Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I had a rough day, but that's life...

What is your all time FAVORITE musical artist?  Favorite song?

I am not going to lie…this is one of my least favorite questions…like it might be safe to say that I hate this question and refuse to answer it. 

“That is a weird question to have so much anger towards, Mattthew” you may be thinking.

Well, I will tell you why I feel this way and how some of the music that I listen to has helped teach me a listen during this season of Lent.

I will start off with the easy answer…Why I hate this question.

Well, I like a lot of different kinds of music.  My Pandora station I use has about 30 different artists not even counting the tracks that I have thumbed-up.  These artists range from The Guess Who, to Avett Brothers, and Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears to Tokyo Police Club.  I am currently on a big Milky Chance kick but also like relax to some Lettuce but am not afraid to bust out my old Korn and Metallica albums…

How in the world do you expect me to choose ONE song…from that list…really?

What I listen to depends a lot on what I am doing, how I am feeling, and a plethora of other factors.

So the other I had some music playing in my room while I was trying to clean up a little bit when a song came on that caught my attention.  It was a song that I have heard a number of times before…but for some reason, this one particular time…it made me stop and think.

The song is called The Best Day by Atmosphere.  The song starts with the line, “I had a rough day, but that’s life, it happens…”

“Isn’t that the truth!” I thought as the song began to play, as I continued to try to get some work done around the house.

Later in the chorus the song goes “Every day can’t be the best day; Do what you can right now, don’t hesitate.”

For some reason this immediately made me think back to Matthew 6: 25-34...and back to my first youth minister, Paul Canady and the parable of the Prodigal Son, and finally Lent.

You may be very confused how I was able to quickly connect all of those things…but just keep reading and it will all make sense.

So, as I said, Paul was my first youth minister when I was a youngster at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Germantown, TN.  He is currently an Associate Rector at Christ Church in New Bern, North Carolina.  A while back I was listening to one of his sermons online…yes, sometimes in my spare time I like to listen to sermons…

This particular Sunday, Paul was preaching on the Prodigal Son.  He began by naming something that I am sure we have all thought before…

Sometimes, when we hear the reading on a particular Sunday, a reading that we may have heard a hundred times…once the sermon starts we go, well I already know what they are going to say…and we zone out and read the information in the service leaflet…  Don’t lie….we have all been there.

Instead of trying to come up with a whole new twist to put on this story, Paul just named the problem.  Yes, it is a story that we have all heard many times.  We are familiar with it.  We know how it ends.  We have already heard the lesson of the story and blah blah blah.  But, there is something that is different now.  Something is no longer the same as it was the last time you heard this story last…you.

You are not the same person you were the last time you heard this story.  Maybe you will relate to a different character in the story.  Maybe you will take a completely different lesson this time…so listen up.

That was what was going through my head as this song by Atmosphere was playing.  A song I had heard a hundred times…but for some reason…it stuck out to me this particular time.

Like a mentioned earlier, I immediately thought of this story from Matthew…
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
-Matthew 6:25-34

It was getting to be late…I was tired, worn out…it was just one of those days…nothing particularly bad happened but it was just one of those days where at the end of it you are just like…blah…

Then I hear…I had a rough day…(yup, sure did)  but that’s life, it happens…(Yes, it sure does…)

The whole first verse of the song goes with the singer, Slug, complaining about things going on in his life. 

He almost lost his job because he overslept, he is not enjoying work, he is poor and struggling to get by…

Then it gets to the chorus when he is like…you know, not every day is going to be great.  You just have to take the good with the bad.  Just do what you can.

This was when I thought back to the story from Matthew.

For some reason, the mood I was in that day, allowed me to hear that song in a completely different way.  It spoke to me in a way that made me reflect on a lesson I had learned before, but had forgotten to live.  A lesson I constantly try to teach and encourage our youth to do.

One thing I say a lot is that if you go into something expecting to have a bad time…you are going to have a bad time.  But go into it with an open mind…you just may have a great time.

Just like if you go through out your day focused on the bad…you may miss those countless number of times that God tried to make an appearance in your daily life.

Luckily for me, that one evening, God found a way to me through that song…

How is God making an appearance in your life even when you are not looking?

My challenge for you this week, at least one day, spend a day taking the good with the bad…keep an open mind and be on the lookout for how God is working around you in your everyday life.

It may be difficult but like I said earlier….if you go into something with an open mind…

One time, a friend of mine was giving the chapel talk at Mud Camp at St. Columba Conference Center.  They had all the kids at camp look around and point out every place that they saw a cross.  Whether it was two branches of a tree that crossed by each other, the supports of the pavilion, the veins on a leaf…once they started looking…they were spotting these cross shapes EVERYWHERE!

Every place you see one of these crosses…that is God at work…

Imagine if we started each day with that mindset.

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