Music and the embrace of frustration

I like music that you probably hate. uuuggghhh…not that assshole!

The statement itself reeks to high heaven of the snooty brand of condescension that I am regularly guilty of. It’s funny how I mask my ridiculous secret superiority complexes in one-off comments that I really want to come off as humble or self-deprecating, but that is beside my point…

When music becomes work or interrupts your stream of thought, this, this is the precise moment that music has the potential to tell you something  interesting about yourself.

I crossed that line with My Bloody Valentine album “Loveless”. For my purposes the band does not matter as much as the resulting fallout that has been a part of my changing life. It is an album that buries truly lovely pop songs under towering walls of feedback and repetition. It is a place where music teaches you how hard your mind is willing to work to find beauty. A remarkably beautiful  ________ can have a difficult exterior.

Which brings me to Adam Phillips “Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life”

” In Freud’s story our possibilities for satisfaction depend on our capacity for frustration; if we can’t let ourselves feel our frustration – and, surprisingly, this is a surprisingly difficult thing to do – we can’t get a sense of what it is we might be wanting, and missing, of what really gives us pleasure.”

It seems like part of our capacity for pleasure & joy are directly wired uncomfortably into our willingness to exist in the frustrating now. The in-betweeness that is a lived kind of faith. In order to see abundance you must stare into that unpleasant void that is your wild lacking-ness and to be at peace with your specific brand of excruciating lacking-ness. The funny thing about allowing space for your incompetence or short-comings is that they can matter less. The noise is part of the song, but it’s not the everything about the song. There is a song beneath the noise that you might not be able to pick out just yet.

I honestly don’t have the courage to do that all of the time…most of the time. Until shame, guilt and fear matter less, until the burden of all three is carried by the astounding grace of something other than my willpower. I cannot find the beauty in the mundane now.

…and Paul

“For I decided to know nothing among you other than Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and fear and much trembling and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that faith may not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God”

Paul doesn’t make a great case for himself…maybe because it became less important to need to. Abundant life is not dumb to the noise of our limitations it is life lived with an acute sense of them and their relevance in the context of a freely received and given freedom.

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