MUSIC WITH MEANING – UPDATE 2/27

Aloha Everyone!

Just wanted to give you a quick update on the MUSIC WITH MEANING project that i’ve been working on over the last couple of months!

With all of your support in buying my CD’s and Tipping me at my shows we’ve been able to pull together over $1,000 dollars of support for the Dreamland Refugee School in New Delhi, India.

There are children in India who are getting an education because of your support.  There are children in India, who are getting opportunities that no one in their families have gotten before now.  There are children in India, who are gaining the tools needed to change the direction of their lives and the lives of those around them.

Thank you for your help!  Please continue to pray for this project.  Things in India are getting worse day by day.  Please take the time to look for ways to support education for all in India, especially when there are those in India that are looking to take it away.

Just a quick update!

Blessings And Aloha To You All!

img_0103

 

 

 

The Refugee.

It was a snowy night in Seattle.

From what I’ve been told this isn’t a common way to start a story about Seattle, but it is certainly the way this one must begin.

It was a snowy night in Seattle. I was waiting for my airport shuttle standing on the snow covered sidewalk, preparing myself for a lovely Seattle experience the next day.

“This is going to pass by tomorrow,” I told myself, “Just in time for my adventures!”

My feet were starting to become numb from having direct contact with the slush on the ground.  There I stood with my guitar and backpack on the sidewalk in flip flops waiting for the shuttle.  As each minute passed I wondered if I would ever thaw out again.  I called the hotel several times hoping this would cause the shuttle to appear quicker, but alas it was not to be.

I was ready to be in my hotel room, in bed, asleep.  I had just spent the last week with my family on one of the hardest trips i’ve ever had to make, living in the memory of one of the greatest men i’d ever known, my grandfather.  I also spent most of the day in the airport listening to commentary on refugees, immigrants and the temporary travel ban that the current administration had put into place.  How its a good thing, or how its a bad thing, how this will change the world as we know it and other forms of positive and negative rhetoric.  I was over all the conversation before it even started.

While all this was running through my head the shuttle finally arrived.  Out steps a man with dark skin and an accent.  He comes around and opens the door for me, I hop in, and we are off towards the hotel.

“I am so sorry for the wait.  This is not normal here in Seattle and I am not used to driving in these conditions,” He said to me as he slowly made his way through the slush.

“Oh not a problem at all.  Seems like no one is really used to these conditions,” I said as I looked out the window at the faint tire marks across the unplowed roads.

“Its not something I’ve seen a lot of since I’ve been living here,” he said.

“Where are you from originally?” I asked.

“I came here from Somalia,” He said with pride in his voice, “but I’ve been here for 17 years.  I was running away from the Civil War.”

I knew about the Somalian Civil War from the news I heard growing up during the Clinton Administration and watching movies like Black Hawk Down.  Of course it has been in the news lately, as well, as the war continues to rage even after 17 years and close to 1 million lives lost.

He had left family behind in Somalia. He told me that his family back in Somalia is alright though, because he sends money home to them and they don’t have to worry too much about life. They avoid the war and have enough money to meet their basic needs.

In just a 10 minute shuttle ride he shared with me about how everyone in Africa has a small business and a gun. That the majority of the people don’t pay taxes, because they don’t have a government to collect it.

“There is very little law and order back home, so everyone sells what they have to offer by way of their trade and takes care of the rest with their gun.”

Some of the people he knows are connected with the Somali Pirates and come to America just to live like Americans do in the movies. They come here and blow their money only to realize that most people don’t live like they do in the movies or in Rap music.

He specifically pointed out the influence of Rap music and how most people he knows, who have money, use this as their goal in life, to live like what the rappers in America rap about.

As I sat in the back of the van listening to this mans story, of how he was able to make it out of the war in a foreign land and build a life for himself and for his family here in America, I just had to think about all that I had been hearing throughout the day.  Whatever airport news channel was on, it was all just hate for one side of the issue or the other.  As I said earlier, I was over all the chit chat before it even started.

I didn’t know if this man was a muslim or a christian, nor did i really care.  What I cared about in that moment was that this mans life was safe and he was working to create safety for others.  What I cared about was how he’d been able to make a life here in America for 17 years.  Away from mass genocide.  Away from the place where he lost family members because of religious feuds.  Away from what i’ve only seen in the movies.  I cared that he was alive.

