Tag Archives: God’s plan

God’s plan – A tribute for the Carey family – A year later

I sit here with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes, wondering why this bothers me so much tonight. A little more than 24 hours ago, a long time friend of mine let several of her friends know that she had just lost her younger brother Sam. This young man, whom I never knew personally, died as the result of a car accident in New Hampshire yesterday. My friend Tina let me know the news just moments after I had said a prayer for her brother, their family, and all their loved ones. I had just heard he was in the accident, and by the time my prayers were completed he was gone. My heart sank for all of those he left behind.

I read the articles today. I watched the video clips and tributes today. I can’t imagine the feeling the family has endured over the last 24 hours or so. Then I started thinking about my last 24 hours or so. I started thinking about the afternoon into the evening yesterday. It’s hard to comprehend sometimes how much is happening in every second of every day. The gorgeous sky I looked at yesterday afternoon brought a smile to my face and inspiring descriptions to my lips. At that same time, God, the Creator of the beautiful sky, was sharing a part of His plan for this young man, and his family. Maybe that sky was in place as to welcome one of His home. The words I heard today, and the words I read today certainly were a tribute to this man’s life. And just maybe the sky last night, that seemed to stretch as if the horizon wasn’t big enough to contain it, was laid out that way to welcome Sam home.

I have often though that God has a unique way of allowing certain things to happen, or at least to be noticeable to us, at the right time so we can create our own way of coping with events bigger than us. For example, I remember when my grandfather died. He was a great man of God, a preacher, teacher, reciter of the scriptures, he had a Christian book store, he had preached on the radio, and lived his life for God. I remember the morning of his service, the day he was to be buried, a light, pure, white snow fell, just enough to cover everything in a beautiful untouched blanket of white. I remember saying to my parents that God had given the ground a purifying coat of clean for my grandfather’s body to be put to rest one final time. I don’t know what the sky looked like yesterday where Tina was but I know I won’t soon forget that my attention was so-called to the heavens yesterday. During a time when one was fighting for his life. One who was so close to a friend of mine who was some 1500 miles away from the sky I watched in awe.

There’s a plan for all of this. God’s plan. Two words that make many want to turn and run the other way, God’s plan, because it usually means something that us imperfect humans don’t understand, or don’t want to deal with. Whatever the reaction is, it doesn’t change the plan. When I was younger I fought the plan, I am sure I did. I also didn’t always understand how or why things so terrible could happen to people as part of God’s plan. I am certainly not going to pretend to know or understand all these things now either. I do know that almost always, we are a part of a plan that is much bigger than it appears on the surface.

Just look at yesterday. There’s an accident on the highway in NH. Tina’s in Florida. Their family was at various locations. Former coaches, friends, former teachers, and others were carrying on in their daily lives. Then with one bit of news, somehow hundreds, maybe thousands, of people are linked together by one story. The words that describe the man. The thoughts that pierce reality. The news that shatters tranquility here on earth for many is the same news that confirms Sam’s arrival into eternal happiness. The effects that ripple through the conscious thoughts of all who knew him or his family. The outpouring of kindness, support, love, and concern. The mental images of a young son with no dad, and a fiance who was waiting for her man. It’s all part of the plan. God’s plan.

Time will tell how the plan unfolds. Even though it’s God’s plan, we are to be present and participating in His plan. I am in no way trying to down play any of this; this is a serious matter. There’s a message in most everything and I am willing to bet there’s even more of a wonderful message here as well. Think of the things you have heard, the things you have read, the things you have seen yourself, the life you may have been a part of first hand, all those things are a message of Sam’s life. Often times through the most unthinkable loss or sacrifice comes the greatest gift or the most amazing victory.

Please don’t think that this is over when the news stops running or the stories stop circulating. You and I may be a part of the plan. Anyone of us could be instrumental. Our words, our actions, just might be the right thing at the right time for the one who needs that spoken word or the example they were looking for. Really it’s always supposed to be that way. We are human, and our best moments aren’t all of our moments. Yet the more we think our moments are our best, the more they will be. And the moment we decide that we need to be our best might just be the moment that God’s plan includes us to be the message for someone needing to see that something that helps them cope and overcome.

