Sunday, March 8, 2009

from a while ago

I wrote this in 2007 or 2008. I am sorry but I don't remember when. I just found it again so posted it.

I am reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller again. It might just be my favorite book. It gives me so many ideas to think about and really allows my brain to engage in deeper thinking which is something I don't always get to do a lot of it seems like. I read the book and try and think of deep thoughts when I read it but sometimes of course my brain wanders to other things I need to be doing or other things that need to be done or just other things I want to do. Such is my brain I often think. But this morning as I read it I was thinking about the book and what Don had written. About being a Christian and what that meant. And I was thinking about how I had decided quite a while ago that to me being a Christian meant I believed in Christ and that He was the Son of God and that I wanted to live his life of love and goodness. And then it struck me.
I keep thinking back to the youth group that I got to work with a few weeks ago and how one of the girls said she didn't believe in God yet. I told her that she should believe when she felt in her heart she truly believed and not before because if she was only believing because someone told her to believe then she didn't really believe. I hope you can follow that. It makes perfect sense to me but often what I write doesn't make sense to others when it is down on paper. But it was a sad moment for me when she said that because she was being honest and she didn't know God like others knew and therefore she was skeptical. Well this morning I figured out how to meet God and to see him! I would like to try this on her sometime if I can get the right situation. I will have to see what I can do about that. Here is what I would like to do to introduce God to her and you and me and anyone else who wants to meet Him and see Him with their own eyes.
Hi! My name is Erik, yours is? I heard you want to meet God. Well, I am here to introduce Him to you. Yes, He is very real and I am glad you asked that because I am probably one of the first people you have heard for a while tell you that I can introduce you to Him that may not have a bible in their hand or be on a pulpit. It isn't that I am not going to give you a scripture but I am just Not going to stand on high looking down on you and preach the word dressed in a robe while shaking my finger at my audience. Not that every minister out there does that but it often seems to be the stereotypical image we see in our heads. Have you ever noticed that?
Anyways, I thought that as we walked I would first give you the only verse that I am going to quote at all. That is the phrase "God is love". It is from 1 John 4:8 but I don't want you to have to worry about remembering the verse number right now. You are here to meet God and not to memorize scripture. Not that scripture isn't good to look at but you didn't come here for that reason this time and if I start to give you verses I would feel like either a really pushy salesman or a hypocrite and a Christian should be neither. The main thing that I want you to remember is that God is love and goodness and all those things and Satan is hate and all the bad things.
Ok, here they are. This is my friend Eric. He and I have done some goofy stuff together I will tell you right now. He is married with 2 sons and they are good kids even if they are a little mischievous sometimes. They get it from their father. But Eric and I met at summer camp many years ago and he taught me how to play guitar. He gave me lessons for free and even went with me to help me pick my guitar out. We talked about the good and bad qualities of various brands and styles and then he told me what I would and wouldn't need so I didn't have to spend extra money. He gave me the lessons and the help for free because he said that if I wanted to play guitar that automatically makes me cool and he had to help me because the world could always use more guitar players.
This is my Sara. Sara is actually Eric's older sister. She is simply put one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. I mean, she is very nice looking as you can see for yourself but more than that is the fact that Sara has a huge heart and she is very kind. She is gentle and delicate but at the same time she can be so strong when she needs to be. She is very special to me because she really seems to care about what I have to say even if she has no idea what I am talking about and if you are around me enough you will find out that if I get excited I have a tendency to ramble on about things.
This is Chris. Chris is an actor. He is one of the funniest guys I know and it is great when we put on skits because he has great improv ideas. It is fun because he can have the entire audience laughing in about 10 seconds. But that isn't what I remember most about Chris. A few years back I couldn't stop hyperventilating and Chris came to see how I was and then stayed with me the whole night. Once the doctors got my breathing controlled we had to stay at the hospital because they wanted to make sure it wouldn't start again. Well Chris had some great stories to pass the time and then the biggest thing I remember is that when I got hungry he left for a bit and came back with a plastic bag full of dinner rolls. He never did tell me where he got them but said that he was hungry too and we ate them into the night. Later, I received a package in the mail from him. In it was a note asking how I was doing and a big bag of more rolls telling me to have a batch on him.
Wait, check this out. I love this moment. There aren't many things that can match a sunset across a lake are there? I love the way the rays flicker across the waves and send their colours into the sky. The water is still warm too and a bunch of us have sat with our feet in the lake just chatting about life while we enjoyed the sunset.
This is Steve. Steve is one of my great friends. We have gone through a lot together including a time when we didn't really have a friendship. We aren't really close like we used to be where we would stay over at each other's house but that is ok because we know we are there for each other in a different way now. We both have gone through our tough times in life; Steve had to worry about drugs while I had to deal with alcohol. But the important thing to me is that when I got out Steve was right there asking me how I was doing and watching out for me. That is a true friend.
And this is Josh. Josh is my closest friend. We get along almost all the time and even though we are different in many ways it still works. Josh and I have spent many nights partying a bit too hard and quite a few days fishing with a six-pack. He is the one I go to Twins games with and we always make sure we tailgate. We sat up one night and cleaned out his carb for his car and drank Colt .45 and ate soda crackers while we did it at 11 at night. We also spilled carb cleaner on my screwdrivers and the handles have never looked the same as well. The best part about Josh is that his home is always open to me. He may be really busy but he will Make time for me even if he doesn't have it and the couch is always there to sleep on if it gets late.
I hope you enjoyed meeting some of my friends. They are great people I think. Of course, I think they are because they are all my friends. But what? You say that I forgot to introduce you to God and that was why you came with me in the first place? Well I promised you I would introduce you to God and I will. You just met Him. God is love. God is the good inside each of us because goodness can't be without love. Friendship, love, caring, kindness, beauty. It is all God because God is everywhere and everything that is good. You don't have to look very far to see God if you just know where to look. He is inside you at this very moment and every time you love or laugh or simply enjoy something special then you are connected to Him and all that He wants for you.

