A Glass of Chianti

Thursday, June 30, 2005

One last post on my new post

and how it relates to how I live my life as a Catholic. I promise, this is the last post on how happy I am about this job for the rest of the summer*. ;)

Growing up where I have, I've met a whole lot of people who proclaim with every breath that they are "living for Christ," or "empty vessels for Christ," or some variation thereof. In some of these cases it is absolutely true. They really do wake up every single morning and think about how they can bring one more soul to God. Unfortunately, these very sincere and wonderful people are drowned out by the hundred or so other people claiming to do the same thing, but who come across as shrill, or slimy, or hypocritical or worse. So often, when I hear somebody declare their love for God publicly, to my shame, I assume they are of this latter group of morons.

I feel incredibly uncomfortable declaring with my every breath that I am a Catholic. Some of it, I feel, is because I fall so short so often. A lot of it, though, is that I feel more confident living a life of quiet witness to the Church and hoping that my passion for knowledge and good humor and general lack of smarminess draw people in to learn more. I am a little ashamed that I can't evangelize more readily with emotion. On the other hand, it seems as if so many people have been exposed to and turned off by the overly emotional light shows of faith that a cooler approach will reach some others and that a piqued intellect will lead to an emotional connection, as it has in my case.

I feel exactly this way with music right now. I know a lot of teachers who are just insane with the joy that is music. They talk about music being just as important to them as the air they breathe. They talk about how they couldn't survive without music to get them through the day.

I talk about music differently than they do. For me, it's a matter of music relating to every other field. I've told my students that music is math - stylized math, but math just the same. I can't imagine knowledge being complete without music. For me, music is the glue that holds all the other disciplines together. That's not to say that there is no emotional component, of course, it's just that I don't seem to have the vocabulary to explain that as readily. I do, however, have the vocabulary to talk about what music is and how it works and why it is so cool. In some ways I hope to reach some kids that the overly emotional "music is everything" approach turned off.

Anyway, I hope that at the end of this year's experiment I can stand back and see what things are working and what things are not. Then, when I find out where I really want to take this pipe dream turned to reality, I'll have a head start in the theory and the application. I'm so lucky! :)

*This whole blogging experiment is a real novelty for me. I'm much more squishy on the blog than in real life and this newfound vulnerability is at once comforting and quite scary. Up to now I've been an optimist and a misanthrope at the same time - I think people, in general, are great, just not the ones that I've met. This whole "meeting" of people who really are great warms my optimist heart, and kind of softens the rest of me up... which leads to posts that are a little outside my cold heart's normal comfort zone. ;)