My thoughts and prayers are with Sam and Tina’s family, friends, and loved ones. It’s a tough time for them all. As beautiful as New Hampshire is, Sam’s in a place of beauty right now that none of us can comprehend. Have faith, know and trust that it’s God’s plan.

Gallery

God’s plan – A tribute to Joe “Hub” Hubbard

This gallery contains 1 photos.

I got home from my son’s hockey practice earlier this evening. After everyone settled in, I flipped on the Australian Open as background noise while I checked email, FB, the weather, and a few mindless things. My mindless escape from … Continue reading

God’s plan – A tribute to Dennis Traynor and his family

I sit here with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes, as I cannot seem to make myself move a muscle. This is another tribute piece, not much different from one I wrote just weeks ago. Some of this is unchanged as truths and observations needn’t be corrected or updated here. That said, this is specifically and uniquely a tribute to the life of Dennis Traynor. He was taken from us all before we would have been ready to let him go. It was after 10pm when the phone rang. It was my mom. No offense mom, but those late night calls are never good ones. I am glad she called though. The news; my youngest brother Pete just lost his father-in-law, of course this means Pete’s sweetheart wife Louise lost her dad. Their four boys, age ten and younger, have to hear their mom and dad tell them about their grandfather. My heart sinks for those Mr. Dennis Traynor left behind.

I started thinking about the last few hours or so. I started thinking about the afternoon into this evening and where my thoughts and actions took me. It’s hard to comprehend sometimes how much is happening in every second of every day. The dark sky and torrents of rain reminded me that God is All Powerful and there’s nothing we can do it about it. As it should be. I ventured out after dinner to get my son to hockey practice. We left the house and I thought about caution as we drove through the pouring rain in the dark. At that same time, God, the Creator of the power unleashed from the heavens, was sharing a part of His plan for this still young father and grandfather, and his family. Maybe the night sky was emptying itself, a cleansing of sorts, to bring another of God’s children home.

I have often thought that God has a unique way of allowing certain things to happen, or at least to be noticeable to us, at the right time so we can create our own way of coping with events bigger than us. For example, I remember when my grandfather died. He was a great man of God, a preacher, teacher, reciter of the scriptures, he had a Christian book store, he had preached on the radio, and lived his life for God. I remember the morning of his service, the day he was to be buried, a light, pure, white snow fell, just enough to cover everything in a beautiful untouched blanket of white. I remember saying to my parents that God had given the ground a purifying coat of clean for my grandfather’s body to be put to rest one final time. I don’t know how this relates or if it does at all but I know I won’t soon forget that my attention was so-called to the heavens yesterday as God’s power washed over the northeast.

There’s a plan for all of this. God’s plan. Two words that make many want to turn and run the other way, God’s plan, because it usually means something that us imperfect humans don’t understand, or don’t want to deal with. Whatever the reaction is, it doesn’t change the plan. When I was younger I fought the plan, I am sure I did. I also didn’t always understand how or why things so terrible could happen to people as part of God’s plan. I am certainly not going to pretend to know or understand all these things now either. I do know that almost always, we are a part of a plan that is much bigger than it appears on the surface.

I know it’s hard to look at this situation and see anything positive. It’s all part of the plan. God’s plan. Time will tell how the plan unfolds. Even though it’s God’s plan, we are to be present and participating in His plan. I am in no way trying to down play any of this; this is a serious matter. There’s a message in most everything and I am willing to bet there’s even more of a wonderful message here as well. Think of the things you have heard, the things you have read, the things you have seen yourself, the life you may have been a part of first hand, all those things are a message of Dennis’ life. While many stood and watched, or waited to be led, Dennis was doing, Dennis was leading. He was the straw that stirs the drink for his family and those who knew him. Personally, I am honored that I knew him. I am so glad I got to spend some time with him and talk to him at Pete and Louise’s house back in October. I am sure it’s virtually unthinkable that the family will go on without him. Often times through the most unthinkable loss or sacrifice comes the greatest gift or the most amazing victory.

