Greg Murat (mur-rah)
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Journal February 2004 Journal Archive Flash Poem Archive
I got to talk to my sister Maria twice in two days. Our family is mostly scattered about the land. We have not traditionally been ones to make a lot of contact. It was so good to hear her voice. I realized she is going through many of the same things and facing the same kinds of challenges. Life is full of up and downs. I am so happy that the people who cared for Frank are not being taken by the emotions that plague so many people when a loved one dies. The relatives who didn't help and didn't care are the ones who swoop in for the spoils when the rest of us just wish we had our loved one here. I want to go back to Florida for a visit. Time flies and our days run into weeks and months and years. I would like to take a drive with Uncle John. I would like to sit and talk to Maria. I would like to walk on the beach with Andie. This is the year to do short little trips because I have finally learned: they are much better than no trip at all.
We are back from Arizona and a whirlwind of adventure. We stayed with Noel & Lois at the Arizona Sunset RV Park in the middle of Clint Eastwood country. We got to see the outback of Arizona accompanied by lots of very good hearted friends. We were treated with lots of hospitality and I was able to do a little concert prior to the big card bingo games. I believe we are due for a change in luck as we have had some unfortunate weather on nearly every holiday we have taken. It was cold and rainy and we are among the few people who have visited Arizona and not seen a sunset. Oh well, next time. We had a fabulous last few hours visiting Doug and Carrie and tasting the last heaven's nectar here on earth, Doug's beer. He has perfected brewing in a manner that could put everyone else out of business if he were in business. Andie even liked it. Yea Doug. We plan on another visit soon to spend some time with them and get to see a bit more of what looks like a lovely state.
My Uncle Frank's ashes will be placed near an old fishing spot he and his brothers used to frequent as young boys. God bless you Frank.
My Uncle passed away yesterday around 3:30. Rest in peace, you are ever in our hearts.
The note from my father follows, I love my dad.
Uncle Frank passed from this world to the" Real World" at 330 this
afternoon with myself, Maria and Uncle John's son Tony present.. They
removed the ventilator around 1:30 and Frank went to be with Jesus
at 3:30. At first his breathing was labored but gradually it became
smoother and smoother. About 45 minutes or an hour before he left us,
his eyes opened wide as if he was staring at something on the ceiling
but I knew that he was seeing the angels coming to bear him up to the
bosom of Jesus.
I sang a few songs, read some scripture and just talked to him about the
goodness of God.
He continued to stare at that amazing sight the Lord had given him to
see and suddenly with no struggle or heavy breath he was gone.
We weep for him but we praise God that he finally surrendered to Jesus a
few weeks ago and we rejoice that he left us so peacefully.
February 19th I am reminded again today of the brevity of life. My father called to tell me his brother, Frank, is not going to make it. He will be off to the next great adventure, as Peter Pan referred to death. He took the 11th hour turn to Jesus and there is comfort in that knowledge. Still I have all this grief in my heart. It seems to be attached to a string of other grief and an ocean of uncried tears. Frank was a friend to me in the little time we spent together. I remember some advice he gave me when I was growing up. "Don't look for snakes, if you do, you will find them." That was good advice although when someone tells you "Don't look." What do you do? You look.
The other thing I remember didn't pan out over the years. "Everything comes to those who wait." I have found that old age comes to those who wait. I think between the lines was written: If you work like everything depends on what you do and you pray like everything is up to God, and you keep your eyes wide open, and finally if you have a clear picture in your mind of what it is you are awaiting, it may come. Or, It may not. The only thing of which I am certain is that the end will come to each of us.
I remember great stories Frank used to tell me about his life. He is very whimsical and would do things like jump in his car and drive to Florida from Maryland to pick oranges and turn around and drive back the same day. He had some great stories about his life as a single musician and his misguided escapades. His bachelor lifestyle left him quite alone in the end, except for his brothers. Dad has been down there taking care of him and I have so much love and respect him for his good heart.
When I returned from Viet Nam I hitchhiked up to see Frank in Maryland and I asked him if he was happy. He said, "Happiness is not my thing Man." That is so Mur-rah. I have always felt a heart connection with Frank since I have struggled with many of the same demons. My heart is with him today, as I wish I could be. I love you Man.
February 18th The poetry of life is the up and down of it all. The dance of personalities in relationships is like the shifting of sand in the wind. Striving for closeness to God is like a game of peek-a-boo: a contest between faith and doubt, between hope and despair, between health and illness, between clarity and confusion. It is a story whose outcome will probably look quite predictable in retrospect at the end of it all, but at present seems clouded and obscure. What do we do with the time we have? Recently I was asked by a well educated person in the healing arts,"Don't you think most people throw their lives away?" I thought to myself, "Now there is a cheery fellow." Perhaps we might feel that way if we are in jobs we don't like, or in harsh and loveless relationships or are torn and tangled by the past that we cannot change. There is a French saying, "Don't do what you love, love what you do." There is some truth in that I think. Our perspective on work can greatly affect what is left at the end of the day for the rest of life. So much stress is a direct result of a point of view. Calmness can remain amidst chaos and in the end can overcome it. I have to believe that because I have seen the results of being swept away by an emotional response to a stressful situation. The outcome is rarely positive. Cares are the weight of the world on one's shoulders and they are not tangible. Ultimately, those who do not feel that burden are going about life much the same as the rest of us but with more spring in their step and backs much less bent. They are happy to pass the bulk of the burden to God and are able to see the light at the end of the tunnel when they walk in the darkness. They are able to look outside themselves and are much more able to give to others with the energy they save from letting go and trusting God. I want that. Let the dance begin.