I could only imagine what this man was thinking about what is happening in the country.

I leaned forward and said, “Well I may be 17 years late on this, but welcome to America and I’m glad you are safe.”

“Thank You,” He said.

Earlier I was praying to God that He would find a way to warm my feet as I stood on that snowy sidewalk in my flip flops, but He knew I needed something more. He warmed my heart with a man and his story.   A story of freedom from oppression. A story of a land of possibilities that opened its doors to someone who needed it.  This is the story of America.

I was shaken that night on my ride to my hotel.  I was reminded of a simple narrative and what it means to the world.  I pray that we individually open our doors and love like Jesus did.  Sacrificially.  Open Arms.  Forgiving one another.  Never shutting the door on possibility.  Never shutting the doors on those in need.

Amen.

syrian-refugees

Syrian Refugees in Damascus, Syria

I Cried. (We’re All In This Together)

Life is a journey.  You’ve heard it said many times.  This poem is a glimpse into my journey through the tales of my tears.

I Cried.

When I was young…

I cried when I was in pain
I cried when things didn’t go my way
I cried when I got carrots instead of Peas
I cried when my parents forced me to say please
I cried for me.

Then I got older…

I still cried when I was in pain
But also when my family felt the same
When my sister flipped and broke her neck
I cried and cried I’ll never forget
When my dad had a softball claim his 2 front teeth
I bawled as I watched him spit blood on the street
When my mom broke bones and was stuck in bed
Niagra falls poured down to the ground from my head

I cried for my Family.

And then I got older…

I cried when my uncle died of cancer
I cried when I ask God why and never heard an answer
I cried in my pillow when my great aunt died
When I couldn’t go to her funeral and celebrate her life.
I cried when I lost each girlfriend, to know I could no longer be there for them

I always look back to try and figure what I could do different if I could do it again.
I cried for my parents when our dogs died
Their whole world turned upside down over night.
I cried when someone I had known since birth
Gave into the lies others fed her about her worth

I cried when I lost something that could never be replaced.

And then I got older…

I cried for the world
I cried for all the hate I saw
I cried for the innocent
I cried for not knowing my roll to save them all
I cried for the ones who act on their hate
And the ones who have no control over their fate

I Cried For Injustice.

And then I got older…

 I started to cry when people would come together
When people would overcome to make it through the stormy weather
I cry when respect is shown
I cry when love’s true banner is flown
I cry when beauty is seen in nature
When people, despite their circumstances, make their lives better.
I cry when people are seen as the people they are becoming
Not as the people they were
I cry when peoples hard work pays off
I cry when good happens in the world.

Tears of sadness, tears of Joy.
They look the same.
The older I grew
The less selfish I became
Two eyes looking out
instead of rolling back in my head
Realizing that life was never meant to be private
But to be lived out together instead.

May each day we live
Cause our hearts to grow
To feel compassion for others
Looking to help each hurting soul.

We’re all in this together.

Open Your Eyes

 

How do I start this story?  How do I tell you what you already know?  What can I say to you that will help you see more clearly what is happening to your heart?

OPEN YOUR EYES. Open those spheres that give you away every day. The ones that speak volumes of all the fears you’ve accumulated after all these years, when not a single word is said.

You’re still so young, but your eyes tell a different story.  They say you’re almost done, wanting to give in to a life with a predictable script.  One rated NC-17 for its grey scenes to much for a young child to bear.   Letting the desires of others warp your soul, leaving scars on your heart that will keep you away from the best that is yet to come.

But when you think about the past it always brings you to tears.

The sound of silence as your innocence was taken.

When you couldn’t find the strength to make that two letter word fall from your lips to stop what was happening.

The sound of your heart shattering over and over on the tiles as he and he and he walked out of your life.

The pain of falling hard, but being a ghost to the one you wanted to notice you the most.

The feeling of warmth and safety as your hand takes his hand, fingers entwined like your bodies in the morning after Love is unchained.

The sound of laughter as the first good thing to walk into your life in years holds you close.  You dreamed of this moment, but never believed that dreams could come true.

His soft words cuddle your soul and you cease to hold back the love you’ve tried to hide all these years.

