Discernment and Music: Give to Live

My week has been a struggle to find something worth while to discuss. Other writers can list an odd happening during their day, or use current events as a sounding board for their opinion. I've tried to keep the "soap-boxing" to a minimum, and focus more on my personal development and my journey towards the Capuchins. Ironically, that may have been why I've had little to share: a lack in personal or spiritual development.

Somewhere along the way, I slipped into a "coast" mode with my life. I simply need to pay back my personal debt and wait until the first of August for my "new" life to start. I found myself just counting the days until I would leave this life and enter the next...in a manner of speaking.

As I said my prayers last night before going to bed, I realized that I shouldn't just be waiting until one day where I can be a Capuchin. I can start to live that life right now. Each day, for the rest of my life, is an opportunity to live my life for Christ. Why wait to change the world when I can start right now?

I awoke with a new view on life. I felt a spring in my step, I was eager to leave for work, and I felt like I wasn't waiting 6.5 months for my life to restart, but that I'd live the rest of these days with a chance to prove to myself that this is the lifestyle I want.

As the day progressed, I found myself a little kinder, a little less tense, and a little more happy with my life. I'd done nothing to change the world, simply changed my outlook on life. I found the whole experience refreshing and inspiring; I now had something to write about when I got home.

On the drive home, I stopped by the local Walgreen's to grab a late night snack. As I parked the car, I saw an old man standing at the entrance to the pharmacy. The snow was coming down quite heavily as the old man put the hood of his tattered coat over his head. I could feel his eyes on me from when I pulled in until I got out of my car. I knew what was going to happen, just like 1000 times before. I'd already rehearsed excuses for not giving him a ride or any money.

I was thinking about how he would react if I offered to actually buy him something rather than give him money...a tactic used to validate a preconceived notion that he would merely buy booze and/or cigarettes with any money I gave him. Strangely enough, as he was telling me his story, I reached into my front pocket to dig for some change. I felt a few quarters, yet I decided that wasn't enough. Digging out my wallet, I saw two 10 dollar bills and a one. Instead of grabbing the single, I handed him one of the tens, content in the thought that I would not spend $10 in Walgreen's for anything. He thanked my graciously, and I told him "no problem" without even a thought. I walked into the store, bought my food, and really didn't worry about whether or not he was buying food with that money or he was saving up for a crack rock. Personally, I know I've spent $10 on seven-deuce offsuit plenty of times; I can waste money just like the next guy.

I decided to put a little faith in God, and hope that the money I gave him would be well spent. I felt better on the drive home, despite the fact that my gas needle was getting dangerously close to E. Before I could even regret that $10, I wondered what it would be like for those people who had to live outside as the snow continued to pour down. I have a wonderful apartment to return to, and I'm arriving to my location in a reliable (and warm) source of transportation. How many people sleeping in Grand Rapids have that?

I felt much better about myself. Maybe because I learned something today, or maybe because I knew I'd have a wonderful post to share with all of you. Perhaps both reasons are valid. I feel like I'm doing the right thing again...and it all started with prayer. I hate it when those vocation directors are right.

A wonderful story needs a theme for it, so as I parked my car, I happened to hear some Van Halen playing on one of the radio stations. While it wasn't the song I've listed, it reminded me of this song; both the lyrics as well as the acoustic guitar have always stuck with me. While Sammy Hagar wasn't known for much spiritual enlightenment via music (Mas Tequila isn't really Catholic-like), I think this song rings true on a lot of things I've started to see in life.

The song is unavailable on projectplaylist.com, however if you find a copy of the Right Here, Right Now CD by Van Halen, you will find this song on Disc 2.

I can see that you got fire in your eyes
And pain inside your heart
So many things have come
Torn your world apart
So baby, don't give up

If you want love, you gotta give a little
If you want faith, you gotta believe a little
If you want peace, turn your cheek a little
You gotta give, you gotta give to live.

An empty hand reaching for someone
An empty heart takes so little to fill
It's so much easier to push instead of pull
So baby, don't give up.

If you want love, you gotta give a little
If you want faith, you gotta believe a little
If you want peace, turn your cheek a little
You gotta give, you gotta give to live.

Each man's a country in his own right
And everybody needs a friend
One friend, one God, one country,
No man need defend

I believe in fate and destination
So much of that lies in our own hands
So if you know what you want
You can go out and get it
But baby, don't you ever give up.

If you want love, you gotta give a little
If you want faith, you gotta believe a little
If you want peace, turn your cheek a little
If you want love, you gotta give.

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