Please don’t think that this is over when the news stops running or the stories stop circulating. You and I may be a part of the plan. Anyone of us could be instrumental. The Traynor family is and will be feeling like there’s a void in a place where there once was a rock. So, our words, our actions, just might be the right thing at the right time for the one who needs that spoken word or the example they were looking for. Foundations are paramount for a sound structure as the scriptures tell us. This family just lost a major portion of their foundation and we might need to help hold up the structure for a time. Really it’s always supposed to be that way. We are human, and our best moments aren’t all of our moments. Yet the more we think our moments are our best, the more they will be. And the moment we decide that we need to be our best might just be the moment that God’s plan includes us to be the message for someone needing to see that something that helps them cope and overcome.

Our family’s thoughts and prayers are with Dennis’s family, friends, and loved ones. It’s a tough time  for them all. As wonderful as the Christmas season is, Dennis is in the most wonderful place right now, so beautiful, that none of us can comprehend. Have faith, know, and trust that it’s God’s plan.

Would you rather have $50 million or live for an extra 50 years?

This post is in response to the question: Would you rather have $50 million or live for an extra 50 years? I can’t relate to $50 million but I can relate to $1. Having money is nice when I have it, but having a year, wow. I haven’t been here for 50 years yet but I can certainly relate to 1 year. To have 50 more years or to have $50 million, that is the question.

I would rather have the extra 50 years. I mean that’s another 436,800 hours or another 2.62 million minutes I get to experience on this earth. The minute I shared with the twins before their nap today was priceless. I can’t imagine millions more of those minutes.

They say time is money and I am just fine with time. I would rather have more time to explore God’s created earth, more time to learn, more time to laugh, more time to share, more time to worship, more time to love, more time to be loved, and so on. 50 more Christmases. 50 more years to remember and honor those who have sacrificed so much. 50 more years to learn my family past and present. 50 more years of passing it on. 50 more years of God’s plan for me. 50 more years of being an example. 50 more years to be a voice. I would take it.

Think of all those people who never got the chance to grow up or to live a full life. A full life may not be a long one, it may be a life that carry’s out God’s plan, a life that carries with it a message, and in doing so is short by our measurements. Imagine though, you, me, those who had their lives shortened, had 50 more years too. 50 years to live, to follow God’s plan, to minister, to tell their story. Wow, what a thought.

50 more years, what a tribute this would be. Here’s my tribute to the following:

My Uncle Roger who died as a baby only hours old. What if he had 50 more years? I would have been able to meet him this side of heaven. His brothers and sister would have met him. Our family Thanksgiving’s would have included him and his family if he had one. I bet we would have loved and enjoyed him just as we did the rest of our family.

My grandmother Beal (Gallagher) died at the age of 98, almost two years ago now. She was a blessing to us all. Even at the end of her life. Imagine her having 50 more years to be the small, quiet presence across the street from my childhood home. There are so many folks who passed on, too many to name. I will get to some of them though. My grandfather Beal died in 1995 and the world could really use 50 more years of his strong hand, teaching the Bible, quoting scriptures, and his genuine smile of appreciation for children. My Aunt June Beal who died in 2009 at the age of 67, who wouldn’t have loved 50 more years of her smile, sense of humor, example, and the special bond of twin-ness with her twin brother, my dad.

On my mom’s side, it’s the same story. My grandfather Peterson died when I was just a boy. I think I was 11 years old. In those 11 years, I know I grew to love him. He was one of the first family members to see me as I was born in Caribou, Maine while my parents were in New Brunswick for Christmas. Once we left the hospital we went back to NB and there I met my Grampy Peterson for the first time. How I would have loved to know him longer. Even so, I remember some things about him, and would have loved 50 more years of him starting a fire in the wood stove every morning, 50 more years of smelling bacon cooking as my first sense upon waking in the morning, 50 more years of learning the ways of his farm from him, 50 more years of things like sliding a pan of hot coals under the car to warm it up enough to start it in subzero temperatures, 50 more years of trips to the village market with my Grampy.