Then you hear the sound of tears falling into a lake at your feet.  You realize that you can’t let go of the he and he and he that walked out of your life over and over again.

The look of confusion on his face as you push Him away.

The sound of the door slamming on his face as he stands at the door of your heart pleading with you to not turn him away.  “Let me walk with you through this.  Let me Love you.”

But the sound of your heart beating in your chest drowns out his pleas.

“I have to do this alone,” You say.

Just like everything else you’ve done in your life.  You push away those that you care about, and those that care about you, in the time when you need them the most.

You are the only one that should define the path you take.

I pray that you will see what is happening in the present before the past defines how bright you will be in the days to come.

Music With Meaning – Dream Land School. New Delhi, India Pt. 1

Please Read To The Bottom For Your Chance To Help

img_0089

Early in the month of November I went with a group of people to India to work with a organization called Truth Seekers International.  We went to work the local people on Caste Reconciliation projects around the New Delhi Area of India, specifically with the lower castes and Dalits (Untouchables).

One of the projects that we were apart of was to go to a refugee school, that Truth Seekers is helping run on the outskirts of New Delhi, and work with the children and the teachers for a day.  I was able to lead the kids in music and sing some songs for them, as well as wash their feet.  It was a beautiful scene in such humble settings.

img_0103

Below is an excerpt from the Truth Seekers website about the school and what it is looking at accomplishing.

“In New Delhi some nomadic Muslims have pitched bamboo and tarp tents on an empty plot of dust.  There is no running water, electricity, bathrooms, grass, nor any trees. In June, daytime temperatures will reach 100F (40C), and later the monsoons flood the land. 

Truthseekers International meet with the leaders of this outcast community and learned that no one was literate nor was in school.  We pitched our own tent to start their first ever school.  With additional support, we’ve been able to rent a building that can withstand the monsoon rains.  The benefit of literacy is beginning manifest itself and many children make their way to Dream Land School everyday.

Dream Land School is just one of many schools that Truthseekers has supported and helped get started.  With your support we have the ability to start many more.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I had the privilege of talking to several diplomats during my trip and each one of them told me the same thing.

“The biggest thing that someone from outside the country of India can do for the Other Backward Castes of India is to support them through EDUCATION.”

After seeing this school and hearing about its lack of financial support I decided to do what I could to help keep this school going.  I decided that the money that is made from my shows, from tips and merchandise, will be donated to this school and the organization that helps run it.  

So if you see me playing music and you throw something in the tip jar just know where your money is going this holiday season.  It is going towards the future of young children and helping alter the once inevitable course of poverty and injustice in the caste system of India.

Would you be interested in supporting this school?  Please email me at contactleprofesseur@gmail.com or visit Truthseekers Intl. Dreamland for more information and a link to where you can donate directly.

Over the next couple of months I will be posting more about the school and the story behind its creation.

MUSIC WITH MEANING – DREAMLAND SCHOOL Pt. 2

Today I want to introduce you to the man behind DREAMLAND School in New Delhi, India,  that I am trying to help support with my music.  I first met Kamalakar Deshpande when I went to India to work with Truth Seekers International on Caste Reconciliation projects around the countries capital.  He was very friendly, but in a reserved, quiet way.  He took the group that I was with to see the school that he had started and we spent some time with the kids that are currently enrolled there.  I was blown away.  The school was in a very humble state, but the children and the teachers were in such high spirits.

IMG_6746.JPG

Working To Inspire The Next Generations

Later, when I was talking with friends of Kamalakar, I found out just how important education was to this man and to the people around him.  Several times the school has run out of money.  In order to save the school and to keep the dream of educating the refugees of New Delhi alive, Kamalakar has sold his own possessions.  And then after he sold all that he owns, he has gone as far as to take out loans to make sure that the children of the slums have the education they need to make their futures brighter.  He has sacrificed many of his own comforts to make his dream of education for all in India a reality.  I wanted to share with you his story in his own words so that you can understand a little bit better about why I am trying to support this school and the dream of one Indian man looking to change the lives of so many through education.

deshpande

Kamalakar Deshpande. Founder of KAM PUBLIC SCHOOL.

