Saturday, April 4, 2009

"I love you. I need you to survive."

The Chicago Cultural Center was hosting its annual Creative Chicago Expo today, which is basically a one-day event filled with tips and advice for artists (the business side of things). I missed this last year and wanted to check it out this time around.

Here's the problem.....

I have a thing about being in large crowds. In the past I've had mild panic/anxiety attacks when put in social situations. Getting incredibly nervous, feeling nauseous and dizzy, heart beating quicker. I just can't seem to handle big groups of people.


I went inside and the place was already crowded! Crap!

I was determined to at least walk through and look around. The first floor mainly had people at tables giving out info about their organizations. I moved to the second floor thinking it'd be less busy. It was even more packed up there! Double crap!

I saw a sign that showed a list of free workshops that were being held there. I picked the one titled, "Marketing on a budget". Perfect. I don't make a lot at my current job and I could definitely learn some tricks to market my artwork better. So I headed up to the third floor. When I got there, the room was filled to capacity and people were already standing! Triple crap!

When faced with so many people I did what I normally do....I ran for it.

I went to higher ground on the fourth floor to see if any other workshops were going on. Nope. Only on the floors below. Feeling depressed and stupid that I came here only to NOT take part in any of the free events, I went to the highest level (the fifth floor Garland Room).

Here's a shot of the staircase leading to the Garland Room

For those of you who've never seen it, the Chicago Cultural Center is super beautiful on the inside. Very ornate. I started taking pictures with my camera. I should at least do that while I'm here.

And then I heard it. Singing.....

In one of the rooms on the fifth floor was a group performing some songs. I later found out it was the Chicago Children's Choir rehearsing. I heard about the CCC but never knew they performed in this building.

There was a small group watching them, mostly parents and other students. I kind of snuck in and sat in the back.

A shot of the choir perfoming. Sorry, the picture's blurred!

I was thoroughly impressed. These kids can sing! They had to be in there early teens but sang in harmony so well! I was able to hear at least three songs, all upbeat, energetic, and powerful.

One song in particular caught my attention. It was a gospel song and part of the refrain went, "I love you. I need you to survive."

I'll be damned if they weren't singing that to just me. At that moment, feeling really low and foolish, that's just what I needed to hear. A heavenly voice telling me, "I love you. I need you to survive."

It moved me and I got a bit teary-eyed.

I have to give props to the Chicago Children's Choir's instructor/conductor/artistic director, Josephine Lee. She handled her class beautifully. She was happy, open, enthusiastic, focused, and in her element doing what she loved. The children seemed to feed off that energy and it showed in their performance.

I wanted what she had and was so envious. I hope to be like that one day as an artist and as a person. Will I get there....who knows.

But I do know I'll be checking out the CCC perform live now that I've heard them practice. The day didn't go as planned but I knew I'd be just fine after that. Those lyrics will always stay with me.

"I love you. I need you to survive."


JUSTIN said...

What a happy accident! This is one of the reasons will I live in a big city; lots of surprises around every corner.

Carolina said...

Sí, ese fue Dios...

Dean Grey said...

Hey there, Justin!

I completely agree with you on this. The unexpected surprise turned the day around for me.



Estoy de acuerdo!


Thank you both!


Unknown said...

Hi Dean- I think you have a lot of talent and I really love your portrait of the little dog. Lots of artists sell dog and cat paintings ....maybe that would be a direction to head in.
I know what you mean about big crowds. It's not so bad for me if I have a friend along, but by myself it's harder.

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

My mother used to say "You can't see the hand of God moving you in the right direction..." when we would complain about something that didn't work out they way we wanted/expected it to. Looks like the "hand of God" pushed you to this event, then pushed you right upstairs to hear what you needed to hear! Good for you. A day well spent, if only for this!

Dean Grey said...

Deborah, thanks for the kind words and encouragement!



I agree with you 100%.

I'll always remember that day. Like I said in my post, the day didn't go as planned but I knew I'd be just fine after that.


Thank both of you, ladies!


naturgesetz said...

What a wonderful, grace-filled moment that was. Thanks for sharing it.

On March 30, I went to Confession, and the priest said something similar. After I had told him the sins I needed to confess, he said, "God doesn't want your good works. He wants you." He developed and explained the point. He mentioned a commonplace point of Lenten preachers: it is our sins that put Jesus on the cross. But the way he put it was very different. He said that my sins put Jesus on the cross and Jesus says it's okay. If the suffering and death of Jesus is what was necessary so that God could have you and me and everybody else, he was glad to do it. He loves us and needs us to survive.

Happy Easter.

Dean Grey said...

You're quite welcome, naturgesetz!

And thank you for sharing your insights with us!


artbyakiko said...

Hi Dean, I totally understand about crowded places. Can't believe I lived in Tokyo for seven years. I can never do that again. Living in California for many years, my aura seems to have expanded a LOT.

Thanks for checking out my paintings and leaving such wonderful comments! Your artworks are super! Will be back for more. :)

Dean Grey said...

Thanks for checking out my blog, artbyakiko!

I'm sure Tokyo and California are quite different.

Your artwork is some the best I've seen so having you stop by to take a look at my stuff means a lot!


Unknown said...

That staircase is gorgeous! It sounds like the choir's singing really lifted your spirits! That's sweet. I'll bet it was lovely.

Dean Grey said...

Hello TattingChic!

The interior of the Chicago Cultural Center is most definitely gorgeous. And that's just ONE of the ornate staircases in the building.

And yes, the choir's singing gave me some much needed clarity and hope at that moment.

Thanks for the comments!


Mary Sheehan Winn said...

beautiful post. The Staircase is fantastic. They don't make 'em like that anymore!

Dean Grey said...


I appreciate the kind words.

You're right. They don't make them like that anymore. The Chicago Cultural Center is a really beautiful and ornate building.



Anonymous said...

i know that song and sang it. it is a beautiful song. if you need to find it, i'll tell you the title. ;)

Dean Grey said...


You can sing too? Is there anything you can't do? (^_^)

I believe it's a gospel song, right?

Definitely a moving piece of music!


Tammy's Studio said...

I too have "issues" with crowds, and panic/anxiety. It makes like more of a challenge that I personally think it should be. You're experience touched me and I'll be doing something with that verse in the near future! Thank you for sharing.

Dean Grey said...


Thank YOU for taking the time to read my older blogposts!

I can't wait to see what you do with that verse!