It is a Tuesday afternoon in the bodily hermitage where I’ve been caged in bone, skin and blood for 14,765 days. I woke up feeling pretty good but this afternoon my respiration sounds like broken glass, and each exhalation a footstep as someone crunches over it. I thought about trying to exercise this morning to clear my lungs but don’t have the energy. This is the eleventh week of sickness, not including several years I managed to just power through.
Tomorrow I go to the hospital for more Xolair injections, and then I have to decide whether I’ll try to return to my old job, or whether I’ll insist on getting better first. The company will post my position after I’ve been out for twelve weeks and I will effectively lose my job.
Because my lungs feel full of sand and mud I’ve spent the day reading and listening to music. I checked out the new St. Lucia album, Matter, but it doesn’t seem they took any risks – it sounds like their first album which had a kind of early 80’s snappy disco synth-pop sound, like a New Order redo. I first heard St. Lucia at the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware in late June 2013. It was a sweltering day, and I laid in the grass at their concert far away from the rest of the crowd. Even though I was miserable with a headache and the heat and humidity, I couldn’t help tapping my foot on the grass. When you see a band live before hearing their published work you’re more likely to think they’re better than they really are, and sometimes you get buyer’s regret years later and go What was I thinking? Still, I like St. Lucia’s music when I’m in the mood.
Funny how musical tastes change. If they change. I’ve noticed the majority of folks just keep grinding the wheels down into whatever musical rut they were stuck in when they were teenagers. When I was younger I listened to a lot of Christian music, but I was also into punk rock because it was high energy: Green Day, Blink-182, The Offspring, NOFX, Bad Religion. I was into earlier alternative stuff, too: The Smiths, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Pixies, R.E.M., Interpol and Radiohead.
I never want to get tunnel vision when it comes to musical expression – I still thrill over musical discovery and how artists use new technologies. I like listening to music that makes me uncomfortable sometimes. I try to keep an open ear to styles I don’t naturally gravitate toward, like rap and country, because every once in a while I’ll stumble onto something that scratches an itch I didn’t know I had.
So this is my hope and my prayer
the air that I breathe in eternity
with lungs that never fail me
if it pleases my Lord
And only by Your grace use my life
till it’s poured out for Your sake.