My name is Kamalakar Deshpande. I am born into an outcaste family. When I was 12 we my family went through a financial crisis, so they sent me to Christian Boarding school for my education. That was first time in my life I came to know about Jesus Christ. 

After this I was still searching for the purpose of my life. So I went to bible college and I completed a bachelors in Theology in 2004. I started working for the Rehab center. But I had no peace in my heart and was still searching for the Gods purpose in my life. I had heard of Rev. Sunil Sardar and his ministry, Truthseekers International, a lot. I heard that Rev. Sunil Sardar was in New Delhi and had an office there, so I went to visit him and he welcomed me to join his ministry. Since 2004 I have been working with him on the mission of caste reconciliation and the Kingdom of BaliRaja Jesus.

During that time I encountered the Nomadic people of India and God gave me concern for them. These Nomadic people are refugees in our own country. They don’t have social status and recognition. They just don’t exist. So, ultimately their children are cornered at the suburb slums and get involved in the crime and rag picking.

God showed me the need for the education in that community. These people captured my heart and I decided to start school for them. We started the school for Nomadic children in 2009 in a simple shed and we had 120 students. We barely could provide for them the needed supplies, but God was gracious enough to keep this school running against all odds.

After some time we’ve had to shift some children to Christian Boarding schools, after their elementary school, for further studies. Now we have 30 remaining students in our school. We have four untrained teachers to take care of them. Every day our school starts with the prayer and bible teaching. Children are being raised in the faith. But there are always needs to be fulfilled. So we Dreamland School request all of Christ follower to raise huge prayer support and of course the moral support. We are giving the oppourtunitiees to church and organizations to get involved in the upliftment of this marginalized group.

Prayer Points

Please pray for the School supplies, rent , teachers salaries, desk bench, renovation of the school and all the needed things God will provide through his divine intervention.

Thank you

Please contact us on mahabaliraja@gmail.com

A little bit more information about the school itself.

KAM PUBLIC SCHOOL was founded in the year 2009 by Kamalakar Despande, a man known as the educationalist of the poorest of the poor-the Gypsies of India, known as the Banjara, it is the denotified nomadic tribes of India.  In India today, over 7 crores, or 70 Million, of Banjara tribes are living in the most deplorable state, employing vagabond acrobatics, without any dwelling place, without employment and still worst without any education, hence till date Banjara tribes are without any voice, political status and basic rights in the modern society of India.

Kamalakar Despande alone with his own resources set up a school for the children of the Banjara tribes with a true vision and mission in Banjara Basti, Khubram Park, Prem Nagar-2, Nangloi, Dellhi-110041.

To bring education, in good quality English and native language to the Banjara tribes.

To distribute books, study materials, clothes, shoes and also provide nutrition meal and other literature to spread the message of a free and empowering quality good English education.

To raise up leaders from among the Banjara tribes and to bring their voice to the Government and other societies of India.

To establish good quality English schools and institution to train young women, men and children from underprivileged Banjara tribes and to use good quality English education.

To mobilize networks of Banjara tribes throughout India.

To organise open good quality English schools and institutions throughout India for Banjara tribes transformation with the message of truth.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

 Come to India and see what Kamalakar Despande is doing among your brothers and sisters who are seekers of the truth, children of one God.

 Educate yourself and your country about the injustice of caste discrimination that still exists on the basis of birth and is sanctioned by unholy upper castes and till date even Indian Government keeping quite.

 Pray for our forgotten brothers and sisters and their children.

 Ask how you can donate your resources to the cause of establishing kingdom of

truth, love, freedom, dignity, equality and equity that will restore peace to the nation of India through education.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

DREAMLAND PUBLIC SCHOOL

Banjara Basti, Khubram Park, Prem

Nagar-2, Nangloi, Dellhi-110041

Phone: 09810453779

Email: Kmldeshpande@yahoo.com

JOY TO THE WORLD

JOY TO THE WORLD

The whole world

Not just countries that believe in God

Not just America

Not Just to those who go to church

Not just those who claim to believe in Jesus. But the whole world.

