Up to This Point
Since my last post, I’ve thought of many ideas1 but haven’t had the desire to compose. I set down writing for a while much like I did last Summer. My mind seems to sprout many new ideas near the end of Spring and into Summer though so I’ve been desiring to get back to writing for a while now. Still, I’ve noticed that my desire to write seems to fluctuate with the healthiness of my Spiritual Life.
Admittedly, my relationship with God has hit higher notes over the past year than it has in the last few months. The last month has been especially difficult. I’ve had a flood of new ideas but since my [Summer] days are usually spent listening to vulgar music or playing through Kingdom Hearts or Halo for the 117th time, I haven’t found the time to work away at a blogpost. I have been busy with losing a few of those quarantine pounds but haven’t had the inspiration to engage in any activities with my Father recently. …that is, until the last week or so!
In a conversation about a piece of classical music by Mozart, I was reminded that I really enjoy classical music. I heard a commercial that reminded me of a theme from a film (embedded to the left) and I noticed some psychological effects. With no luck in my efforts to find the piece from Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile on Amazon Music, I found that Amazon Music does in fact have another album that I’ve wanted to find on the music-streaming service for quite some time! “Project Destati: LIGHT” (embedded to right of the following paragraph) is an album from Kingdom Hearts that serves as a middle ground between my sinful adoration of video games and my productive appreciation for “piano melodies.”
Previously thought to be incorrect after 2019’s events, my Musical Influence post may have some credibility! Resisting my attraction to Electronic Dance Music didn’t work in the long run as it was just another part of myself I was trying to hide from the Lord. During my Summer 2019 wanderings, I decided to let God know that I enjoy such music and have been primarily listening to my “Rocking Out” playlist ever since. When I found and added “Project Destati: LIGHT/DARKNESS” to my “Classic Study” playlist, I started to listen to that more and noticed that classical/piano music has a Spiritually-productive effect strapped to it.
Rather than opposing and thereby restricting myself from my “Rocking Out” playlist, I can look to the Spiritually beneficial affects of my “Classic Study” playlist to decide which music I should primarily listen to. I thought my discovery of Project Destati‘s albums might increase my desire to return to video games but I’ve actually given consideration to selling my PlayStation 4.2 Now that I’m not as tempted to pick up a controller or misbehave on the internet, I can look to other activities like reading or even Scripture memorization!
Halo: Silent Storm [A Master Chief Story]
In My Summer Reading List, I said I would read Silent Storm after I finished the third Halo novel, First Strike. I’m a bit fuzzy on the timeline of this because that post was written on April 15th and, according to my Facebook newsfeed, I was on page 191 of the fourth Halo Novel, Ghosts of Onyx, three days later. I don’t think I’ve ever read that fast. Anyhow, I managed to finish Ghosts of Onyx somewhere near the end of May and one of my greatest fears in life is that I’ll never have enough people to discuss how epic the ending of that book was. Anyway, I started reading Silent Storm recently and wasn’t all that into it until the ninth chapter.
So, the book starts off by following the Spartan-II squad leader John-117 and Sergeant Avery Johnson, then switches to follow a group of insurrectionists who oppose the UNSC in chapter six and finally switches to a Fleetmaster of the UNSC’s primary target, the Covenant, in chapter nine. The book was interesting enough but it was mostly my admiration of the lore that kept me reading to chapter nine. I was slightly curious as to why the story of the Spartans’ mission against a Covenant frigate above Netherop was essential to a plot that focused on the disagreement between the UNSC and a group of insurrectionists who oppose the government. My ardency to read this book was very weak at first and was sustained only by my thirst for more Halo lore. I started in June but chapter nine is the chapter that really caught my attention!
Right at the start of the chapter, Denning does an amazing job at changing the attitude in just the way the story is written. The Covenant are a very devout collective in respects to their loyalty or faith. Previous books have identified that the most common race in their ranks, the Sangheili (right), are to be regarded as “near divine envoys of the prophets.”3 So then, it should come as no surprise that when painting a story from the perspective of a Sangheili fleet-master, the language used should sound somewhat poetic and Denning does an incredible job executing this.