My grandmother Peterson (Staples) died when I was 17 I think. She was wonderful. I remember that at her funeral my cousins sang her favorite hymns and a poem written by my Uncle Lloyd when he was 16 was read. I remember it was the biggest celebration of one’s life I had ever seen, it still is. She loved when we visited from New Hampshire. We typically made one or two trips to Canada per year. We stayed a week or maybe two and I cherish every moment of those visits. Her home-made food was the best I have ever eaten. I can’t write this without mentioning her doughnuts. My mouth waters as I write this.

My Uncle Carl Peterson who passed away on November 25th, 2008. He was a young, strong, wise, and brilliant 74 years old. If I can stand as straight, tall, proud, and happy as my Uncle Carl did, when I am 74 it will be an accomplishment. His silver white hair was wavy and shaped by wearing a baseball styled cap his whole life. His hair tapered away from his face perfectly as it pulled the ends of his smile to bigger than life proportions. He was the constant at the old homestead that everyone measured themselves against as he looked after the farm. I think everyone learned something from him and he was always learning more. When he died, my brother Pete was prompted to write these fitting lines about my Uncle Carl, “It’s inconceivable that my Uncle Carl has left this world. He embodied a type of greatness whose most blessed promise was that through eternity it would hold court on the couch in his living room with a beaming smile and the ringing soil voice with which we all would choose to narrate our lives. I dearly hope I never forget that voice…Without hyperbole or cliché I believe it is safe to say that a man like Carl Peterson will never again grace our paths…Perhaps it was time to take Uncle Carl home; the 21st century certainly did not deserve a man like this…I never heard my mother say anything bad about Uncle Carl. Never. Even in my early 20’s when I apparently thought a major point of my existence was to expose all men as frauds, my mom would not budge. The greatness of her oldest brother so overwhelmed the pettiness of her own son that my buffoonish temerity should be a lasting rebuke to all the little minds of youth…” Who of us wouldn’t have wanted 50 more years with any of these people? Pete I hope you don’t mind me using some of your words here.

I am not talking about cheating death, or suffering, or illness, or old age, or anything of the sort. I am talking about 50 more years added to life here on earth. What about the innocent children who never had the chance to grow up? What if they got the 50 years extra? That would have to be worth way more than $50 million or any amount of anything. Life. Every breath. Breath after breath. Thoughts accompany nearly every breath. Experience is gained like a running movie production of our lives. The moments add up, memories take shape, and life is lived. Again, there are thousands, millions of folks who deserved more time on earth. God has a plan for us all and maybe that doesn’t include 50 more years or even 50 more minutes of life. I wrote this out to show how valuable time is, a minute, an hour, a year, and so on. I don’t know how valuable $50 million is, but I do know that it wouldn’t have bought any more of the stuff I have been writing about. I would take the extra 50 years.

Sunday Series – Inside the first time

A few days ago I wrote a post called “The first time” and it was a short story about my first time seeing the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert. I have included that post here and I am also going to add to it. This bit will be part of my Sunday Series as well.

See, in December of 2000 when I first saw TSO in concert I was in the early stages of an internal battle that I hope I never see the likes of again. Maybe some where, some day, I will get into that further. Anyways, I drove to Albany, NY to see TSO. I couldn’t wait! I knew every word, nearly every note, of every song on the CD’s. So much so, that I was a bit skeptical of how each note, and how each word would sound live. Obviously, at that time, I didn’t know anything about their sound in live shows. Over the years, hearing many bands play live, sometimes the recording versions of songs were the best versions. I remember thinking that if they were even close to the recorded versions of their songs, this was going to be awesome.

I made my way into the venue. I looked around, taking everything in. I noticed a little bit of merchandise for sale, I noticed people dressed anywhere from a formal night out, to jeans and t-shirts, I noticed there were young couples, older couples, complete families, and rock star wannabe’s. I noticed a diversity in the audience that I don’t remember seeing anywhere else before. I noticed their was a tremendous sense of anticipation among the variety of people in attendance. I found my seat, right in the middle of the balcony. Not too far up, but high enough to see over any railings. My seat was dead center too, which I found, in later shows, is a fantastic place to see the symmetry of the TSO light show. I sat down, eager for the show to start. I remember the band presented a check to a charity before the show. They always do.