Joy to the whole world

To the believer

To the unbeliever

To the religious

To the non religious

To the Christian

To the Muslim

To the Buddhist

To the Hindu

Joy To the Refugee

Joy to homeless

Joy to those with and without a tree

Joy to those with and without a roof over their heads

Joy to those with or without family to celebrate with

Joy To those who understand the Joy

Joy To those who haven’t understood the joy yet

There is so much more than just trees, songs, cookies and decorations that make this time of the year so joyful.  A savior was born. One that would rule over all the world in Love and Grace.  One that would call people from every tribe, tongue, and nation to come together and praise the Creator God together in peace and harmony.  What a joy that would be.  What a Joy that IS!

We separate ourselves by countries, denominations, color, and cultures.  Yet the one we claim our country was founded on was more about crossing those divides, building bridges to bring others together, and treating all people equally.  Loving His father with all His heart, soul and mind as well as those around Him as he would like to be treated. What happened to living after his example?

We are a people that live in fear. We are living like the disobedient children of God in the Old Testament.  God has brought us through so much and yet we are constantly asking God where He is in everything that is taking place.  We are scared of earthy problems, ISIS, economics, moral issues, so many things we worry about. But does God tell us to worry?  Does God tell us to judge?

Let me rephrase it this way.

Did God tell Jesus to worry about all the issues happening around Him?  Did God tell Jesus to judge those who didn’t claim to know Him?  Jesus had His mind set on the things of the Father.  When he spoke to correct it was out of Love.  God the father told Jesus to be about His business, not to get bogged down in politics, or be in fear of what man can do.  The perfect example of that is the cross.  “Not mine, but your will be done.”

The Girl On The Bench

sad-girl-pic-wall

 

She sat on the bench waiting.

Maybe she was waiting for the rental car bus to pick her up.  Maybe she was just waiting for the fire to reach her lips from the cigarette she held between her fingers. I wasn’t sure. But there she sat, letting the smoke fill her lungs.

I watched her from the other side of the street.  Her face told me she was far away.  Her mind was wandering up and down the sidewalk while she sat there on that cold bench raising the cigarette up to her mouth to inhale the stress in her life and breathe it out again.  Just trying to let go.

“Are you ok?,” I yelled across the street.

“Whats your definition of OK?”, She asked me, looking for some kind of reference point to base her current existence.

I walked across the street and sat down with this stranger.

I found out her name. I found out where she was from.  She shared with me her disappointment in Love and how foolish decisions had led her to this cold concrete airport bench.

She looked down the road towards the cars passing by.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re not the person I want to be talking to right now.”

I looked at her.  Tears streamed down her face creating a glimmering effect below her eyes. She had been waiting for another to meet her here.  Another person to listen to her pour out her heart and maybe even hold her in his arms.  She was waiting for the person to whom she gave her heart.  Here I was instead.

I listened as she poured out her heart. I listened to her disbelief, her desires, her uncertainty, and her pain.  I listened to how she blew her money on Tequila just so she could close her eyes and sleep through the heart break she was living in.  How she stayed an extra day in hopes that the man she cared for so deeply would finally back up his sweet talk with actions.  I listened to her tears fall down her cheeks and hit the ground when there were no words left to pour out.

I listened to her silence.

“Are you hungry?  We could get out of here and grab a bite to eat. My treat.”, I said.

“Yeah. I could probably eat something. Maybe nibble on some fries.”

“Curly fries or regular cut fries?”

“Curly Fries.  Curly Fries are the best.”

It was the first time I saw her smile all night.  The first time I saw her break out of her own head and think about the future in a hopeful, positive light.

We got in the car and headed off.

We got some fries and talked story about where to go from here.  She wanted to go back to the airport and sleep on the concrete bench for the night.  It was her way of punishing herself for the foolish decisions she felt she had made.  I offered her a place to stay.  A couch that was just as hard as the concrete bench that she would go back to but there was a pillow where she could rest her confused and tired mind.  I tried to tell her that punishing herself wouldn’t change the past and only keep her from moving past all of this.  At first she didn’t want to listen, but then after a while she agreed to stay at my place for the night.

We took the long way home and I blared Lord Huron’s “Ends of The Earth”.  She closed her eyes and soaked in the music as we made our way.

“To the ends of the earth would you follow me?
There’s a world that was meant for our eyes to see
To the ends of the earth would you follow me?
If you won’t I must say my goodbyes to thee”

We both slept well that night.  Maybe rest was all that was needed to get her head cleared a bit.  Just enough of a recharge to start putting one foot in front of the other and move forward in life.