It seemed a cruel way to set the unworthy on the Path of Oblivion, this rain of fire that devoured all it touched, that burned bone and boiled stone and turned dirt to glass. Yet so glorious was the bombardment, so magnificent the white lances blossoming upon the nomadic villages below, and so sublime the scarlet rings dilating across the smudges of green pasture, that Nizat ‘Kvarosee could not turn from the sight. He was Master of the Fleet of Inexorable Obedience, and this terrible beauty was his doing.Troy Denning, Halo: Silent Storm [A Master Chief Story] (Gallery Books, 2018), 123
Throughout the chapter, the Elite’s loyalty to a San’Shyuum (addressed as “Survey”) is tested as the prophet would express impatience and arrogance as ‘Kvarosee reviewed a holographic playback device alongside a “first blade” (executioner-class ranked Elite). I really enjoyed how this chapter let me see into the everyday lives of the Covenant. See, There are many times throughout the chapter where it’s clearly illustrated that both ‘Kvarosee and the first blade, Tel ‘Szatulai, are only respecting Survey out of reverence to “The Great Journey.”
There are many things I enjoyed about this chapter but I’ve already spent too long on this one aspect of my return to Salvation. It’s time to move on. I suppose it’s expected as this was the reason I began writing this post. I wanted to go on about my fascination with Denning’s implication that the Covenant are using a separate language while writing the chapter in English or the illustrated enviousness and disrespect both Elites express for the prophet. Still, it may be better and more productive in the long-term if I move on to my next adventure in becoming the person I want to be.4
Reviving my Spiritual Side
In that same conversation about classical music, I was subtly reminded that God would like to give me peace when I ask Him for it. I’ve known Halley since college and we’ve stayed in contact with each other over the years. I was telling her (through Facebook Messenger) that I’d heard a portion of the song in a commercial that was playing in the employee cafeteria before I started work. I spent the rest of that day irritated by constant negative thoughts concerning my perceived lack of personal growth. After giving a short synopsis on what the song meant in the original play, Halley calmed my thoughts by mentioning how God helped her to grow personally and suggested that I add my issue to my “regular correspondence with [God].”
It was then that I recognized that I hadn’t spoken to God in a while. I had once again fallen into a lifestyle that welcomed my sinful nature and likewise distanced me from my Heavenly Father. My “Inhibited” post expresses my concern that I may have slumped into this behavior over United States’ quarantine period in Spring 2020. I can go on about how my frustration with the segment from “Queen on the Night” was probably due to a conflict between my sinful and spiritual halves but with much consideration, I conclude that it’s more likely the frustration was instigated by none other than God Himself!
See, I wouldn’t have messaged Halley if I hadn’t been so flustered with the song to begin with. She wouldn’t have described the meaning of the song. I wouldn’t have gone looking for the original. I wouldn’t have remembered my love of classical music.5 I wouldn’t have started listening to my study playlist instead of my usual playlist. I wouldn’t have noticed the difference in attitude. If I hadn’t messaged Halley, I wouldn’t have been reminded of the life I want to lead or encouraged to revive it.
I began to read Halo: Silent Storm [A Master Chief Collection] and hesitantly but ambitiously restarted a prayer life in the hopes that I’d soon be encouraged to greater activities with my Savior. I started this blogpost with the intention to make it primarily about my fascination with the chapter but decided to change focus a day later when my Spiritual Life was almost fully reignited. This is why the section on the ninth chapter of the fictional novel comes before the section telling you about the blog’s focus. When I started praying regularly, I was prompted to the desire to engage in other activities like reading and writing as opposed to eating and browsing Facebook/YouTube.
As I started to pray more regularly, I also started my Bible Memorization6 again and got back to studying on Logos Bible Software. I began to memorize II Peter in early January and finished memorizing the first chapter in late April. Not too proud of that last part but my Spring 2020 update tells about how I was just a little Spiritually fatigued after The End of Myself (Part II). I started chapter two immediately afterward but decided I wanted to memorize something different after finding out chapter two speaks on false teachers which isn’t a large issue in my life. I didn’t memorize for a while after that. Starting last week, though, I resumed memorization of II Peter because “why not?” In short, I’m back to regularly memorizing II Peter and as for my studies on Logos, I have an exciting post planned to extrapolate the highlights of that study later!