Finally the lights went dark. After the brief applause a dark auditorium always receives, a silence came over the crowd. Eerily silent. Anticipation was at an all time high throughout the crowd. Or at least it was with me. This moment in the dark was also a glaring look inward. For as calm and quiet as the balcony was at that moment, the internal war between my character and my reality raged on.

Then the show began. The narration. The deep voice telling the story. Just the way I had read it. The single light shining down from above. A word had not yet been sung and I already knew this was going to be the best show I had ever seen. The narrator, Bryan Hicks, spoke the words … “our story does begin” and with a snap of his fingers the show’s lights first came on. It was a dark curtain of white lights that lit up to look like the night-time sky. It was much simpler then but it served its purpose.

As TSO played song after song, I couldn’t believe how the sound was so much better than I ever imagined. I couldn’t get over the fact that they did play every single note, just as I knew them, but they took the sound to another level. The vocals were stunning! They sounded even better in that theater on a snowy night in Albany, NY, than I could have hoped for.

The emotion coursed through me like a raging river of truth. I recall sitting there in the balcony and literally shaking. I was enjoying the purest sounds of Christmas that I had ever heard. This performance somehow brought the countless, wonderful, Christmas memories of my childhood and the magnificence of this concert together. It was like a bond that had always been there, but I now was able to see it and feel it. I shook with fear. I shook with joy. I shook from the battle in my soul. I shook in disbelief of the perfection I was witnessing on the stage in front of me. Few times in my life had I ever felt such power.

How I ever held myself together through this time was a feat in itself. And I know it was God that pushed me, it was God that helped me keep it together, for it was God’s truths I was at war with. My character, my upbringing, the things I knew in my gut were right, the countless places I could have corrected my direction, these were the things I fought during this time. As if I were lost in the deepest, darkest forest while knowing a couple of difficult, pride relinquishing steps were all it would take to get back on track, and instead I talk myself into believing this isn’t so bad. I mean how lost can one get anyways? You have to get pretty lost to lose God. Thankfully the little voice in my conscience that represented God never went completely away. I tried to silence the voice over years of time, but fortunately God’s plan was more powerful than anything I could muster.

Back to the balcony and the most amazing show I had ever heard or seen. The music, the narration, the lights, the atmosphere in a small (compared to today’s arenas) theater, it all seemed to be happening in slow motion, but at the same time I couldn’t slow it down enough. I wanted to stop each moment and hold on to it for always. Just like when I was a kid sitting in the living room, the only light coming from the candles in the windows and the Christmas tree, with carols playing on the record player; I never wanted those moments to end. They were perfect moments and so was this show.

Even though I sat in the midst of this crowd, I felt as though I was the only one in attendance. I felt that this show was written for me and was to be delivered solely for my benefit. As the narration continued between the songs …”For there he saw a man alone; Though he was walking in a crowd; And though this man had rarely prayed; Tonight his head was bowed…” Come on! Really? Are those lines really in the show, or was that made up because you knew I was here? That’s how I felt. Another amazing thing was how long I resisted God even when I felt like I did that night in December 2000. It goes to show you that the human mind is a powerful thing. Thanks to God’s grace and that little voice that never was silenced, my powerful mind finally did get out-of-the-way … eventually.

So, don’t fight it. God has a plan for all of us. I talked about this a couple of days ago too, but it bears repeating. Most folks, even the ones who know better, roll their eyes when people mention God’s plan for this or that, or for them. Fortunately it’s not up to your or me, really. It’s God’s plan. What are you and I going to do about it? I mean who am I to plan in contradiction to God? I am not going to go all holier than thou here because I am not holier than though. I can tell you that it is a lot easier to plan in accordance with God than it is to battle Him. If you are not sure what His plan is for you, then ask Him. He may not give you a tangible answer then and there but it’s a start. Be present and participating in God’s plan. I try to remind myself of this all the time. I am human too, we all make mistakes. Pray. Listen. Pray some more. Submit yourself to His will. Pray for God’s will in your life. I bet there’s more things in life you and God both want for you than you might think. Ya, He’s got a plan for us all. It might be worth checking out.