something old that I wrote

I wrote this a few months ago this last summer, that would be summer of 2008

Tonight I was driving home late from Breanne’s house. I left the cities a little before 9 pm and while I am not afraid of night driving it still makes me nervous because of the deer on the road. Months ago I almost hit a deer while doing 70+ on the freeway late at night and I have always been a bit paranoid about it ever since then. But tonight I don’t want to share a deer story; I want to tell you about something else that happened.
It is late here and I am a bit tired. I love going to Twins games but for some reason they always kind of tire me out. I don’t know why it is. Perhaps it is the atmosphere or the dome dogs or just the fact that you are sitting in this little plastic seat for three hours. Whatever it is, I know that driving after the game is always a bit exhausting.
The strangest thing about tonight was that after a long day of playing with my nephew and niece and then watching the Twins and then hanging with friends, I started to numb up on the way home. For some reason I felt strangely out of body tonight and I was noticing the fact that I couldn’t feel my left hand which was firmly attached to the steering wheel. The whole experience was rather nerve-wracking and I was wondering why things felt as strange as they did. I am not drinking at all right now so the fact that I felt so out of it had nothing to do with alcohol.
Then I saw a streak of light and in my mind I thought “deer!” and I gripped the steering column with all my might and my feet were tensed to hit the brake and the clutch. Those sudden jolts of adrenaline can make you feel alert and disoriented at the same time if you are ever tired and paranoid and tonight was no different. But instead of being a furry friend of the road I realized it was nothing more than a low hanging shooting star.
Quickly, I gathered my thoughts and decided to make a wish. I still love the idea of wishing on shooting stars and tonight I wanted to search for my heart’s desire and wish for that and that alone.
I searched my thoughts quickly (it wasn’t hard as tired as I was) and I discarded the basic fun wishes that everyone always wishes for. And then it came to me.
What do I really have to wish for?

Now bear with me for a moment because I can see you thinking, “Erik, what do you mean what do you have to wish for? Everyone always has stuff they wouldn’t mind having!”
At this moment I knew that as I searched for my heart’s desire that I was going to come up empty. I don’t know how I knew this but I did. All our lives we wish for more money or a better job or better looks or to lose weight or find that special someone.
I realized at that moment tonight how little I have to wish for that I don’t already have. And it was an insight to the love God has given me in my life. He has supplied so readily and abundantly for me I already have everything I need through Him.
I have a job when so many don’t, I have a nice car, a place to live, food, and friends who truly love me. This last one is especially important to me because for those of you who know me well know that I have dealt a lot with self love and accepting the fact that I have friends out there who love me no matter how many dumb things I have done in my life.
And it doesn’t matter if I ever find another job even though many of you know this isn’t my dream job and I hope to move on in a couple years. And it doesn’t matter if I don’t have a fancy apartment or if I have friends over every night. I have friends and others don’t and I know I love them and more importantly to me in many ways; I know they love me as well. And I may never get married and I definitely want to but I have so much love in my life and there are people that have none and they don’t realize that they have a God who accepts them and wants them to be better and have those friends and experience that love.
We all want more in our lives and I am not saying I am different. But for just a moment tonight I stepped back and asked what I have to have in my life that I don’t and I have realized that God has given us everything we truly need already and I am grateful for it.
The rest of the trip was an amazing experience as I didn’t worry about deer and I just let myself open up and smile at the wonderful things I do have in my life. I called a few friends to talk about it but my phone had lousy reception so instead here it is written out. Thank you God for what you have given us all in our lives even though we sometimes don’t realize that You wouldn’t leave us without what we truly need.


