Well, I hope I haven't forgotten too much to do this day justice. I have been busy this week, so making time to put together a thoughtful blog has been hard. I think this accurately describes my condition. In actuality, I have been REALLY waiting for the notes of Randy Elrod's talk on Empathy. Anyone got them? I did order the DVD so hopefully that will come soon. However, I felt the need to just share about this with you all, sooner than later...before everyone forgot about Recreate 11. If that is even possible.
The day started off with an interview with Ed Kowalczyk, of LIVE. Randy Elrod did a fantastic job of interviewing Ed. I was taken back by Ed's honesty, and accessibility to us recreators. Thankful in fact. All week long, Ed (this stadium packing rock star) hung out with us. Later at night of Day 3 we all gathered in the lobby of our hotel and hung out due to the massive amounts of snow that dropped on Nashville. Ed was there. Just chilling out. I snapped this picture, trying to be discrete. I sure didn't want everyone in the room to know how geeked out I really was.
But...back up, because earlier that day I had my world rock, once again. Randy Elrod spoke to us creatives from a position of, "I get you", "I have been there", "I know that it's not easy", "but this is a safe place for you". Well, he had me at hello.
Randy asked the question: Who are we? Who are you? Really?
Are we flesh that are spiritual beings? Or, are we spiritual beings that are flesh? Or is it both?
At the time, we were asked to write down 1 word that described us. I shifted around, struggling to find that one word. Because for me, I don't think I can boil it down to one word. I have my hands in everything...ministry, fatherhood, worship, music, triathlon...what is that 1 word.
Then, I remembered something I recently read. It was in my Pastor's dissertation on Folleadership. The act of following Christ first, then leading from there. I read in there that very few people in leadership will describe themselves as "follower". For me, that's what I want people to see in me. I am a follower of Christ. First and foremost. So...that was my 1 word.
Randy went on to describe a few foundation aspects of a creative. The first of which was empathy. It was during this talk that Randy started really "ping-ing" me. Pinging...like what IT troubleshooters do to see if they can "see" your device through a network. He "pinged" me, like no one has ever pinged me before. I found out I was a "Compassionate Creative". It really helped me answer a question I had about myself. "Why could I not sing this song? "
"Eyes full of compassion, seeing every pain. Knowing what you're going through, and feeling the same. Just like my Father's eyes'." This lyric was on the screen during Randy's talk. This really explains my heart. When it all get's too much for me...I guess that's when I break down. For me, I process this kinda stuff through writing music. Someone asked me, "why are your band photos so depressing looking?". My answer, "have you listened to our music?".
It's not that our music is so depressing, it's just I am not apt to write music/lyrics when life is peachy. Can anyone relate? I know most of you recreators can. We are cut from the same cloth. Part of the same tribe.
Anyways. The day went on. We met with our breakout groups, and had a wonderful discussion time. Great lunch, then Ken Davis. Ken's talk was challenging, moving, and transforming for me.
"Love = Pain. Living = Pain." But we must live, and live fully.
"Do what you do to LIVE, not for a LIVING."
"The opposite of discipline is death". "Fail quickly, get it over with". "Courage is not the absence of fear, it's moving forward in the face of fear". Ken describe a few episodes in his own life, about how he realized that to live, meant enduring hardship and pain, but that the journey forward would be full of amazing gifts, and beautiful experiences.
As artists, and creatives. We know this. But after unpacking Randy's talk on "feeling that leads to doing" - compassionate empathy, and realizing that we are going to feel hurt and pain in this world, hearing Ken's talk created a little tension in me.
I was thinking..."so, can I just insulate myself from the pain and darkness in this life, so that I don't feel so deeply?" Ken answered this question with a resounding "NO".
I love to live life fully alive, fully awake. I love experiences, more than physical gifts (although those are quite nice). I live spontaneously, and I am really grateful for that. I need to keep doing that, it's how I live fully alive.
So...lot's of soul searching during day 3. Then, in the evening because of all the snow in Nahsville (as I mentioned before) we really got a chance to visit with one another and get to know each other in a deeper way. I loved closing down the night like this. Had a great time with Rich Kirkpatrick, Joe Day, and Chuck Harris, Joel Bowden, Phillip Rodgers, and Orhan Celebi. Playing tunes, and just hanging out. The end of day 3.