Archive for July, 2010

Quick Thought

July 15, 2010

The other day I was remembering the first time I heard the song “American Pie”.  I was 16.  I had been driving for a couple of months and it was summer break.  I almost always listened to rock stations on the radio while I was driving.  I can’t remember exactly where I was going but it was somewhere in Washington and I was just a few minutes away.  Then this song I, somehow, wasn’t familiar with came on.  It started a bit too slow which almost caused me to turn the station.  2  1/2 minutes later I pulled up to my destination but couldn’t bring myself to get out of the car.  I was completely enraptured.  I had no idea what the song was about, and I was just starting to pick up the words in the chorus so I could barely sing along, and I was really confused with the idea of “drinking whiskey and rye.”  But I couldn’t stop listening and I was actually saddened when the song finally ended 4 minutes later.

Jenn’s new job is as a music instructor at a center for adults with mental retardation.  The floor she works on is for those with severe-to-profound retardation.  Nearly all of them are nonverbal and the average IQ is close to that of a 3-year old, so teaching them a tune to hum or beating or moving something in rhythm is about all you can hope to really teach.  The best to hope for is that music will reach them in some way or open them up in a way that regular words or frustrated instructions cannot.  Recently they’ve been focussing on the role that piano has in different types of music.  This past week has been centered on piano’s role in lite rock.  So, Jenn took all of my Billy Joel and Elton John CDs to work with her and the classes have been spending some time each day listening to this music as a group.  People that have to be pulled out of their chairs to go anywhere have been getting up and dancing.  A man that just stares blankly at a wall has been grooving and groaning, looking like he’s being shown the meaning of life.  There has been laughing and singing and anticipation every day. 

No one sat these people down and explained to them that Billy Joel and Elton John are two of the greatest that modern music has to offer.  No one told them that it just wouldn’t be logical or socially acceptable to not enjoy these songs.  There was no peer pressure.  Yet, “Honky Cat” or “Crocodile Rock” comes on and they dance to it.  “New York State of Mind” or “Piano Man” comes on and they feeeel it.  I finished listening to “American Pie” that day back in 1999 and, even though the song was decades old, I felt like I was walking around with an amazing secret the rest of the night.  The truly great music is like this.  It sweeps us up into it and sort of takes us away.  It helps us create this brand new world in our imagination that we need to live in for as long as possible.  And, unless someone has a predetermined bias against it (they’ve decided to hate the genre or don’t like the band because their parents loved them), it always seems to be the same core songs that everyone can agree on–no matter age or upbringing.  There wasn’t a big meeting to determine these songs, followed by a press conference to let everyone know “these are the songs you must like and/or love”.  There wasn’t anything close to this.  It’s just the music.  If it reaches you, it speaks to you…and you fall in love.

I feel like Christ is like this.  My story (of coming to Him) is completely my story.  But I know there’s some bloke in China or England or Canada who has the same story.  And we didn’t read the same complementary Christian books, we didn’t have the same friends, we didn’t hear the same speakers or have the same parents.  But we share Jesus.  Every person that truly comes to Him feels like they’re coming home…feels like their heart is working for the first time…feels like this is where they should’ve been all along.  So many have the same words to describe their gratitude for His amazing gift.  So many weep the same tears when they describe what Jesus means to them.  So many feel the same awe when they first fall in love with Him…and then again and again and again.  Jesus is like this.  He sweeps us up and carries us away.  He awakens our hearts, souls, and minds, and feeds us truth we can’t deny.  He shows us love we’ve never felt or seen before and challenges us to show it back–to Him and the rest of His beloved.  He becomes Savior, Father, friend, lover…to everyone who lets Him.  Jesus is a beautiful song.  He is a brand new world that I need to live in the rest of my days.  I know I’m not the only one.  I love that I’m not the only one.  He is real.