About age 10, Patrick discovered music. His Dad came from a musically talented family and Patrick had spent hours listening to his Dad play the guitar. There was something magical about how music transcended all the problems and worries of his young world and carried him to a different place. It was almost spiritual. Joyfully he embraced this new discovery and decided that he, too, wanted to play music like his Dad and many of his relatives had done. At first his parents were supportive, believing that having some musical training would be good for him. Over time, Patrick became very serious about music. He was fairly talented himself and felt that playing music was what he was made to do. Gradually the other interests in his life started to fade into the background. He didn’t have to be told to practice, he was practicing all the time. It wasn’t until Patrick met some other boys his age and started a band that his parents started to worry. They began a subtle campaign of discouragement intended to keep this music fad in its proper place. As the band became successful in the local music scene, they worked hard to convince Patrick that his future would be better if he dropped this diversion and pursued a college education.
By this time, the in crowd at the church youth group had completely rejected Patrick. He wasn’t like them and they went out of their way to let him know he wasn’t accepted. There seemed to be no room in their world for someone different, so they just shut him out. He hated going to church and skipped out as often as he could. In quiet moments, he wondered if God could be more than just a big policeman in the sky, and he wanted to believe that with all his heart.
Patrick registered for classes at the local junior college, but dropped out during his first semester when the band got an opportunity to play some high profile gigs. His parents really freaked out when they found out about that, but he just focused on what was happening with the band. Patrick was quite literally living his dream. During a span of about two years he was in heaven and he believed it was just the start of his life and career as a musician. For a while, things were looking good, but alas, it was not meant to be.
Just a few years later, Patrick found himself back at square one in his career as a musician. The original band had broken up. It was no one’s fault, really, just a series of unfortunate events. Patrick tried hard to recapture the magic in other bands with other musicians, but nothing worked out. By this time, he was playing with a group of guys who were mainly interested in making money, rather than creating music. The joy of making music was replaced by a feeling of intense frustration. Selling out your dreams is a painful process.
Meanwhile, Patrick’s parents were still pressuring him to go back to school and get a real job. In defeat and resignation, he gave in and enrolled at the local university. Eventually Patrick finished school and went to work for a big high tech company. With some money in the bank for the first time, he set out in pursuit of the American Dream. Over time, he accumulated all the stuff he could think of that he had never had. It wasn’t enough. He restlessly moved from one romantic relationship to another looking for something he could neither find nor even define. He still played music from time to time but got no real joy from it. It was a reminder of something that he had once had but lost. In fact, his life had lost all purpose except to make money. He was angry most of the time, but couldn’t figure out why. He got drunk every weekend. In spite of his new found wealth, he felt lost and hopeless.
To be continued…