She gave me a look as I placed the mug upon the counter. It was speckled green, an LL Bean mug with a fish as its centerpiece. I had never shopped at an LL Bean before; the mug simply looked decent resting in the red trove of the Salvation Army. She told me the price, and digging into my pockets to find no change, my friend loaned me the coin. They didn’t accept card at this location, how could or why would they when everything was a dollar or less.
There is a saying commonly known, that the blood of family is thicker than the bond of water, or friendship. It’s in this saying that families have found strength, a calling card to the hallmark moments in front of a Christmas tree, or to the moments of stillness and grief upon the passing of another of the same blood. For me, it’s holds a different meaning, older than the bonds of my family, which break and crack and wither away.
There is dirt on the newsstand. I’m staring out from the window bar of a local coffee shop in downtown Grand Rapids, the yellow Detroit Free Press stand resting beside another stand, this one red, equally as weathered. Their condition reflects the feel of the day, the latter being branded, not only by the soil, but the graffiti that covers it’s window. The grey canopy over the West Michigan landscape whispers a hint of winter’s song, early but looming nevertheless. There are still leaves on the trees. The one resting in front of me, along side the newsstand, is still green with only a hint of yellow. I heard that it might snow later tonight.
They say that home is heart is,
so whether it be a person or a place,
a few people or a state,
You’re where you are for a reason
Without a doubt, no debate.
And for the days you’re sick of home?
When the familiar has turned old?
Travel the world.
See what you’ve always wanted to see.
God sent you on your way,
Home will always be. Home will always be.
We weren’t too sure if they truly were the northern lights. The gray wisps in the sky, so thin in stature that they were illuminated by the stark contrast of the moon, shining bright among the darkness of the night. It was peaceful. The stars, in all their glory, reflected upon the waters as the fog settled in over the lake, bringing us into a oneness with the sky. Our canoe and kayak, with the light from the cabin were the only things that disturbed this natural setting. And it made me feel small. It seemed as if we weren’t invading nature, but rather we were invited in to peak at its true setting, undisturbed, reflecting the beauty and admiration of its creator.
I watched it slowly ascend from the edge of the cigar. Transfixed by the smokes slow rise, it was visible only in the light of its ember tip. Amidst the darkness lay the lakeshore town, exhausted from a fall evening filled with seasonal fall events. A friend of mine and I had made it out to Lake Michigan for the night. He, had to work in the city, and I was in town picking up a vehicle. From the mount upon which we stood we looked out into the Lake. The water was visible, on occasion, only by the light of the pier.
Sometimes in order to answer the difficult questions, the perfect setting is required. So, Here I am. Sitting here at a local coffee shop in my hometown, drinking a pour over made by Cody Flowers, my best friend of the past 6 years. I brought a few books to dive into, most of which are commentaries or reflections on the leather bound book that rests in my lap, worn and covered in ink. I’ve never been good at fiction. I was worn out of it when my favorite author began writing too similar of novels while I was in high school, or something like that. Anyway, that is the picture from which this painting is derived from. This is our setting: a coffee shop, a few good books, one great, and a decent cup of coffee.
For the past three years of my life, I have been blessed to be apart of the musical venture known as Carielle. It is a journey that, for me, started my senior year of high school, while I was still a punk kid, wearing ‘V-neck shoes’ and turning in math homework covered in lyrics and chord charts. Through out these years I’ve been blessed to be able to get to know people from various places, and play in front of crowds that I had only dreamed about in years prior. Some of my greatest friends and mentors have been placed along my path as a result. As a result, it is with difficulty, but peace, to write to you and acknowledge that my time with Carielle has come to it’s final chapter.
Following the end of the year, I will be leaving Carielle to return to school and finish my degree in Youth Ministry. It is a decision that has come with much wrestling on my end, but in admitting my need to move on, I have felt nothing but peace and excitement for this next journey. By no means is music finished with me, (Take into account Subject A: Kid turns in homework covered in music), but my time with Carielle is closing. The friendships and conversations I have been able to experience as a result of Carielle, will always remain with me, and I’d love to keep in touch with you, by any means, if you’d like.
So as I sit here, slightly disappointed in the fact that my coffee has turned cold and the cup is almost dry, I’d like to invite you to this next chapter of my life. Stay in touch, whether it’s as a friend or in the tunes I might occasionally drop here and there. And please, come out as Carielle celebrates it’s record release on November 15th. It will be my last official show with my dear friends, and I would love to share it with all of you.
That they may know,
There are few things more incredible than waking up with peace that can only be described as the peace of God. It’s something that, until I see God face to face, I can only wish to obtain daily. My sinful nature, though redeemed in grace, is still at times a restless, anxious bastard. Still. It makes mornings like this all the more meaningful, all the more infinite.
I mean that’s what is is. Infinite. The understanding that the peace I’m feeling this morning is coming from the extension of God’s desire and passion to be with me, to have a relationship with me. It’s the same feeling, driving through the vastness of the Appalachians at night, under the stars, to the soundtrack of Bon Iver or witnessing the sun dip below the lake at sunset. The cognitive awareness that what I’m witnessing or what I’m feeling had to have been made, and the sole creator of it all wants to be with me, his creation. The one who created it all, died for it all, and came back to life, desires for his creation to rest in the peace and be apart of that relationship. Eternity starts at the acceptance of that. It’s not something we’re waiting for, but it’s something we can experience now. And it welcomes the infinite. It is infinite.