A Cleaner, Healthier, More Productive Lifestyle
Y’know, I really enjoy all the things this way of life has to offer but at what cost? Reading has taken the place of video games. Logos Bible Software is used during the time I would normally spend on YouTube. Facebook is primarily used as a hub for social interaction with friends I don’t normally speak to. I can distract myself by reciting II Peter instead of browsing my Facebook newsfeed! My daily bike rides to and from work are finally paying off because my diet is much more organized. …but for all that, am I really happier with this lifestyle?
Over the past few days, I’ve noticed that episodes of depression are a lot more common and that fatigue or arrhythmia are no strangers to my health patterns. The classic-style music I listen to now does not get me jazzed up nearly as much as the electronic dance music used to. I’d imagine that it’s very possible that music could be effecting my diminished attitude but who knows what other habits might resurface if I start listening to EDM? My soda addiction? My gluttony? My irrational inclination to play video games? My unbecoming fixation on roaming the internet? I don’t mean to insinuate that I prefer a life of “dance music when I can’t dance” or wandering freely on the internet over the productivity of the last week or so but only to suggest that maybe I was more energetic before.
It’s actually more likely my diet is the cause as my physical health concerns warrant a resolve that is not merely emotional. I’d just like to blame it on the music I listen to mostly because it would let me continue the eating pattern (if you can call it that) that lets me lose weight quicker. It’s been two months since I returned from quarantine and I’m only down an average of thirteen pounds out of twenty! This is getting old. I want that weight gone. Now that I finally have a handle on my self-restraint, shouldn’t I try to use that to push away my gluttonous habits and soda addiction?
Besides, who’s to say that those eating habits won’t lead me back to video games or inappropriate music? I don’t want to go back! I finally have a hold of my Spiritual life and I’ll not risk losing it again. My body is just used to getting the caffeine and sugar as energy. It’ll adapt to the new eating pattern just like it did in high school. I can’t risk getting sucked back into a life where I eat too much and drink soda. I know that it’ll lead me to listen to more songs from my “I’m Rocking Out” playlist which will lead me to shuffle songs from that playlist and after that, BOOM! I’m back in my old lifestyle. I know, it’s happened that way before and it always gets harder to get back into the groove that I’m in right now!
I don’t mean to use these screenshots from Halo 2 Anniversary to intentionally make my conclusions about my behavior as influenced by music to appear antagonistic.7 I just used the images I did from these particular cutscenes so that the symbolism would line up. In this scene, for example, Tartarus, chieftain of the Jiralhanae (Brutes), prominently shouts “the brutes, not the elites, shall be the Prophet’s escort” to the Great Journey. The Great Journey to represent my Walk with God, the prophets to symbolize me or my judgement, the elites to represent my “I’m Rocking Out” playlist and the Brutes to represent my “Classic Study” playlist. I fail to see how a music choice that delivers me to a God-honoring lifestyle could be considered a bad thing. I do, however, recognize that prioritization of weight loss above personal health is the literal definition of anorexia. Hopefully, I can balance a way to remedy my eating habits or lack thereof alongside leading a healthy Spiritual life relatively soon.
1 These will hopefully be outlined in a “Summer/Autumn 2020” Update page very soon!
2 That is, greater consideration than I was already giving it; same goes for my Nintendo Switch.
3 William C. Dietz, Halo: The Flood, (Gallery Books, 2003), 35
4 Figuring out how exactly I should word this blogpost in detail, on top of being difficult by itself, was preventing me from continuing to read Chapter 10.
5 My discovery of “Project Destati: LIGHT” actually preceded my conversation with Halley but appreciation for that album alone was leading back to the path of destruction.
6 Reading the Bible regularly is a desire of mine but it’s just so thick, I have trouble setting aside so much commitment to study through a whole book of Bible on my own.
7 The Arbiter is actually the “B”-plot’s protagonist of this game and here I used him to represent a character that would attempt to defend the playlist mostly filled with electronic music that does not respect God or His doctrines that value the sanctity of sexual intercourse.