Or just go on whatever way you think is best. Achieve all you can. Attain the things you think are most valuable. Pile up the stuff while you can. And while I may have less than a lot of people, but more than some, I feel like I experience more fulfilling moments every day than most people do in a week or month. No matter the inventory of things, no one can count the fulfillment in moments, nor can they be taken away. Do the right thing. But don’t do the thing that is right based on what you think is right, or what someone else would think is right, but because it’s the right thing to do in God’s eyes.

As the first hour, or so, of the show came to an end, I wanted to start it over and do it again to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. I mean there were times when I had closed my eyes while taking in the sweetest sounding Christmas guitar riffs I had ever heard. Other times while the narrator spoke of the angel flying over the earth, my mind had raced back to my childhood, for comparison sake, when the lights were right, the sounds were right, and my family was near, to see how that measured up to the moment I was experiencing with TSO. I fought back the tears as my body was a quaking battlefield of emotions and character against my ‘powerful’ mind and it’s lame brained attempts at self-indulgence.

Every year, as you know now, I see TSO play their show. I still swell with emotion every time. It’s so different now though. The shaking is gone and the battlefield is quiet. Thank God. But I still let my mind race back to my childhood living room and hide in those memories for a time while TSO plays those notes just as perfect as always. The words are the same and the meaning no less important, if anything, more important with each passing year. We are just five weeks from Christmas (sorry if you hadn’t put that together yet) and it’s my favorite time of the year. The Christmas message is just as important now as it was when it happened. Listen to the words, listen to the music, the Christmas hymns, listen to the songs of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and slow down enough to enjoy the meaning. It might be worth pointing out that the meaning actually does apply all year. I have tried it. Start with one day, one week, one month, and so on. Lose yourself in the meaning, let your own mind race back to the sweetest memories you have of the season, even if the best memory is that of the new approach you took today. Some history is worth repeating, and if it is, keep doing it. Right is right.

As for me, I hope I am never far from the emotions, the feelings, and the lessons I learned inside the first time.

The first time

Upon seeing the Winter 2011 Tour visit Manchester this year, I have spent a lot of time, maybe too much time, reflecting on my experiences with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I can’t help but return to the first time I saw them. It was only their 2nd tour at the time and I couldn’t wait to go see them live. I have copied a list of the 2000 Tour stops from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s website. You will notice the number of dates, and the size of the venues, has grown exponentially since 2000.

2000 Tour

  • Dec. 1st – WILKES BARRE, PA (Kilby Theater)
  • Dec. 2nd – WILKES BARRE, PA (Kilby Theater)
  • Dec. 2nd – KANSAS CITY, MO (Memorial Hall)
  • Dec. 3rd – MINNEAPOLIS, MN (North Rop)
  • Dec. 3rd – CLEVELAND, OH (Palace Theater Playhouse)
  • Dec. 4th – CLEVELAND, OH (Palace Theater Playhouse)
  • Dec. 4th – GREEN BAY, WI (Vets Memorial)
  • Dec. 5th – CLEVELAND, OH (Palace Theatre)
  • Dec. 5th – MILWAUKEE, WI (Riverside)
  • Dec. 6th – CLEVELAND, OH (Palace Theatre)
  • Dec. 7th – COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (Pike Peak)
  • Dec. 8th – DENVER, CO (Magness)
  • Dec. 8th – ALBANY, NY (Palace Theater)
  • Dec. 9th – HARRISBURG, PA (Zembo Mosque)
  • Dec. 10th – DAYTON, OH (Memorial Hall)
  • Dec. 11th – GRAND RAPIDS, MI (Devos Hall)
  • Dec. 12th – PORTLAND, OR (Schwitzer Concert Hall)
  • Dec. 12th – DETROIT, MI (The Opera House)
  • Dec. 13th – SEATTLE, WA (Paramount)
  • Dec. 13th – ST LOUIS, MO (Pagent Theater)
  • Dec. 15th – AKRON, OH (Civic Theater)
  • Dec. 16th – PHILADELPHIA, PA (Tower Theater)
  • Dec. 17th – PROVIDENCE, RI (Perf Arts Center)
  • Dec. 17th – PHOENIX, AZ (Webb Theatre)
  • Dec. 18th – NORFOLK, VA (Chrysler Hall)
  • Dec. 18th – EL PASO, TX (Convention Center Hall)
  • Dec. 19th – AKRON, OH (EJ Thomas Hall)
  • Dec. 19th – Ft WORTH, TX (Bronco Bowl)
  • Dec. 20th – HOUSTON, TX (Aerial Theater)
  • Dec. 21st – BOSTON, MA (Orpheum Theater)
  • Dec. 22nd – TAMPA, FL (Mahaffrey Theater)
  • Dec. 22nd – WASHINGTON, DC (Constitution Hall)
  • Dec. 23rd – NEW YORK, NY (Beacon Theatre)
  • Dec. 23rd – ATLANTA, GA (The Tabernacle)

