The Three Loves of Herman Schmitzer

January 19, 1973.

Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of my Grandfather’s death. Though he died several years before I was born, he is a man who continues to shape my life, as well as (I know) the lives of all my cousins. In a world where being remembered requires that we be the very best at something, score the most points in a game, make the most money in our field, come up with the newest and bestest fad diet, write the seven-book series that the world is waiting on with held breath (GRRM, this was for you…get writing), having the most “friends” on the f@cebook, etc., ad nauseum, there seems to be less and less legacy; more and more fame.

Legacy is something greater. Legacy changes the way people think, changes the way people behave. Even thirty years after his passing, Herman Schmitzer changes us.

When asked about his teaching career, he was quoted as saying, “The three loves of my life–and in this order–are my religion, my wife, Margaret, and music.”

Herman Schmitzer

I thought of this quote last Monday at our first rehearsal of Choral Society for the semester. We are singing a compilation of Lutheran choral works, which means that two of my own loves are melding into one: my Lutheran faith and music. If you don’t know already, I believe there is a strong connection between theology and music, so to have these two things coming together in a semester of song is really overwhelming for me–overwhelming in a good way.

I wish, more than anything, that he could be in the audience this April as we perform these pieces. He would, I imagine, take such delight in it. I know I will.

What’s on my heart

What’s on my heart?

What’s on my heart.

What’s on my heart. Hrm.

So many things. Since it’s after midnight, I’ll try to keep it brief.

  • Theology of Music. I really want to read this book by Jeremy Begbie. Really. How can I justify paying $21 for a book when my list of “to-reads” now exceeds the number of unmatched socks in my dresser? And how can I justify adding another book to the list when I have Wesley and Spurgeon still waiting on me? I need better habits about reading in general; I especially need better habits about reading books pertaining to Theology and Music (and even more, books about how those two things are related).
  • My job is going well. I’m facing new–but certainly not unwelcome–challenges. I think I’m growing.
  • My niece calls birds “butts.” I know that’s totally unimportant, but…it’s hilarious. Tweet! Tweet! Oh–it’s a butt!
  • My sister-in-law (she who shall remain both nameless and H-less) completed her degree in Criminal Justice this past weekend. It was such an honor to be at her graduation and see her receive that degree. She has worked so hard, and I am immensely proud of her. You know, there are those people who don’t seem to realize how big their obstacles are–they just run and jump. They give it all they have. That’s her. I so admire that tenacity in her.
  • My sister invited my mom and me to a Hymns Conference this summer. Uhm…a million times YES. I don’t know yet if I can get the time off of work or if I can even afford to go. It’s not super expensive–actually, it’s not expensive at all. It’s just a matter of figuring out whether I have the extra money. I need to have the extra money. Listen, folks, if I don’t invest in my obsession with hymns and theology…who will?
  • I need to get cracking on my Christmas project. ARG. Can you say “you’re in WAY over your head, Sar”??? Yeah. I am.
  • Grappling with the big issues facing our culture (don’t even want to acknowledge them for fear my blog will self-implode from everyone coming and telling me what to think). It just seems to me…we have to find better solutions. We have to dig deeper. We have to commit to honesty.
  • Finally resigned myself to the fact that I’m not going to marry or have children. Is it a hard truth? Sure. But…perhaps it’s better to accept a hard truth, than to allow yourself the fantasy of denial. I don’t know. The sooner I accept it, the sooner I can get on with doing whatever it is God wants me to do. I’m tired of wasting time. I’m tired of feeling defined by this one area (or lack thereof) of my life.
  • Still stuck on Chapter 5. Still struggling to write Kharana. She is tricky. I don’t like her. I don’t want her to behave the way I’m going to let her behave. I’m just not sure I can write it. Seriously considered axing her from page 1 and trying to write a story with no Kharana. Would it work? Absolutely not. We must have a Queen.
  • I miss Jenn. I need to talk with Jenn.

There you have it. There’s what’s on my heart. Now…I’m going to pry my contacts from my dry, weary eyes, curl up under my rainbow quilt (thank you, Sissstor), and read one chapter (one…only one) of Tozer before I go to sleep.



What Are You Doing?

The short answer is: I don’t really know. I’m sort of making it up as I go along.

But there are a few things I’m working on lately:

  • The Legend of Ae: I’m slowly (S-L-O-W-L-Y) working through Legend, rewriting, revising, cutting, cutting, cutting, replotting, renaming, cutting, cutting. What tiresome, wonderful work. I love writing, even when it induces migraines.
  • The Prophecies of Wicket Lake: I am sifting through this piece that I began last year for NaNo, trying to work out the actual storyline before I invest too much more time into it. The nice part is that much of the world-building is already done (as it takes place in the same world as Legend). I am seeking perspective on this, as I’m not sure how to accomplish what I want to accomplish with this story.
  • Hebrew Parallelism: I am going through the Psalms (again, yes) and dissecting them to really wrap my mind around the different forms of Hebrew Parallelism. I’m really learning a lot through this exercise, and I just want to remind you that “studying” Scripture does not undermine the ability of God to speak to you through Scripture. If anything, it bolsters my ability to rightly perceive God’s voice. I am really, really enjoying this process in addition to my regular daily reading.
  • Theology of Music: There are those words again. I’m not even sure I know what to say about those words, except that I am digging. My hands are filthy with this topic. I have no idea why God keeps bringing me back to this.
  • Let Mercy Lead: After cleaning and restringing two of the guitars, I spent an evening working out the chords for this song by Rich Mullins. I confess, I have really enjoyed playing it.
  • Operation CLEAN DESK: Seriously. My desk is perpetually a mess, even when I’ve just cleaned it. It helps me, every couple of weeks, to put everything back in its place, to touch every project I’ve worked on, to remember where I put a pen or the three-hole punch, to re-file, to shred what needs shredding, to figure out which journal I’m supposed to be writing in at any given moment, etc. Seriously. I love my desk. Thank you, Carolyn, Desk Gifter.
  • Letters: I have been in gross avoidance of letter-writing. It’s just a funk I go through. Sometimes I write several letters at a time, and sometimes I struggle to write one. But one of my Writing Goals for 2010 was to write a particular letter to a former classmate, Anita. I need to do it. I’m doing it. This week. Someone ask me on Friday if I’ve written to Anita.

So that’s what I’m doing. Writing, writing, studying, digging, playing guitar, cleaning my desk, and writing.

How about you? What are you doing?