temporarily getting lost in the school because, like a dope, I hadn’t really been anywhere in the school besides the performing arts wing, and entering from the opposite side of the school from the staff parking lot (ooh la la) completely threw off my sense of direction within the school. So, like a stubborn male and embarrassed student teacher, I wandered the halls until I figured out where I was, instead of asking for directions from a faculty member (I feel this is more about being embarrassed to admit I didn’t know where I was than being a stubborn man).

Day 3’s adventure was the most extra-curricular, in that it had nothing to do with being in the classroom. I pulled into the parking lot after driving through the treacherous weather and looked at the clock- 7:40. Nuts; class starts at 7:50. I turn the car off, open my door, push the manual lock down, get out and shut the door. In the microseconds that passed as I let the door go behind me and hearing it shut completely, I realized that my keys were neither in my hands nor in my pockets because they were still in the car. I walked inside and immediately asked my cooperating teacher if she knew a good locksmith, to which she quizzically responded “Why?”, to which I responded with my wonderful story about quickly getting out of the car and being a dope. Luckily, the school has a police officer on premises who has a tool to get into cars if folks have locked their keys inside of them. The officer was quite personable and managed to get into my car and retrieve my keys. This great news was immediately deflated by the officer telling me it was the fastest he had ever gotten into a car, telling me it took him “literally, two seconds”. Why bother locking my car at all?

Anyway, today was a bit shorter because of a two-hour delay due to yesterday’s horrible weather, which was nice and, more importantly, uneventful.

And, of course, all of this nutty stuff would happen in just the first week, which means there’s more to come. Next week will definitely be more involved personally, as my cooperating teacher wants me to fully take ownership of the two groups that I’ve been warming up with this week. I’m excited and daunted by the whole thing. Excited because there’s so much more you can do with a piece of music that you can take off the page than you can with vocal warm-ups and stretches. I’m terribly daunted because I’m still getting my listening ears into proper working order in the classroom. I know that statement may not make much sense, but what I mean is that I’m still working on being a critical listener in terms of choral sound. I was listening to the concert choir (a mixed group of men and women) just today and I know there things that were wrong that I could hear, but, for the life of me, my brain couldn’t pick everything apart to start breaking it down to work on it. In my mind, it was like a giant wall of sound hitting me in the face, and all I can see is the wall and not the bricks. Hopefully, this will be something that gets easier in the coming weeks; as daunting as it seems, it’s also quite an excellent challenge.

So, in terms of guidance, I’ve entitled this post “endurance” because of my desperate need for it in this student teaching semester; it’s also in reference to a Bible verse that I’ve found helpful to reflect on in times of difficulty (sorry to get all theological on you here; please feel free to stop reading here if you’d like):

“Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
– Romans 5: 3-5


Here’s to endurance, character and hope.