Matt's blog

The story of me, an American in Edinburgh, Scotland finding my place as a musician, a husband, a father and a Christian.

Smoky Bar Part 2 (kind of)

I think the issue I have with the drinking, smoking, and pointless banter is that it seems to me just an attempt to distract from the meaningless of life. Of course, before I let my hypocrisy get the better of me, let me admit that there are many other things which I recognize as mere distractions which I do not have as big a problem with. Anyway, I'm convinced that my life on my own, just me, is completely empty and devoid of meaning. I think if I hook up with someone else to try to create some meaning that way then 0+0=0 and we're both left without meaning. There's nothing magical about relationships, music, art or anything else which makes life better. It all = 0.

And yet, I spend hours every day playing the guitar. I still cultivate relationships even if I do lean to the anti-social side of things. Why? What am I doing? Am I grasping at straws? Am I reaching out to take hold of the shadow of something more substantial? Well, yes. I believe all these things which in their current state=0, can be so much more if they can be grasped in the right way.

What I believe: Satisfaction comes only from God. True satisfaction found in God redeems the meaninglessness of the mundane. Relationships become a thousand more colors than they were before. Music becomes tangible in a way that the loudest soundsystem and biggest subwoofers could never make it. I don't mean that to sound flippant, I think that in the absence of real satisfaction we try to compensate with sensory overload. Surround sound and HDTV and 300hp compact cars all testify to our desire to feel. And yet, it doesn't matter without God. He says knock and He'll answer, seek and we'll find. But I'm worried that my feeble tapping can't be anywhere near the resounding knocking required by a Great God and my half hearted seeking, which won't turn over a rock for fear of what might skitter out, will never discover the Hidden God.

"Knock, answer. Seek, find. What could be easier Matt? You're an idiot." Well, maybe I am, but here's a case study in miniature. A few weeks ago down at the church we were juggling musicians with people going home from school or coming down sick. I found myself behind the drumset. A member of the church who had been involved in music before I was around stepped in as the guitar player and song leader. This guitar player proceeded to pull his guitar out of the back of a closet in the church. It was obvious that it hadn't been played in a long time and the strings were dead to the point where they wouldn't stay in tune. The guitar player initially blamed this on "the guitar warning up" but soon it became evident that the strings on the guitar were shot. He needed new strings before Sunday. I knew this, he knew this, and not in an unspoken agreement way. It was spoken and understood that he needed new strings for Sunday or else the guitar would be unplayable. Sunday comes. The guitar has the same dead strings on it as it had three days ago. Sure enough, After I struggle with it to get it in tune before the service, the guitar makes it through a song and a half before going so horribly out of tune that it can no longer be played.

Here I'll part with Plato and insist the to know the good is not to do the good. Knock, answer. Seek, find. Put on new strings, don't suck. I know true satisfaction lies in God, but I haven't gone after it. I'm stuck in a place where I know the things of the world are not fulfilling, but I am not yet finding fulfillment in God. Someday perhaps I'll be a good bit more mature and sitting down in a smoky, meaningless bar won't bring me down so much since I'll have brought meaning along with me.

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