I praise.

I’m raw. I went to church Sunday and bawled my eyes out. Tears of gratitude, release, relief, joy, and, probably, some fear. oh yeah that fear always creeps in, somehow. But let’s talk about the joy. I love singing. It’s my favorite thing, just to praise. Like that poem of Rilke’s where every line ends in “I praise.” (“Ich rühme,” — praise, celebrate, glory, or boast). Yes, I glory. Like a bird, who cannot contain his exuberance, praise and joy are tumbling upwards out of me. I’m doing what I was engineered to do, and getting better at it. There’s nothing better than making music with people you love and trust, and I had forgotten that. I played solo for so long (and I do love playing solo still). I lived solo too. In fact I still live, pretty much, solo. Alone. I feel my soul longing for connection, for love, for fun, for touch. I drank. I got so gone, I got so wrong. It’s fun. It’s fun to take one swallow after another of gorgeous amber bourbon and feel it flowing down and out into you, ok? and then to feel your body become a big, numb mass, through which a buzz can course. To feel and act, briefly, free and beautiful. But one day I got scared. Seriously scared, about the amount I was drinking. I looked in the mirror and looked old and worn to myself.

But wait this is becoming about fear again. Let’s go back to joy. God let me remember that I love making music with people I love (in this case, Toby Hazlett, Gerko Tempelman, and Paul Phillips). And in response, I praise. Last night I emailed a woman and told her I had a crush on her. I’ve hung out with her maybe 4 or 5 times, never had a real conversation. I saw her praying Sunday, in stillness and devotion, with her whole being. It was a beautiful thing and it moved me and I emailed her and told her so, spilling my heart like I used to when I was 16. Today I woke up and felt a wave of regret. Oh man what have I done. Did I go too far? It’s the same feeling I used to have after a night (or day) of drinking. But I wasn’t drunk when I wrote her. Only tired, happy, and raw. It was just the praise, tumbling out.

“Praise, my dear one.
Let us disappear into praising.
Nothing belongs to us.”

–Ranier Maria Rilke,
(From Elegy to Marina Tsvetayeva-Efron)

5 thoughts on “I praise.

  1. Awesome and honest. Thank you for that. You know, one of the Hebrew words for praise is YADAH. Part of it’s meaning is confession of our sins and of the holiness of God. It also means being thankful for the blessings in our lives. It’s one of at least seven different Hebrew words for praise. We miss a lot in translation, but here we are walking right into the reality of it anyhow. God is calling out right now. It’s a Father and Son thing. It’s a master and servant thing. It’s a friend thing. He’s calling to those who will touch His heart in praise. I hear His voice calling in your words.

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