February 16th Life goes on. I think, as I scramble to take some time to jot a few words, of the many people I know who are struggling with hardships in life. We can always find someone who has it better or worse than we do. Each of our struggles are our own. It goes better with God. Convictions of the heart have been on my mind as I think back on the mountains and valleys of my own life. I have so many reasons to be thankful and so much cause for humility. I think too much reflection on the past robs us of the joy in the present. My heart goes out to the big human family and I know I am but a small part. Music is my contribution in an effort to bring some light into the lives of those who listen. I am thankful to be able to listen to those who are troubled and for those who take the time to listen when I am troubled. Bless all wounded hearts with healing. Bless this world with peace and prosperity and love for all of us. Bless our ears with joyful songs.
Lots of our friends and family are going through hard times at the moment: hospitals, divorces, bankruptcies. Our troubles pale when compared to what soldiers are going through in the Middle East. I fight with the blues when I think of the experiences of Viet Nam and pray for soldiers overseas in harm's way. War is the face of evil. More and more ways to stop the flow of life are invented all the time. I wish that we could have peace and love in our hearts, one for another. There is evil and there is good. I think at the end of this life's road what we do in kindness will be the wings on which we fly. I think the love we carry will also go with us in the end. I pray for those struggling with themselves. A critical mind is a clear and present danger. There is no abuse more subtle and destructive than that which we inflict upon ourselves. Depression drifts in like morning fog and can veil the coming sun from view. All this may or may not be true. If happiness is a state, I want to move there.
Another week begins and I feel prepared. We spent the evening in Bellingham playing at the evening Vesper Service. It is such a spirit filled evening. Candle light music of worship and reflection and a time to remember and give thanks for how blessed we are in our day to day lives. It was a rich day spiritually and full of worldly cares as well. The cares dimmed in light of the big picture. Paul was explaining that the evening service in ancient times was considered the beginning of the day. It was considered a time of meditation and preparation prior to resting in the safe care of our Heavenly Father. I had a picture of being tucked in safe and snug and warm. The time when we sleep is a time when we have to let it all go and let God watch over us. The rest of the time we strive for or think that we are in control. It is so much better to trust in our Higher Power to take of our needs and put less stress on ourselves while we go about our business.
We also were happy to hear from Pastor Eric that the four fatal flaws that will bring down 90% of relationships are not a part of our marriage. They are Defensiveness, Criticism, Contempt, and Withdrawal. They are however present in our household and in line with boundary setting they must go away now. We have really come to the end our rope on letting the house slip out of harmony and into chaos. We come from a place of Spirit and Love and that is what we need to permeate our dwelling place. If the heart is pure music will freely flow. Some people think they are the center of the universe and the rest of us are here simply for their use and convenience. That attitude can make for a sad and lonely existence. It can also leave you standing alone on as island in a sea of people with nothing but burnt remains of bridges before you. So Let Go and Let God as the saying goes. I am thankful for the blessings that are mine and the challenges that come my way to help build my character and give more substance to my music.
February 5-2004 Time. Too little, too much. It seems like it is always a race. The pace is quicker each day. The scramble to get things done more challenging. We are learning to take time out. I like that we have begun walking together. It is quiet and a good time to talk and forget about time. My mind is like a multi-track recorder playing layers of thoughts all at once. Sometimes I just sit back and let it go. Music, recording, family, work, love, faith, the past, the present, the future, reality, fantasy, life, death, hopes, dreams, friends, regrets, to do lists. It is like a run away wagon. Whoa boys, slow down so I can lasso a thought and turn it into some kind of action. The roles we play in life are sometimes hard to maintain and still remember who we are on the inside. Some hurts run deep and life long. Thank God for music and and the ability to write through the pain when it happens. What was it was like to be filled with hope and wonder? Learning how to relate with the grown youth in our home on an adult level with mutual respect for each other as people, not father-son, mother-daughter, sister-brother is a good thing. As Bruce Almighty would say, It's all good! It's good! I just need get the thoughts racing by to sync up and play one at a time, but if I did I would probably get bored real fast. I have to run, so little to do and so much time. Oops, strike that, reverse it.
February 2,2004 All the wonders of life continue to unfold every day. I listen to the sounds of our household and count my many blessings. I see Andie always trying to make it a little better and brighter. We have purple walls in our room now. I love the Food Network and Remodeling Shows because Andie translates them into taste delights and home improvements. Watching Liz grow into a beautiful young woman with so much personality and character is something I am grateful to experience. Little kindnesses mean so much as well. Rhonna brought Andie flowers this weekend and offered to do a water run. That is always a chore because we haul our drinking water. Josh sat up Saturday night and recorded 60 minutes of guitar improvisations on the mini-disc recorder. He has some ideas that are so fresh and free. I love his sense of humor. Sarah has taken to revisiting the piano and is working on classical pieces by masters like Chopin. She is so disciplined in her approach to music and so gifted. Chani is toughing it out at college and working lots of hours and is practicing sobriety. Yea! Freedom is out on the road at the moment spreading the love through his powerful music. I am needing some focus and a plan myself. We are so busy with projects and concerns of our family that we (Andie & I) don't seem to have a lot left over. Hope to have a few days off this month to visit her dad in Arizona. February is so full with Andie's and Josh's birthdays and Valentine's day. Buckle up and here we go
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Greg Murat (mur-rah)