I did something hard today.
Normally I try very hard NOT to do anything hard. On any day. This normally turns out to be a hard thing to do.
But today, this thing, was especially hard.
I sort of… turned in my notice… to the church band I’ve been a part of for three years.
Music is very much a part of my life. I sing and I play. Since I’ve been out of school, most of this has transpired within a church setting. But guess what… there are no contemporary worship bands in an Orthodox church. There’s a choir, yes. The service is almost entirely sung, yes. But exactly where does a player fit in??
Seriously, what the heck is a musician supposed to do? Since discovering music, I feel like I came a long way the day I resolved myself to the fact that church music is all I’ll ever really do. I’ll never start up a band of my own, I’ll never write my own songs, I’ll never gig around town in bars and cafes, I’ll never sign a record deal… and none of this is because I never want to, but music was never meant to be my profession. A passion, yes, but not a profession. I’m not good enough, I don’t practice enough and I’m not competitive enough. It has to be THE thing you love and want to do. But there are lots of things I love and want to do. I decided that, for me, the church was going to be enough. The one place that fills that void. The day that realization came was another one of those hard days, but one I was fine with because it’s not supposed to be about me, it’s about serving. This was how I was supposed to serve my church. So I get to do something I love and serve my church at the same time??… SCORE. I’ve found a sense of purpose!
Except…today I realized I’m about to lose that too. I’ve known it for a long time. In fact, this band is one of the few things left that still ties us to the Methodist church. I couldn’t bear to leave. The mere thought brought tears to my eyes. I love to play. I LOVE my fellow band members. And where could I possibly do this anywhere else…
But I can’t have both. Tried it for a while. I thought we could be here on some Sundays and there on others. It was very short-lived. It’s like serving two masters or having two full-time jobs. It may work for a while, but eventually you’re going to have to choose. You just can’t really be anywhere as long as you’re torn in two. It’s not fair to you and it’s not fair to those around you.
So push came to shove. And I chose….shove?? I don’t know. But the point is I can’t continue to explore the Orthodox Church while remaining a regular member of the band. And well… that’s hard. I finally decided the time had come when I realized when I’m here, half the time I’m wishing I was over there. And when I’m over there… I’m over there.
Orthodox worship is not contemporary and it’s not modern. It’s not an excuse for a Christian-themed concert. It’s not a chance to show off your talent under the (sometimes very thinly veiled) guise of worshiping. I’m not saying that’s what all worship bands are about, but in a contemporary service, that’s a very fine, thin, blurry… or whichever kind of line it is that indicates it’s hard to make out. You have to be very careful and constantly ask yourself: Is this for me or is this really, TRULY for Him? Because that doesn’t even seem to be a question in an Orthodox service. You should hear their hymns. They’re not like songs, at least not the kind of song with a clear “verse, chorus, bridge” type of following, but just… worship. Just plain worship. The genuine kind you don’t have to work so hard at.
So I made a hard decision today. One I’m still quite torn about. One I’m sure I will regret at times. But I cling to one thing: if I am supposed to do this music thing, God will not leave me out in the cold. He’ll provide an opportunity as He always has before. I have no reason not to trust Him now. He will give me something else to fill that void or… perhaps… just perhaps… He will help me to realize I don’t need it anymore.