We drove to the airport.

“I really just don’t have a purpose anymore.  I am losing hope in Love.”

I could see it in her eyes still, the emptiness that sleep hadn’t wiped away.  The longing to be cared for and cherished.

I told her about Love.  I told her where she could find it.  I told her that purpose was never meant to be found in another person, but in the One who gave us life itself.  I dropped her off and gave her a hug.

“Thank you for being Human,” she said as we walked toward the security checkpoint.

I looked at her.  She was smiling.

I wondered how much more she would be smiling if she was told the truth right from the beginning.  I wondered if she would ever be able to trust another man after believing so many lies and dealing with the consequences.  I was trying to understand how someone could live their lives believing there is still good in the world when they only experience the bad over and over again.

Our words matter.  What we put out into the world shapes the way we look at others and the way we look at ourselves.  It also shapes how others see the world.

I pray that the words I say and the way that I live is a positive reflection of how life can be lived, how people can be loved, and how life is bigger than the sum of our experiences.

Don’t make life more difficult for others because of your selfish desires.  Think about the effect of your words and actions before you make them a reality, because once its out there it is impossible to take back.

-JC

BASED ON ACTUAL EVENTS

SIDE NOTES

When’s the best time to look for purpose?   Right Now.

When all your answers have left you dry. All the love you thought would never leave you walks away without you ever knowing why.  Look to the heavens, look to the sky. Throw your hands in the air and ask Him why.

 

 

My Last Hope Has Walked Away.

 

Dark times have hit me.

In moments like this I usually curl up into myself, but now I am reaching out to you.

To you my brother, to you my sister, I am reaching out to YOU.

Please don’t push me away, don’t let my fear of being alone become a reality.

I need your help to get me by. I need you to be honest with me about what you see in my life.  Because although you don’t know all of what I feel, you can see when my feelings become real.  You see when everything that is built up is released onto others unaware of whats inside. I wonder if they even care whats in here…

Just give me a moment, a moment of your time, so I can pour me out before you so you can process through the grime.

All that is evil in me now lies before you and before God.

Listen to Him with your listening ear, and help me understand where I must go from here.

I know I don’t sound together and I don’t sound alright, but I’m somehow at peace, completely broken before you and in His sight.

Wait! Where are you going? Why are you walking away?

This is the moment where I need your presence to stay sane!

Don’t leave me behind completely exposed, because my “sins are to great” you say as you look down your nose.

I need you brother to help me stay sane. I need you sister to say its gunna be ok.

Now is not the time to leave me behind, when I so desperately need the arms of Jesus wrapped around me.

I just need someone to talk to, someone who really cares, not some pompous saint who looks down on me and stares.

With each footstep that your taking my life slowly is fading, but you don’t care because you can’t see.  You have your back turned on me.

I think I’ve seen a small glimpse and felt a little of the pain.

When God turned His back on Jesus as, there on the cross, the lamb was slain. When God left Him He was alone. To take on all evil, to bear every once of its pain.

That sounds like Hell to me.  Much worse than the hell I think I’m living in.  And yet I hurt right where I am, this hell where people don’t even care.  Where people don’t stare with kind eyes, but eyes full of despise.

I don’t see Jesus in them.

With no hands and feet to comfort me in times of need how can I push on?

God understand me, please don’t condemn me, but I just can’t take it anymore.

My last hope just walked away.

Forgiveness

FORGIVENESS

To Forgive is to sacrifice.

Sacrifice an apology from those you feel wronged you.

Sacrifice your perceived rights to revenge.

Sacrifice the higher plane of battle for a more humble, vulnerable position

Sacrifice a little bit, if not all, of your human self for His Holiness

Sacrifice your plans for His plans.

To forgive is to let go.

Let go of your desires.

Your desires to control something that was never yours to control.

True love is there to guide, but never control.

Because of Love, you sacrifice in the hope of being reconciled.

There is no such thing as starting over, there is only starting from now.

So sacrifice your rights to the past, forgive those who need it, and press on towards the future ahead.

Even if that means forgiving yourself.2012-08-05 10.42.10