Saturday night I went to see the Minnesota State Univ.-Mankato Mavericks vs. the Saint Cloud State Univ. Huskies. Being an MSU alum it was fun to go see the game. I enjoyed all the silly chants and idiosyncracies that make up college hockey. The fans can be a little rude to the other team but that is often part of the game.
There was one thing though that really bothered me.
During the Star Spangled Banner there are a number of fans that make a sound during phrase breaks in the song. "Oh say can you see" (noise) "by the dawn's early light" (noise), etc.
The sound is a pshhh sound that I am assuming is supposed to be a cymbal crash.
I am sorry to say that there was in my mind a lot of disrespect shown for our National Anthem, our flag, and the person singing the song.
I find the idea of people making sounds such as that during the singing of a song that is supposed to embody our country extremely disrespectful.
I feel bad for the person singing the song that has to hear that and in a way I feel worse for our National Guard members acting as the color guard. They are holding our American flag and our MN State flag proudly at full attention in full dress uniform and they have to endure people doing the equivalent of spitting at them.
Where has the respect gone?
How can we bring it back?
There are so many questions like that running through my head. I find it disheartening.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Where am I going

I often sit and wonder and struggle with where I am going. I have no idea anymore what God wants for me or where I should be in life. I am not sure I am meant to be a teacher, be in Rochester, be able to play softball, etc. It has come to the point that I need in many ways just to surrender to God and let Him lead me wherever I must go. I will admit that in many ways I am scared to let that happen but at the same time I know that I can trust Him to lead me where I am supposed to be. Yet I do sit here night after night and wonder. I am 30 years old, single, and a music teacher. I love softball and I waver between desperately wanting to find the love of my life and get married and being so confused about women that I hope I never get married.
I have wonderful friends in life who love me even for all my faults and crazy habits and I do not get to see them enough.
I hope and pray that God shows me where I am supposed to be by His will and not mine and that like so many people I know; I can understand my purpose in life.
Or maybe I am not supposed to know........
Where am I going, I know not.

Monday, February 23, 2009


I think that often times I feel like I am misunderstood by others. It feels like most times when I have something I really feel is important that I don’t have someone to talk to who feels the same way that I do. I often feel lonely during these times because I think there is nobody who understands me or what I am going through and often in the past I have forgotten one important fact. When it seems like nobody else understands you, God always does. I realize that may not be a profound statement because since God is omnipotent then He knows everything and therefore how could He not understand you, right? But I think it is more than that. Jesus came to earth and lived life as a man so He could understand our temptations and our trials. Instead of sitting up in heaven looking down and saying, “yeah I understand you are having trouble” God sent His son to experience those troubles first hand. I think that this is very important because often we feel that nobody understands us when you cannot find someone who has had an experience like yours. If they don’t know your anguish or your pain they cannot appreciate what you are going through at times. But God understands and you can count on Him for that because He made sure that He could touch us on such a personal level. It is truly amazing what He did for us when you think about it.

In Memory of Jennifer MacDougald

Iver called tonight. Jennifer, our friend and accompanist back at MSU has passed away. The world has lost a very special person indeed. Jennifer was an exceptional musician but more than that; she was an exceptional friend. She was always there to listen whenever you needed and she usually gave great advice. You could be yourself and know that she always accepted everyone. It didn't matter if you weren't exactly like her; she was so loving of the people in the music program.
There were days when I would go in for my singing sessions manic with joy and days that it was hard to walk in the building let alone sing. But I knew that when it came to my time to work with her that I always had a friend who stood by me.
The biggest thing was that Jennifer wasn't just acting this way for me; it was for everybody. I don't know a single person who knew her that didn't like her. She was so caring and friendly.

My best thought of Jennifer:
I remember singing a solo out of Les Miserables. Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. I didn't ever sing it for a recital but I loved the song and I always worked on it on my own. Jennifer knew about it and she would always play it for me. We would work on our other music but sometime during the session she would whip out the book and we would run through it. I don't know if she ever got sick of the song or not but I always appreciated the fact that she would play it for me because it made me happy to be able to sing the song. That is exactly the kind of person she was.

Thank you Jennifer for touching our lives in so many ways as a musician and a friend. We won't forget you. I know you are in a better place and I am glad the pain is gone. We will miss you but I know I will see you some day in heaven and I look forward to being a musician with you in God's Holy Choir.

peace and love,

first blog

Welcome to my world. It is confusing and rambling sometimes.