Who I Am, Not Who I Was

I like to think that some of the people who are reading this blog are folks who know me personally. Of those that do, some may have just recently met me. Some may have known me my entire life. For others, maybe we are reconnecting after some time apart. Those of you in that last group probably aren’t sure what to make of this blog. This certainly doesn’t sound like the guy you knew back then.

Who was I? In some ways I bore great resemblance to who I am now. Music was a huge passion for me. I was every bit as quick with a joke (and no they haven’t gotten any better). I battle a lot of the same self doubt and insecurities, though I’d like to think I put up a better fight now. I still have the same flowing locks as back then. Ok, not so much on that last one.

Beyond those things, and a few others, I am very different. For one, I never saw myself as parent material, but I am now a “Daddy” to two kids that fill my heart to overflowing. My playlist is more likely to sweep into a piano, than charge into overdriven guitars. And yes there is less (way less) hair up there!

What I hope, though, you will have noticed is a change in my heart. That the young man who was so sure of his own views is now more open to the ideas of others. That the angry boy has found a way to forgive and let slide. That the guy who wandered aimlessly has a heart lead by faith.

I hope who I am now is someone who makes people feel loved and important. I pray the new me is forgiving and slow to anger. More than all, I hope who I am tomorrow is even better than who I am today.

Fear, progress, and hand siphons.

A pair of recurring themes in my life right now are fear and progress. The two are definitely interconnected. More accurately, they are like a valve on a hand siphon. If you have never used one of these, it is basically a couple of tubes (one goes in where there is gas, the other goes where you want that gas to be) connected to a bulb by a valve. By compressing and releasing the bulb you trigger the valve to open and close. When the valve is open it allows the gas to fill the vacuum left by the bulbs decompression. When the valve is closed no new gas can come up the line. Progress is the valve in an open state. Fuel rushing up the line, out of a place where it is no longer needed or where it can’t be used at all. From there it goes into a place where it is ready to be used for new purpose, oftentimes as an answer to a desperate need. However, when that valve is closed it all stops. There is no more flow. You have everything you need in that moment to make things happen, a fuel source, a place for the fuel to go, and the means by which to get the fuel from point a to point b. That is all well and good, but as long as that valve is closed NOTHING is going to change. That is actually the best case appraisal. Most likely things will get worse. What happens if you stand there long enough? The fuel you are trying to siphon up will evaporate. I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to see how this metaphorically represents our own struggles.

Once we know that fear is acting as a valve, stopping the fuel (passion, drive, creativity, happiness) from flowing, how do we disengage that valve? The simple answer is to just take action. Squeeze the metaphorical bulb on the siphon and it will work. Stepping out of the metaphorical it is taking the first step towards whatever goals you have set in front of you. Move, disregarding the risk, take the chance. It is so easy, or at least it is easy to type or say aloud. The truth is that applied action is difficult. Our heart races, our heads spins, our stomach knots up. Our whole body yells out “STOP!”

At the end of the day, whether you use to motivate yourself to move, it is all an exercise in self discipline and control. Even if you are like me and believe in the power that comes from moving on faith in God, it still takes that initial surge of self discipline to put our feet in motion. I pray you have that self discipline, and that you don’t let your lack of self control hem you in, away from where you want to be. I pray that my self control, which has a long way to go, will improve and allow me to make those first steps. To disengage the fear valve, so that my fuel, my creativity, my passion, my drive will flow. I pray that there are people there along the way to cheer you on, to help you feel like you can overcome that fear. I pray that you will go deaf to the voices who would tell you, “you can’t.” I pray your fear valve never stops your dreams from flowing.

Passion

Before I start, I want to thank those of you who read my intro blog, or gave me a “follow.” I hope you will find something worthwhile in my ramblings!

I wanted to make my first proper blog entry about something we can all relate to: passion.

It is a great word, evocative, empowering, and almost always associated with the things that mean the most to us. As exciting as that sounds, it is only a word. Words are easy to use, misuse, and even abuse. I can tell you how passionate I am about digital music, and if you didn’t press me on it, you’d probably walk away thinking this is true. The truth is last month I clicked “like” when a popular Skrillex song popped up on my Internet radio station. That hardly makes me passionate about an entire genre of music.

On the other hand, ask anyone who has known me for more than a minute, and they can tell you where my passions reside. They’ll say it’s my faith and my family, creating music, or making people laugh. It isn’t because I outright said as much, it is because I have demonstrated that passion to them. They can see it on my face, when I break out in a grin talking about a song I’m working on, or they hear it in the lift of my voice when I talk about a weekend spent laughing and playing with my family.

Passion in it’s truest sense surpasses the word we use for it. The vowels and consonants are strung together for convenience; a mutual point of reference. Real passion, reverberates through the person feeling it, and is often contagious. There are people in my life whose passion for Christ stoke the fires of my faith, artists who spur on my creativity, and folks who inspire me through their relationships to be the best Father/Husband/Son/Brother/Friend I can be.

What are you passionate for? How do you use your passions to lift up those around you? Does your passion inspire others? Have you ever been inspired by someone else’s passion? Have you ever benefitted from it?

Whatever your passion is, I hope you are sharing it, I hope you are using it to make someone else’s life a little better. I hope that my passions have, or will someday, do that for you.

DQ

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Is this thing on?

So, somehow you’ve stumbled on this, my first attempt at this thing called blogging. Chances you know me already or you actually meant to go somewhere else and fat fingered in my blog instead. Whatever you brought you here, welcome!

My hope for this blog is to collect my thoughts, share my struggles and successes, and maybe bring someone out there a minute or two of joy or a reason to reflect. I know there have been a number of great blogs that have done as much for me.

I hope you’ll keep checking back here, something cool is bound to happen.

DQ

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