Monday, May 16, 2011

Growth through pain

Last month I started working in earnest on a new big-band chart, an arrangement of a tune, "Summit in the Snow," that I wrote 25 years ago. The tune was inspired by a early March (thus, still winter) heart-to-heart talk in a city park with a student at one of the local women's colleges that at the time I had hoped to marry -- she, then and still a friend, was trying to "let me down easy" because I learned a couple of weeks earlier that she was dating someone else and I was, quite obviously, very upset.

So why would I even want to revisit that pain? Because the LORD used this particular relationship, despite the sad ending, to produce growth in me that I hadn't had before and, really, haven't had since. She had actually awakened a desire in me that I had never before experienced, but I recognized that I was powerless -- not only over her but also, at that time, my entire life, so I was forced to turn to Him. Since I knew that was His goal, I accepted the suffering of, in this case, unrequited love as part of the process. I also knew that He never promised her to me, so I was ready for even a "no" to my request. (Which I ended up withdrawing the next year.) Not only that, but it's a truism that pain produces the best creative product because you have to summon resources from a deep place in you, and big-band writing of late has become a passion of mine.

You see, Jesus promised that His followers would be "up against it" and thus have to learn to trust Him. Why does He do this? Darned if I know. However, I've told her a number of times that I didn't realize how messed up I was until I met her, and for that I'm grateful that God put her in my life -- even if it meant grief for a time.

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