Chase This Light

I listened to Jimmy Eat World’s “Chase This Light” on my way home tonight (it’s a very ironic CD title, and you’ll see why).   It always reminds me of my midnight flight into Chicago.  I bought the CD right before leaving Thailand, and listened to it over and over on the plane ride.  I’ll never forget the sight of the city lights from above, looking down on them with such a hopeful heart.     

I read through some of my old Thai journals this week, and composed a song out of several old poems that I had written there.  Ironically, half of the song is about those city lights, and how my love made them brighter than the sun….  I wish I were looking down on those lights now, I know they are still as beautiful.

Oh how my priorities have changed, and stayed the same.  I will always be a dreamer, and no killing of dreams will change that.  Because a dream is an extension of one’s self, and it’s gain or loss can no more kill the dreamer than a solar flare kills the sun.  With every death, I will be as bright.  Take everything from me, and you take a handful of water from the sea. 

How many different ways can I say the same thing?  How many different metaphors can I use to describe the lights of Chicago, when the lights of Chicago are themselves a metaphor for something else.  On my new album, I am remixing/reprising many of the songs.  So that one song is followed by a completely different sounding song, which conveys the same basic concept.  Because I’ve found that the most effective way to communicate is to alter the style, until you learn what the other person’s listening language is.  And there are as many listening languages as there are speaking and body languages.  For instance, depending on what others find beautiful I may tell one person that Chicago lights are like a goldmine, and I may tell another person that it’s like looking down on Christmas.  The important thing is that each person knows that it was beautiful.

I personally, try to listen intently to whoever is speaking to me, regardless of what they’re saying or who it is.  Because it’s amazing how long a person will talk if you don’t interrupt them, and actually give them the time and attention to fully express themselves.  And this is true of most things in life, in regards to forgetting yourself long enough to dwell on something openmindedly.  The longer you dwell on something, the more it will speak to you.  And that is certainly true of Chicago city lights.  This causes me to do a lot more listening that speaking.  Not because I don’t want to speak, in fact I have a very firm opinion on just about everything under the sun, but because people so desperately need to know that they are worth listening to.  And to me, filling that need and giving my time to someone is worth far more than trying to wow them with any scholarly or experiencial knowledge.  Plus, I already know my own opinion, and it never hurts to learn someone else’s… even if their voice is a series of streetlights 50,000 below you.

This lack of speaking either causes me to pour all of my ideas onto God’s lap, because I can only keep so many good thoughts in my mouth before they come spilling out; or it causes me to just throw my thoughts at him as them come, knowing that I’ll die if I don’t tell them to someone who will truly appreciate and understand them.  My gosh, you should hear our social commentary, we could have a sitcom.  God and I are like the man and the robots on Mystery Science Theatre.  Luckily, he thinks I’m hilarious, really he does, otherwise I think I would be an aggravating pebble in his shoe rather than a playful feather tickling his glorious footsies.

For instance, he’s playing a joke on me right now, that trickster…   I borrowed Martin Buber’s “I and Thou” from my parent’s church’s library.  I got about half way through, and put it down for being such a slow read.  I mean… it’s a very compelling book, and the concepts are really admirable, but it just takes so long to read.  So I returned it, and in exchange borrowed “Spiritual Disciplines For Everyday Living”, which… I have discovered… quotes alot of Martin Buber (there’s no escaping The Bube).

I will never forget those beautiful fiery lights, nor the hopes that they sparked in my straw heart.  And though some dreams have burned, the love and hope live on in the dreamer.  So that where I am, the Chicago lights will always be (and be beautiful).


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