Thursday, December 28

How Can I Keep From Singing?

Sorry for taking so long to blog again, everybody, things have been crazy.

Lately I've been reading Dr. Reynolds' Christmas blog posts; you can read the latest one here.

I get pretty discouraged sometimes. I feel like I'm made almost no progress in shaping my soul. I still have a hard time saving money, eating right, excercizing, and I still have largely terrible taste in music.

But then I look back to myself in high school, and I realize that I have changed. I'm no longer so angry, or so arrogant. I still struggle greatly with despair, and probably always will, but I now have courage to fight that battle and face that despair.

My tastes in music have definately improved: I can watch opera (still can't listen without the staged visuals) and enjoy it, I like the groups Anonymous 4 and Sequentia, and I love Pachelbel's Canon in D(in fact, that peice is a powerful weapon against despair; its order, structure, and simple melody can snap me out of depression.) I even like a little ballet.

I don't really know what any of this means. Sometimes I think the hardest thing about life is that you just have to go out there every day, and do the same thing. You have to do your duty every day, make the right choices everyday, and be an adult everyday.

The temptation to shirk all that is inescapable at times. You just want to make one bad choice, let one duty slide, act childish for a few hours. We're rarely, if ever, allowed to see how those good choices impact our lives, and the lives of those around us. It seems like life just going along like usual. But when we make the wrong choices, we see how important the right ones were.

C.S. Lewis said "No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means--the only complete realist."

It never feels like a glorious battle. Only a long trudge, fighting against enemies we can't see, and often fighting our own selves.


There is a joy in it all. A song can live in the most downtrodden heart, and all the slings and arrows of fortune cannot take it away.

"My life goes on in endless song
Above earths lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation."

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear its music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing? "

While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth."

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock Im clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing? "

When tyrants tremble in their fear
And hear their death knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing? "

In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging,
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?"