I have selected the two dates I went to see them in my first of twelve years attending their shows. December 8th, 2000 will always be my first. My competitive side wishes I had known more about them in 1999 because I would be able to say I have seen them on every single Winter Tour. One has to start somewhere though, and I am glad I did. December 8th is also my mother’s birthday so this was a special day already.

I first heard Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 on WAAF, a Boston radio station. I immediately fell in love. In my life long pursuit of the best, well performed, Christmas songs, TSO’s signature song catapulted onto my list. I remember calling the station and requesting the song once I had heard it. Then it was a rush to the store to buy the CD’s. I listened. I shared. I listened some more. I read the stories. I read the lyrics. I fell in love with this crazy band I’d never seen, called the what? The Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Once in a while this happens. I will be writing a paragraph and a rhythm to the writing just kicks in. That just happened here in this post so I have replaced the next paragraph with a poem that emerged instead. I hope this will do justice to where I was as a person and the way I felt as I started my relationship with TSO.

 
Where did these guys come from and how did they know?
That I wasn’t in the right place, though I knew where to go
 
My path was missing something and I knew it was all wrong
When all of a sudden direction showed up in the form of a song
 
Nobody that I knew had played Christmas songs in this manner before
Wow! It was so beautiful. I had only an idea of what was in store
 
I couldn’t dismiss the shrill of those guitars, so sharp like a knife
Shredding all the familiar notes of the songs I’d loved my whole life
 
My emotions balanced on every note, each one brought me closer to peace
The artist held me in limbo; his fingers played with a master’s ease
 
Holding me there, waiting, for the note I knew was coming next
Without fail the note is played perfect, always better than I expect
 
The sounds are so timely, so crisp, so pure and unrefined
Etching new meaning to the words that always play in my mind
 
I feel these emotions; they’ve been building since I was a boy
It’s undeniable, overwhelming, it’s pure Christmas joy
 
As the tunes grew on me I started to focus on each word
Somehow I still managed to avoid all the truths I had heard
 
I took daily struggles and somehow turned them to years
I caused myself and others so many unnecessary tears
 
The music accompanied me everywhere I would go
And though I wandered all over, I never missed a show
 
God’s grace followed me though I made it a most difficult task
I always knew, but ignored, to get help I need only just ask
 
A few years were damaged and I hope not all was waste
Eventually I made my way from that dark and lonely place
 
I keep these memories close to me as tough as they are
It wouldn’t be healing if I didn’t make time to recognize the scar
 
And it wouldn’t be learning if I was to somehow forget
The lessons I have learned and I am not done yet
 
Though the words are familiar they still offer a welcome surprise
Every time I am lucky enough to see TSO live
 

I am not sure where that all came from but I am glad it came out the way it did. Maybe it’s more information than anyone needs to know, although it is a very real perspective to me. I know that no matter where I was, or what I was doing, I would still enjoy TSO and their music. It all has a much deeper meaning to me, knowing the path I have traveled since I saw them the first time.