Seldom at a loss for words.

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Abode: Nine Forward
Interests: Writing, Singing, Working Out

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A selection of words from my vast vocabulary, including the ubiquitous "the," the always versatile "and," and the more obscure "incontrovertible," arranged in frequently meaningful, sometimes profound, yet often pedestrian sentences and statements, designed with one goal in mind-- that being, to communicate; keeping in mind the oft-used bromide, "Never use two words when one will do the same job as two or more words would have done, unless you just want to take up space and sound important," which is, I must concede, too often a secret objective of mine indeed. And yet, now, the secret is out.

Who ARE these women?

© MMX Mattquist. Some Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Oh Say, Can You See Anything?

This may be a long entry, violating the "keep it brief" rule of blogging; but I am going to have a bunch of time on my hands. I'm sitting in the "Rose Room" at the Rose Garden arena, home of the Portland Blazers and the Portland Winterhawks. I (along with scores of other wannabe singers) am here to audition to sing the national anthem for the Blazers and/or Winterhawks this year.

It's just before 10:00 a.m., and we're going to be getting under way in just a minute. We all took a number when we came in the door. I am number 50. Figuring that it will take about 3 minutes per audition, with setup time and the actual singing of the song, I guestimate that I have almost 3 hours to waste until it's my turn; maybe just over 2 hours, if I'm lucky. I know my laptop battery won't probably last that long, which is good for the reader.

Last night I took The Princess to a concert up in Vancouver, USA: Avalon. They're a christian group; Matthew West and Mark Schultz opened for them. But, in a bitter turn of events, we didn't get there in time to hear any of Matthew West, and we only got a few songs out of Mark Schultz. Traffic on I-5 was stop and go while I was trying to get back to the Swan Island hub, and I have a 5:40 deadline that I have to meet in order for my air packages to make it to the airport B4 the jet leaves for our air hub in Louisville. Well, I didn't make the deadline-- an occurrence that happens maybe three times a year, so I had to go directly to PDX, which tacks on an additional 50 minutes or so (at least) to my day.

So, we were late to the concert. Now, the most insidious ramification of this was that my attitude was hopelessly ruined by the time we arrived. Actually it went south while I was sitting at a stop under the Morrison bridge. If the reader isn't aware of my recent battles (the last two years, or so) with God, and the whole Trusting Him/Relationship thing, you are about to get an inside peek at my spiritual state. Buckle up.

I'm having a real struggle here. One would think, wouldn't one, that going to a christian concert where there would be good, God-honoring, uplifting, worship-inducing music would be something that God might want Tami and me to participate in, and to arrive on time to (I HATE being late!). I don't think that's an unreasonable expectation. But no. I know my recent life's frustration is just one of those "trials" that is mentioned in James 1, but unfortunately I am failing miserably the test of perseverance. I was bitter, angry and a real poop. Basically my crappy attitude ruined the evening for Tami. We hardly talked. I wasn't mad at her; I was mad at God. I know, I know, it was an immature attitude, and without that bad attitude the evening could have been redeemed, but I was overcome with anger. I said more than one expletive while stuck in traffic in my brown truck.

This may be an uncomfortable revelation to those of you friends and relatives who are reading this; it probably doesn't fit well with the image I try to display to everyone. But I'm realizing, in this mid-life crisis of mine (if you want to call it that) that authenticity is healthy. I encourage your observations, but please be gentle.

Right now there's a young girl auditioning. I think we're on number 10 or so, and it's 10:23, so maybe we're going at a slightly faster clip than I predicted. This girl is probably 12 years old or so, and she is actually pretty good. Some real questionable talent levels are demonstrated at these things; I tried out last year too, and I remember some pretty interesting acts. It's hard to know how many people actually make it. They're letting us sing "O Canada" too, and I think this will give me an advantage. Only one person so far has attempted that anthem.

A high school ensemble group is singing now. Wow, they sound nice. Reminds me of my high school days.

This Rose Room is nice. Linen table cloths, many TV monitors, big glass wall looking down on the Rose Quarter, very high ceiling, bar. Must be expensive to come in here and dine B4 a game. My laptop isn't receiving any WiFi signals, so that's something they could ad. But then, I guess if you're coming to dinner here, you wouldn't be bringing your laptop. Never mind the WiFi suggestion.

The high school dude up there now just changed keys in the middle of the song. Not a good thing.

Okay, back to my issues. (Please be advised that there are two exit doors at the front, two exit doors over the wings and two at the rear. Remember that the nearest exit may be behind you.) I know in my head that we live in a fallen world and that God doesn't intervene with the I-5 traffic just for my convenience. I understand that academically. But I am discovering a LOT of anger deep inside as I traverse the halfway mark of my fifth decade (that's my forties-- remember the first decade is the zero's). Anger, I am frequently reminded in my many counseling sessions, is a symptom of a much deeper problem: hurt. And yes, I do feel hurt. Abandoned may be a more accurate word. They sang and talked at last night's concert about our relationship with God. I do have a relationship with Him, but more and more I feel like it's much like a relationship that a person has with his bank. Not very personal. I really have a difficult time sensing God's presence in my life, on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes I wonder if I ever have.

Yeah, we're losing altitude fast, aren't we. Please bring your seats to an upright position.

Are these "okay" feelings for a born-again christian to have? To reveal? Do I have permission to be authentic? I just can't continue to play christian. No, I'm not dumping my faith, I just don't feel like I have anything to "share" with others. Don't ask me to export what I don't experience myself.

And it's not like I'm a new christian. I accepted Jesus when I was 10 or so. And it's NOT like I've been sitting on my duff, spiritually speaking. I can't tell you how many times I've prayed that God would reveal Himself to me. I've immersed myself in the Psalms. I've memorized and meditated on many, many sections of scriptures. Psalm 86:11 has been my close companion: "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth... Give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name." I dunno, I guess I'll just keep on plugging away at it. But don't talk to me about a relationship. It seems kind of dry right now.

Okay, enough of that. We've leveled off now. You can unbuckle your seat belts, and you are free to move around the cabin. We know our final destination, but it might be a bumpy ride getting there, so be ready to assume the crash position at any moment...

We're past the number 25 mark, as far as auditioners go, and it's just before 11:00. So I guess my total wait time will be under two hours. Stay tuned, and I'll let you know how I did. I could start rambling on about how I'm slightly handicapped because I'll be auditioning while coming off a bad sinus infection, but that's A Whole Nother Thing.

link | posted by Matt Norquist at 10/02/2004 01:41:00 PM |


Blogger Brantnorquist commented at 1:46 AM, October 03, 2004~  

Great post Dad--it inspired me to write a long post myself (see my journal). I understand much of what you're talking about because I have gone through it too. The important thing for me was to be authentic. I gave myself permission to ask every question that there is to ask, and I feel that I am free because of that.

I believe that, deep down, everyone feels abandonment. Everyone wants to be loved, and it's so comforting to believe that God is up there watching over us. The problem comes when one is told that for their entire life, but then discovers that it may not be true. One's world is thrown into disorientation. Was I lied to as a child?

I am deeply fascinated with religion. I want to believe in God, but I want to do it authentically. Please see my journal! :-)

I hope your singing went well. I love you!

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