I came across a meme, via Lulu (btw, hi Lulu, thanks for dropping by!) which will get me black to blogging a bit more regularly a la Nablopomo’s new initiative. Nablo is suggesting that a theme of lists may be useful to help me make every month a full on blog posting month!! I’m thinking my March posts may as well be one long list… so I’m starting the encyclopaedia of me… 26 posts, one for each letter of the alphabet*…
Let’s start with the obvious…
A is for Australia
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I came to Australia to study. To study singing, actually. But I’ve probably never told the story of how that came about… I’ll try to keep it brief Ed. (F for Fail).
I have been involved in music teams at the various churches I’ve attended most of my adult life, in the later years before I left NZ I was ‘worship leading’ (lead singing) pretty often. It was great fun, a challenge because you’re leading a whole congregation in singing, many of whom wouldn’t be caught dead doing it anywhere else!!
As music and worship play a pretty big part in most churches there are a bunch of resources out there which are geared towards encouraging people to do it well. One of the organisations who have a long history of resourcing Christian musicians and singers is Parachute Music who are most notable in NZ for their Annual Music Festival – a totally wicked (as in awesome!) event.
In their early days the music festivals were fewer and further between (can anyone else remember Mainstage??) and Parachute were hosting ‘arts training weekends’. It just so happened that I and at least one other member of our team was there.
There are only a couple of things about that weekend I remember… one was a recipe for hard-core lemon and honey drink for singing on a sore throat (just DON’T)… and the other was a conversation.
It just so happened that I found myself sitting next to Miss Potter overhearing a conversation she was having with ‘The Crabman’ who was there as a lecturer; invited to NZ from OZ because he was then (and is still) well known in church circles as a musician/singer/songwriter and music educator.
Truth is, as rude as it is to be an eavesdropper, I remember nothing else said in that conversation but this…
“If you wake up every morning and all you can think about is singing… you should be at my college”.
Now, The Crabman is a bit famous for this statement, I mean the “you should be at my college” part, but I have seen many people come to college to whom he has said it and many to whom he has not and there’s no doubt he has a gift for discerning those who really should be there. Whether he’s divining that part of God’s plan for that person is further artistic training is something you’ll have to decide for yourself, I happen to believe it simply because of where I’m am now, and who I am as a result of my decision to come…
However… I should point out that this conversation was not in any way directed at me. He was answering Miss Potter’s question – even so, that answer went through me like a knife.
Unfortunately, my first thought in response to it was “I wake up with a song in my head every morning – but there’s no way he could mean me”. I know, low self esteem, bit pathetic.
That conversation happened 4 or more years before I left NZ’s shores. My world changed, I moved north for a couple of years or so and during my time in Whangarei and at Parachute Music festival in 1998 I came to the realisation that my life was for more than sitting behind a desk selling/supporting Pay TV. I felt, after some soul searching that the next step was to launch out and train up in the area of singing and worship leading and given the seed sown in that moment of eavesdropping there was really only one place I could go to do that…
I arrived in Sydney a year later, incredibly blessed by my church, clutching a scholarship and bursting with excitement and fear…
And here I am 9 years later working for the church that runs my alma mater.
Somebody noted in an email that I’ve been pretty introspective of late. It’s true, there’s something about approaching a milestone birthday that makes you take stock. I’ve also had cause to re-evaluate what I feel concerning my ongoing work here. It’s been a bit of a turbulent time.
In short, I’ve concluded that what I do has both temporal and eternal consequences for hundreds more people than I would ever be able to bless in the course of a normal life.
I still feel called to do what I’m doing… even though there have been regular times when all I really wanted to do was up stakes and go home for quality family hang-time…
I have the skills and resources to be running my own choir – my own choir. OMG!!! Awesome! (oh, if you want to know the web address to check the choir out flick me an email). The most brilliant part about it is that I’m doing it with my best mate AND we’re creating a place for people who, for whatever reason, had lost their place to sing.
I am stronger, taller, better than I was when I came here. I have a place here and great friends, a collection of people who are connected through a common bond of faith.
Accepting that these things are at the core of my life as it is has meant that my life doesn’t look the same as a 15 year olds dream of marriage, a brood of kids, a rambling country home… it has meant leaving a fabulous family, a homeland for an unspecified length of time.
I do not know why it should work out this way, my plans are not His plans… but it’s worth it all to be in the place that is totally right for me for right now.
So I won’t be trading it for a while yet.
*I’m not sure it isn’t totally self indulgent and arrogant to think you may be remotely interested in picking up, or sticking with a blog series that’s so specifically introspective… sheesh, I’m hardly that interesting, so if my head gets stuck up my butt then perhaps you’d be so kind as to leave a comment that it’s time I wrote about something else…