Quiet and Intense

Earlier this evening, I went to the Bird & Baby, our local philosophy club/awesome place to hang out for a lecture on C.S. Lewis from a man studying to be a priest who received his Ph.D. in C.S. Lewis from Oxford and was president of the Lewis club there. The speech was on Lewis’ Abolition of Man, which I read several years ago; the lecture was indeed quite fascinating. Hopefully, the audio recording will be online soon, and I’ll link to it for those of you who might want to listen, but for now, I’m just gonna talk about one comment that Deacon Andrew discussed in his lecture.

He was discussing objective beauty and truth and Lewis’ idea that we need to teach children to feel, to sense the objective beauty that is innate in everything. Lewis believed that everything has an objective beauty and truth attached and each object or person or situation deserves a certain manner of awe. We cannot react to a waterfall in the same way that we react a drop of rain. There is a certain beauty that each entity merits, but the quality of that beauty cannot be the same. God did not design each of those situations to be the same.

Deacon Andrew discussed Lewis’ idea that the ability to feel must be taught. He mentioned that today’s youth are often anesthetized to such feelings. Teenagers must have extreme experiences to feel anything these days: the loudest music, an intense movie on a huge screen, 80,000 screaming fans in a stadium.

That last one got me thinking. At 24, I’m just barely past the age to which Deacon Andrew was referring. And 80,000 screaming fans in a stadium immediately brought to mind the Muse/U2 concert that I’m so looking forward to in October. On a smaller scale, what about recently? I’ve been to four shows in the past month, two in the past few days, and the intensity and excitement always overwhelm me. In fact, this morning at work, my co-workers asked me about my birthday, and I briefly detailed the events of the past few days. I spent most of my time, however, talking about meeting Jon Foreman after the Fiction Family show or the incredible show that The Fray put on Saturday night. I am quite guilty of getting so wrapped up in the music I listen to, in experiencing the shows I attend, in (dare I say it?) worshiping my favorite musicians that those moments tend to become the experiences I focus on. It doesn’t come without a price, however. I spent both Friday and Sunday exhausted after those shows, knowing I needed desperately to do homework but just wanting to sleep. Those bursts of energy I get when hearing my favorite songs sung live are quickly followed by stretches of exhaustion and wondering what the next big thing is going to be.

Fortunately, I know I’m not enslaved to this mindset. As I sat here thinking about this topic, I realized that I have plenty of moments where I find beauty in the small things in life, and that energizes me. Check out my list of the best days of my life–many of them do involve concerts and musicians. But many more involve my best friends, just hanging out, enjoying simple things in life. And as I think back over this past week, I know that those simple moments are the ones that are going to last. Yes, I have an awesome profile picture on Facebook of me with Jon Foreman. Yes, I swooned over Isaac Slade playing the piano.

But more than that?

I had frozen yogurt from this great little place downtown–actual dessert that’s low in sugar and won’t kill me!

I got to take my brother to Falls Park and feel his awe as he saw the waterfall and walked across the bridge for the first time. He’s enamored with Greenville now; he thinks the city is beautiful, and I know he’ll be back to visit.

Chris and I made tacos and cookies and hummus before we went to Asheville for the show Thursday night; hanging out with him in my kitchen is something I’ve seriously missed since he moved home at the beginning of the summer.

Squeezed in between homework and birthdays and concerts, Harvin and I managed to watch a few episodes of Angel. Yes, it’s just a TV show. But for us, it’s this thing we’re sharing right now; watching the show gives us something to look forward to, something to share, something to continually reference and joke about to the annoyance of everyone around us. 🙂 It’s a best friend thing.

And those moments are going to be the lasting memories, side-by-side with singing along to my favorite Jon Foreman song and screaming when Isaac Slade climbed on his piano. Those beautiful, everyday moments possess a different kind of transcendental beauty and power that encompass my everyday life. When those euphoric moments fade, I’m left with the quiet, gentle moments where I can feel God’s presence and experience real beauty and truth. The goal has to be finding that balance, and giving each situation the response that it deserves.

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