“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
I remember, years ago, my mother took my older siblings to piano lessons. It was always the best thing in the world to my little brain to go to the piano tutors house. Mostly because I loved the house and I did not have to do anything. As a child, I loved everything about the sound of piano, although I was also very interested in her personal vineyard.
In the back of her house, there was a huge vineyard covered in grapes. My mom and I would walk down the line of vines picking grapes while my mom brought my (then 2 year old) little brother behind us. What is awesome about it is that walking along those vines dod two things for me. It was one of my favorite memories of my mother from years ago. Living in a large family taught me how to stand on my own and speak up for myself.
However, my mother was the best at taking each of us for who we were, and loving us no matter what.
The second thing walking down that vineyard did was instill a love and a habit towards music and artistry. I would either lay on the ground and listen to the piano, or walk with my mom. When we eventually moved to another teacher who could teach upper level pianists, the first time my mom let me into the studio, well.
I spent the entire lesson dancing behind the piano.
Before long, it was my turn to learn piano. Although we had the previous tutor, I began with the new teacher and she taught me everything I know about piano. I reached a higher and higher level. My most memorable level was when I moved into level 6 books.
The first song I played in my newest book, and also my last leveled piano book, was called Bagatelle. Its not a very difficult song, and even now I have no problem sight reading the piece.
But there is something in going back through the file bank. Through the ‘days of old’ as it were, and not think of the slew of terrible things that happened. Rather, memories give us the unique option of deciding if we want to think about the good in our lives.
I never thought about that until recently. We have a choice as to what we think. I actually had a moment today, when in my brain I used a *cough* a yoga technique to clear my mind. All my brain had been doing was going over a stupid decision over and over and over. It was making me depressed, anxious, and paranoid.
We can choose what to think about. We can think about things that will lead us to make poor decisions. We can choose to think about things that will lead us to sin. We can choose.
That is the incredible thing about being a human. God gave us a choice. He did not want a world of robots. Then we would never have the choice to struggle to love someone. We can choose to follow Him. I believe that if I did not have a choice, I would never value any decision. Because it would not matter. However, because I have a choice, I have to deal with the benefits and the consequences of my decisions. It means that my choices matter. They have impact.
Why should we think of anything less? If we have the ability to make a decision, we ought to weigh our decisions with the knowledge that those decisions begin with our thoughts.
I love C.S. Lewis. I love his books. When going on long drives, I like listening to the audio versions of his Chronicles of Narnia. There was one point when I actually thought to myself, “Lewis did it right. I couldn’t even think of anything else except for the themes he brings in. Even then, all I can do is ponder these questions I never would have thought of before.
The world is filled with good and evil. God made it to be our home. Explore it. Think about it. God gave it to you. Why not enjoy what he designed for us? And guess what, you don’t even have to be some geek who goes hiking every week to do it! People have been creating for years, and often the oldest pieces of art bear the greatest inspiration for us.
This is The Voyage of Life, painted by Thomas Cole. It is my brother’s favorite piece. It should be noted, that each segment is its own picture. When in D.C. I happened to go to the National Gallery of Art. In the old classics building, I found this series. An entire room was dedicated to the display of these pieces.
Each piece was nearly ten feet long and at least seven high.
What a work.
If you ever get the chance, go and see this series of paintings, they are incredible, and the descriptions carry you through the voyage. The world is filled with incredible things. We can’t just sit here and wait for stuff to happen to us. You have to go out and make it happen. You have to take your life seriously enough to understand your choices. To understand your impact.
Do not ever underestimate how people will respond to you.
I had the opportunity today of taking my siblings to a park where jets of water shoot out and make an area for kids to play. I ran through the water with my siblings, and casually asked a little girl laying on the sidewalk if she wanted to join us. She said yes.
We ended up playing with that same girl for nearly two hours. When I called my siblings together, she came with us and her dad even came and played frisbee with us. Then, another little girl, no more than four, came up and joined the group. One of my brothers and myself taught her how to catch her first frisbee.
Even the simple gestures we make impact the people around us. No man is invisible.
Be blessed today.