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Summary: Part 10 in the series, Love Never Dies, this message looks at the story of the blind man and how Jesus gives each one of us an opportunity to respond to his power and serve with our lives.

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I Now See

Love Never Dies, prt. 10

Wildwind Community Church

Jason Kotarski

June 6, 2010

Before I got involved in the church, I did a lot of my growing up in the local punk rock music scene. I had found a place that accepted me for who I was and it gave me a chance to explore my love for music with a bunch of folks who were in the same boat as me. This is to say that we all loved music and had pretty much no idea how to play our instruments. We all started our own bands and did our best to hammer out our own songs so we could take turns putting on shows at the local all-ages club.

I played in a bunch of different bands and they all sounded somewhat unique compared to the other local bands. Most of the bands that were a part of the scene had different influences and ended up kind of having their own thing going on.

When a band from our little community started getting more confident they would start travelling and playing shows in other towns and maybe even go to the recording studio to record some songs and put out a cassette to sell at shows. At first the goal was to go out of town to play a show. Then, the next goal was to go out of town, play a show, and sell enough cassettes and make enough money at the door to cover the gas we spent to get to there. Not everyone was lucky enough to achieve this particular goal but I guess that’s the music business for you. Everyone wants to be a rock star and a few of them might get a chance to pay their bills playing music.

Before long my life was revolving around my band. We were playing every weekend and recouping our expenses and even making a little extra money to put towards recording studio time. We thought we were awesome! The more experience we had the more confident we became and sometimes that confidence turned into cockiness. What was a little community of people who just loved music, wanted to take some risks, and have some fun became a bit of a competition.

Sometimes I would take a younger band under my wing and share what I had learned about dealing with shady promoters and finding cool places to play. A couple times, I even took it upon myself to make sure to tell my friends’ when their band-name’s could use a little work. Because obviously, my bands, South Bay Bessie and Burnt Toast, knew a thing or two about choosing a cool band name!

Sometimes other band’s we were friends with would have success without our help or, God forbid, using an idea that wasn’t mine and I would find myself jealous. When you think that your way is the only way or the best way it can be easy to miss out on times of celebration in favor of hanging on to your pride.

Some of these younger bands would start seeing greater success than my band and the jealousy would grow. We felt on top of the world one day and then a week later it was like we were yesterday’s news, riding the rollercoaster of triumph and defeat and missing out on the spirit of what it was that got us involved in the music scene in the first place. Sure, we’d have older, wiser friends trying to gently help us bring our egos down a notch but we had a hard time listening.

In this little community, everyone had different ideas about how things should be based on our level in the social food chain and our experience. Some of us thought we deserved to be headlining shows. Some of us were just honestly excited to get the chance to play at all. We all responded in different ways to our circumstances in any given moment. Sometimes we were right on target, operating out of our love for art and music and community. And other times, we missed the mark completely, trying to stay on top of the crumbling mountain of arrogance and insecurity that was thinly disguised as confidence.

When I think about this time in my life I can see that I grew a lot. I was exploring my identity and experiencing leadership for the first time. I can also see those places that I got stuck. I focused on the wrong stuff. I let my insecurity be an excuse to hurt people I cared about. Sometimes it takes a little space and time to help you see the big picture. It’s easy to look back and evaluate what you should have done but it’s another thing to make the right choices in the moment. As you can see, being a semi-professional punk rocker wasn’t always as pretty as it sounds.

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