Up and Down

Up and down things go, every hour, every day. Moods, fortunes, progress, or lack there of.

Sometimes, maybe frequently, the best we can do is keep going. Sometimes the best we can do is take the step forward.

Let’s do that today. Up or down, when things settle, go forward. Let’s go forward together.

Struggling and Searching? Russians, Tolstoy, and Faith

Personal Preface, then “Lessons from Leo Tolstoy” – An Article via BioLogos

I was raised in the Christian faith; it stayed with me as an adult, and has seen me through five decades so far.

For pretty well the whole of my adult life, I’ve also been a Rusophile.   There is a special place in my heart, in my soul, for the Russians.   Ukrainians too, for that matter.   My friends, you know who you are.

Since learning as a young adult about the Cold War that America had with Russia, my desire to understand the Russian people and help find common ground between our peoples became a life-long commitment.

Reading Tolstoy was one of the activities that solidified my connection somehow between my faith an my cultural/political interest in the Russians.  Anyone who’s even remotely aware of Russian literature is aware of Tolstoy.  Though he wrote epic verse, one passage in particular attributed to him stands out for me and has guided much of my most difficult moments in life.  It goes something like this…

“…you struggle in life because you strive to fulfill your own will, rather than God’s Will.   You will find happiness and contentment to the degree that you pursue God’s Will in your life; you will then be in touch with who you are truly meant to be.”

Something like that.

You can read more about Tolstoy and his faith via the following link, with the brief intro from the site, as such:

Famed author Leo Tolstoy went through a faith journey that ultimately led him back to Christ. His reflections can reassure those of us who have lingering questions and give us hope.
— Read on biologos.org/articles/struggling-and-searching-lessons-from-leo-tolstoy

#Blessed

To be alive right now.

To be the parent of these three amazing kids.

To have the family I have.

To have the friends I have.

To have seen the concerts I’ve see.

To have clothes on my back, shoes on my feed, a roof over my head, and food to eat in abundance and variety and quality.

To have the job I have right now, and the career up to this point prior.

To be inspired every day.

To come back to the same foundation every day:

LOVE.

Lyrics Post: “Human Touch”

I’m only a so-so Bruce fan. But this song…it feels full of truth and vulnerability…it feels…GOOD.

“Human Touch”

You and me we were the pretenders
We let it all slip away
In the end what you don’t surrender
Well the world just strips away

Girl ain’t no kindness in the face of strangers
Ain’t gonna find no miracles here
Well you can wait on your blessings but darlin’
I got a deal for you right here

I ain’t lookin’ for prayers or pity
I ain’t comin’ ’round searchin’ for a crutch
I just want someone to talk to
And a little of that human touch
Just a little of that human touch

Ain’t no mercy on the streets of this town
Ain’t no bread from heavenly skies
Ain’t nobody drawin’ wine from this blood
It’s just you and me tonight

Tell me in a world without pity
Do you think what I’m askin’s too much?
I just want something to hold on to
And a little of that human touch
Just a little of that human touch

Oh girl that feeling of safety you prize
Well it comes with a hard hard price
You can’t shut off the risk and pain
Without losin’ the love that remains
We’re all riders on this train

So you been broken and you been hurt
Show me somebody who ain’t
Yeah I know I ain’t nobody’s bargain
But hell a little touch up
And a little paint…

You might need somethin’ to hold on to
When all the answers they don’t amount to much
Somebody that you can just talk to
And a little of that human touch

Baby in a world without pity
Do you think what I’m askin’s too much?
I just want to feel you in my arms
And share a little of that human touch…

Settled in Unsettled

Weird feeling, let me attempt to explain a little.

My family structure, a new chapter, still searching for settled.

Single guy again. Single parent this time. But not all alone; co-parenting efforts in effect.

Trying to stabilize this new norm as the norm. Funky thing. So different. Unsettling still. But trying to settle into this unsettled feeling.

Weird. But fine too. The new normal. More time, different time, unplanned quiet, unplanned time, all possibilities, unexpected. Weird, somehow, weird.

What to do? How to be? Who to be now? All before, all in front, each day, each hour, find the way.

Make it good. Make it good. You’ll get settled. Focus on making it good each time. Each time. Settle in. To unsettled.

Sing Along

Enjoy the music? Sing along, the best way to feel it.

I was in the kitchen with my younger daughter the other day, and she was quietly singing a song from the movie, Trolls.

Can you guess which one?

Yep, the same one I posted the lyrics for this week…”Get Back Up Again”…

Such a good song, such simple, powerful, uplifting words…no lie.

And then a day later?

My son sang along, too.

I love listening to them sing along, an honest connection with and simple expression of what they hear.

The muse, the lyric, the magic of music, the song, let it sing from your mind to your voice to your soul, and out to the world.

It’s maybe the most human of actions, words to music and the joy and feeling and expression that comes forth.

Let it be, let it be me, let’s sing along…!

Groove

Find it, it’s a magical thing. Sometimes called The Zone, if you prefer. But I prefer the groove.

Sitting in the rocker, feet up, evening time, lights low, music playing softly in the background. Jazz playing, older genre, World War II era maybe.

Trying to find the groove, feeling it’s there, but fleeting, difficult to hold on to; wish it would stick to me, soak in a little deeper. Want to stay in that space, that mindset, feeling of peace and harmony and belonging, somehow.

Funny thing — I feel like I belong most of the time; but when I’m in the groove, all the more.

Get there. Find your path. Then go down that path frequently. Find your way. To that space. That place.

Satisfying. Nurturing. Soul-full. Good for the soul, being in the groove.

GROOVE.

Lyrics Post: “Get Back Up Again”

So good, this message. Sung to millions of millions upon millions more children. Through a fun, full-length feature film called “Trolls.”

Oh so SO GOOD. Simple message. Face the music. Do your best. Keep going. Fall down? Get back up again.

“Get Back Up Again”
(from “Trolls” soundtrack)

I really hope I can do it
‘Cause they’re all depending on me
I know that I must leave the only home I’ve ever known
And brave the dangers of the forest
Saving them before they’re eaten
I mean, how hard can that be?

Looking up at a sunny sky,
So shiny and blue and there’s a butterfly
Well, isn’t that a super fantastic sign?

It’s gonna be a fantastic day

Such marvelousness it’s gonna bring
Got a pocket full of songs that I’m gonna sing
And I’m ready to take on anything
Hooray!

Some super fun surprise around each corner
Just riding on a rainbow, I’m gonna be okay

Hey!
I’m not giving up today
There’s nothing getting in my way
And if you knock-knock me over
I will get back up again
Oh
If something goes a little wrong
Well, you can go ahead and bring it on
‘Cause if you knock-knock me over,
I will get back up again

Oh, oh, oh, get back up again

I’m marching along, I got confidence
I’m cooler than a pack of peppermints
And I haven’t been this excited since
I can’t remember when!

I’m off on this remarkable adventure
Just riding on a rainbow

What if it’s all a big mistake?
What if it’s more than I can take?
No, I can’t think that way
‘Cause I know that I’m really-really-really gonna be okay

Hey!
I’m not giving up today
There’s nothing getting in my way
And if you knock-knock me over
I will get back up again
Oh
If something goes a little wrong
Well, you can go ahead and bring it on
‘Cause if you knock-knock me over,
I will get back up again

Get up, get up, get up
Get back up again
Get up, get up, get up

I’m okay!

Get up, get up, get up
If you knock-knock me over, knock-knock me over
I will get back up again”

GOODGOODGOOD

Writer(s): Pasek Benj, Paul Justin Noble