Wednesday, March 23, 2016


In Western musical theory, a cadence (Latin cadentia, "a falling") is "a melodic or harmonic configuration that creates a sense of resolution."

In the process of moving forward, many things must be left behind. I'm currently in the process of sorting through the vast amounts of things that I have and sorting them into keep, donate, or garbage piles. 

Seems easy right? Not for me. Everything seems to carry some sort of sentimental weight, and I cannot let go easily. Before you know it, the box for items that I plan on keeping is already full, and there are just a few small items in the trash bag or Goodwill donations.

Grrrr. Darn my sentimentality.

This seems to be a problem in every area of life for me - I cannot easily let go.

Whether it is a gift from a friend from my college years, or a photo from a camping trip in 2012, or a friendship itself... I try to hold on to everything.

One might say I have become a spiritual hoarder.

As if my own baggage wasn't enough, I try to gather and carry the baggage of every person I know too. The weight often forces me to break... I can't move forward and I can't move backwards, I'm just stuck.

It is one of the beautiful privileges of life to get to move on, but it is also source of some of the deepest sorrow. In most cases the people and places we leave behind in life aren't bad for us necessarily, or bad in themselves - they just are not what God has in store for us in this particular chapter in life.

As I prepare to move west, my heart is torn in two. On one hand I am eager to meet new people, see new places, and experience the richness of life that can be found in following God's calling. On the other, I am deeply saddened by the many people that I am leaving behind in Memphis. The relationships (good AND bad, I might add) that I have had in the 901 have truly shaped me into the man I am today. The good ones pushed me to be a better man, the bad ones pushed me to trust God more. 

I can honestly say that in the past few years, God has been preparing my heart to let go of a city and a people that I love. When my family moved to Nashville, I could tell that my life was not going to play out exactly how I expected... 

I can tell that this current segment of my life is coming to an end - and it's a beautiful ending! At first I viewed this as losing something... but honestly, I think it is far better to leave something of great value behind. Else, I would just be an escapist - running from my problems, rather than trying to share the beauty of fellowship with a new audience.

At first I was fearful, but the amazing thing about the God I serve is that when He calls me to do something, He provides all that I need to do it out of his abundant grace. 

Lord knows I have trouble letting go - and He isn't forcing me to move without a proper sense of closure. In just the past few months I have seen God bring people from my past back into my life in exciting ways - as a sort of celebration of my life here in Memphis. It's as if He is saying "I know this is hard for you, so I am going to allow you to say goodbye to the people who matter the most to you."

Me and Tim, after my Senior Recital at the University of Memphis, Spring 2010

Just this week I was able to reconnect with my violin professor from the University of Memphis. I had not seen him in 5 years, yet everything I do in music today can be credited to his life-impacting influence on me. Tim had spent the last couple of years in New York on sabbatical, so I was pessimistic about my chances at seeing him again before I move. 

On Monday morning though, I found out that he had returned to Memphis and was giving a Bach concert on campus (THAT NIGHT)- so naturally, I jumped at the chance to see him.

There Tim was on stage, still the same man, but with a noticeably different sound. Yes, he was playing on a Baroque violin, but there was something deeper than the instrument itself that was affecting him - the time away from Memphis had seasoned him as a performer, given him more to share, enhanced the beauty of his music perhaps - it was more pure and raw.

As I listened to the Chaconne from the Bach Partita in D minor, I could not help but feel like God gave me that moment - in that concert hall - on that beautiful evening, just to remind me that He was doing the same exact thing with me.

It is now my turn to go away for a while. 
But through that experience, He is going to strengthen my song. The melody that my life plays will be more pure, more raw, and deeper because of this change.

I'm at the cadence of this movement of my life, but once it resolves - who knows where the melody will go?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Go West, Young Man

I have always enjoyed adventure.

I love the thrill of new locations, sweeping vistas found only by going off the beaten path, the inspiration of new people and their stories.

There is something in me that has always known I would get to live an adventure. I never really knew what form this adventure would take, but I hoped in the deepest places of my soul that I would get to travel the world and live in some exotic locale.

To a degree, my music career has afforded me the opportunities to see the world and experience new cultures. In my journeys to Belize, Guatemala, Jamaica, Germany, France, and Czech Republic; music has played some part in my experience.

There is something inherently beautiful about the way that music transcends culture, language, religion, and age. It has always been a part of my ministry, and will remain so as long as I have the use of my two hands.

Over the past few years, I have felt a pull at my heart to go west. This made no sense in any of the contexts I was in, but it was a deep-seeded feeling of adventure and longing to seek what is new.

In the moment I had no clue whether this desire was of God, or my own childhood longings come to fruition.

Could I go wrong either way, though?
After all, if God's will for my life is more of a state of mind or being than an actual series of decisions, technically I could go or stay and still be fulfilled in what I do.

At this point I realize that if I don't use my music to reach people, THEN I am missing the whole point of my life.

So I am excited. In a mere 5 months I will be living in Anthem, Arizona; where I will be using my gifts and abilities to invest in the next generation of musicians. I'll get to take my whole philosophy of faith and art and bring them to a new community.

I'll be living an adventure with people I care about, doing something I love, in one of the most beautiful and vast places I know.

Is there fear? Yes, but also excitement

Any decision worth making is going to wreck us a just little bit on the inside.

If the path was not difficult, it wouldn't be an adventure.