Monday, February 29, 2016

Better Day

Much better today. I slept through the night last night for the first time in over a week. The fear is still there, but I can handle it better today because I feel rested.

Most people say that I remind them of my dad. I do take after him in most ways, including prostate cancer! But when it comes to sleep, I'm much more like my mom. She's never been a good sleeper. My dad is one of those people who can go to sleep anytime, anywhere. Snoring as soon as his head hits the pillow. If you're like that, you need to thank God for it every day. It's a tremendous gift. I've never had that talent. I can't sleep on a plane or in a car. I need MY pillow to sleep. I need to be on my side of the bed. And there's more.

My problem is not with getting to sleep at first. It's with not being able to get back to sleep if I get up during the night. Most nights, I have no problem getting back to sleep, unless I ate something that didn't agree with me, or ate too much chocolate, drank coffee too late, etc. Or if something's bothering me, like now. Normally, if I have a bad night, I have a good night's sleep the next night. But that didn't prove true this time. Hopefully, last night is a sign of things to come.

In yesterday's post, I talked about new readers who, when they first come here, go back to the beginning and read through the whole journal in one sitting. That takes a while now, and CaringBridge's rather clunky interface is not well suited for that. I'm very honored that when people find out about my journal for the first time, they often want to read it from the beginning. A friend of mine compared it to binge watching a TV show to catch up. I told him he has a few seasons to get through, so strap in.

For this and other reasons, I've decided to mirror this journal in a Google blog. I blogged for years, and I much prefer the way a blog works to the way this website works.

CaringBridge provides a wonderful service for free to people who desperately need it. This place has been my lifeline for the past several months. So, I'm not going anywhere. I will continue to post here. CaringBridge gives my journal a legitimacy and gravitas that a simple blog does not. Therefore, I will post in both places. But as I put the blog together, (I started yesterday) I'm condensing some posts and deleting some information that's no longer accurate or applicable, to give the thing a consistent narrative, without losing the day-to-day "journal" quality of it.

But back to my original topic. While I'm sure that sheer exhaustion took over last night, I also think that I slept better because I was able to talk about my feelings openly with you yesterday. I'm sure you all appreciate the fact that there are things that I can't share publicly at certain times. But even under those circumstances, I'm very thankful to be able to share what I can as openly as possible. Thank you for making me feel like I can let my guard down here.

This Sunday night, I'm taking part in a reunion concert with some old bandmates of mine. I expect it to be a huge blessing and encouragement. But I am not able to be a 100% team player because of my illness. We've had two rehearsals so far, and both times I've had to leave early because I just didn't have the physical endurance to rehearse for hours. Tonight is dress rehearsal, and I expect that my friends will go through the songs I'm participating in first so I can get home and get to bed. And not sleep.

But that's the point. After the first rehearsal, it became painfully clear to me that I no longer have the goods for a professional gig. Sure, I can still sing, but when I have to limit my involvement in a 90 minute concert to half of the songs because I just don't have the energy to do the whole set, that's an eye opener for me.

But it just proves to me that I'm on the right track. I really am supposed to retire from leading worship, performing and recording. Music takes a lot of energy, in case you don't know. It's actually exhausting if you're doing it right. I'm never more wiped out than after I mix a CD project. It's totally draining, mentally. And as a singer, I put out a tremendous amount of energy when I sing. Every BTU of that costs me something. That's true for every performer. Just like an athlete, the quality of your performance is in direct proportion to the amount of energy you put out. Any performer worth their salt "leaves it all on the stage" the way true competitor leaves it all on the field or the court. Like Peyton Manning, I'm just not able to do that right now like I used to. Not that I was ever the equivalent of Peyton Manning as a singer. Maybe Alex Smith. A solid pro, but unspectacular.

Feeling like I have confirmation that I'm supposed to retire should make me less fearful, right? Maybe that's the lesson I just learned while typing this. Because if I feel that I'm getting confirmation that my days as a performer and worship leader are, at the very least, on hiatus, that must mean that I haven't been off base feeling like God is leading me to retirement. From music, at least. The peace I've been feeling until recently was not a fluke. This brief period is the fluke. I really hope that's true.

Sometimes, when I write, I know exactly where I'm going. I know what my opening and closing lines are before I start. I'm the same way as a songwriter. But sometimes, like today, I have no idea how a post will end when I start it. I just write until it feels done. Usually, when that happens, I learn something while I'm writing. We'll soon see if I've really learned this lesson or not. By the way, I've never written a song that way, not knowing where a song is going when I start and just writing until it feels done. I'm not that good.

That's another reason why I'm turning this into a blog. I looked at some other CaringBridge journals yesterday, and they were all very matter-of-fact. So-and-so is in the hospital, they're performing this test, we'll give you the results tomorrow. Stuff like that. Maybe 3 or 4 sentences. Nobody I saw is using their journal as a memoir, like I am. That makes me think I'm using this platform in a way that it's not meant to be used. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe CaringBridge will use my journal as an example of what can be done with it. Both CaringBridge and blogs have their advantages, so I'm going to use both platforms to try to get my story out.

Thanks for hanging in there with me! I'll let you know when the blog is online.

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