the song remains

I am at a sort-of crossroads now.

There was one thing I always wanted to do as a child – I wanted to sing. Of course, the voice I hear in my head is infinitely more beautiful than what I produce, but that doesn’t stop me from doing what I love… because I don’t do it for myself alone.

I don’t sing because it aligns me to a group of people I want to be with, although my listening choices might. And I most certainly don’t do it because I think I’m spectacularly good.

I sing because I see creation unfold as the melodies swirl forth.
I sing because my world take shape as the words I utter mould it’s existence.
I sing because it’s the only way of fully expressing my heart’s song.
I sing because I was first created with a song.

Over the past year, I found myself singing less, and as my silent moments ticked away and my song grew colder… I knew I had to return to it soon. But the lack of time negated both my desire and will. Which was why I’d been looking forward to doing it again, come July. However, three weeks ago, I was asked if I could put that desire on the back-burner again, to focus on my upcoming projects.

I couldn’t find it in myself to answer that request. Because I’m not sure how much longer I can last if I live through another’s song. I need to sing again. Sure, I can rebel against the request and do it anyway… but that means being unable to give my all to the craft.

Would I do it if it was sub-standard?

As an experiment, I started singing in the bedroom, in the bathroom, in the cab, along walkways and corridors, in the office, at the grocery store, in a cafe… and found such liberation in doing that simple deed. But I missed being with a group and singing with them. There’s something special when you sing in unity with others. It’s as if the differences in personalities, beliefs and character fade away. You are just one voice.

I don’t know if I can walk away from it again.

And if I do (because there’s no other way), I’m not sure how I’ll handle it.

*

When you reach the little house, the place your journey started, you will recognize it, although it will seem much smaller than you remember. Walk up the path, and through the garden gate you never saw before but once.

And then go home.
Or make a home.
And rest.

– Neil Gaiman

What’s written on my heart is plain to understand. I guess this is one time I’ll need to trust that the Author is the only One who can conclude this story. And as I’m faithful to what’s in my hands, the Author will be faithful to make what’s in my heart come to pass.

In the meantime, I’ll learn to call this new place home.

And rest.

*

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.

– Maya Angelou

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that one song

‘See that guy over there with the guitar? Well, he sings to us every day and night. Doesn’t matter what we’re doing – watching the television, doing work or having a meal… he just comes over and asks if he can sing.’ Darren shared during our latest visit.

He had been admitted to the mental hospital due to a breakdown that occurred after a series of late nights and stressful days but thankfully, was recovering well enough to be sarcastic.

‘You know what’s the worst bit?’ he continued.

‘What?’

‘He only knows one song. Country road, take me home… argh!’ Darren clutched his head in agony.

‘If you aren’t mental when you enter this place, you’ll be mental when you leave…’

*

‘I once worked beside the most amazing creative designer. I mean, he was one of the best!’ the Designer shared. ‘But every morning when he got in, the first thing he did was to turn on his music. And damn… it was always the same song! Day in, day out… it drove me mad.’

‘Didn’t you get him any other music?’ We were laughing hard into our cokes.

‘Doesn’t matter. He only wanted that one song. I think… it was the way he got into his creative zone. The greatest joke though, was that at the annual company dinner, he won the first prize! An iPod!’ the Designer said.

‘I wonder if all there was inside… was that one song?’ the Husband piped in.

*

I have that one song too.

It’s not an actual tune I carry around in my iPod. Neither is it something I choose to listen to.

But it’s a refrain, a repeated line that refuses to leave, one which haunts me with its sheer existence.

You’re not good enough. No one sees you. You can’t make it. They don’t like you. Who cares what you do? You failed again. You suck. Your work is just crap. Man… you’re the pits.’

And I can’t fight it when the tune begins in my head. I try to block it out by thinking about other things but hey, guess what? It doesn’t work. I try reading… same results. Like the Country-road singer or the creative designer… it’s insistent on singing its tune. And it wears me down.

Which was when my lightning quick mind yelled at me.

‘Shut it out!’

Oh right. I picked up the iPod, plugged my ears in and began listening to something unearthly.

And that’s when I understood the power of my choices.

And His music.

*

I wonder if anyone else has that one song?

a new world

Look back in silence, the cradle of your whole life. There in the distance, losing its greatest pride. Nothing is easy, nothing is sacred, why? Where did the bow break? It happened before your time. And there were people there, lovely as you’ve ever been. Tonight, you can start again. Laughing in the open air, have yourself another dream.

‘Mother, it’s cold here.’
‘Father, thy will be done.’
‘Thunder and lightning are crashing down. They got me on the run, direct me to the sun.’

Redemption keeps my covers clean tonight. We can start again.

– Brandon Flowers

*

‘What do you see, when you look at me?’ the girl asked Him. She wiped her tears with the sleeves of her shirt.

‘Who do you see when you look in the mirror?’ He asked her. She sighed. She knew the right answer but it didn’t help ease the frustrations building up inside. The truth was, she felt ugly and heavy. Pulling away slightly from Him, the anger began to creep in her veins. Didn’t He understand? Why wasn’t He helping her? What was with all the questions that He posed in reply to her questions? She just wanted plain answers.

Standing up, she walked to the edge of the cliff and looked out over the sea.

‘Can I fly? Or am I too weighed down now for my wings?’ her lips curled into a sneer. She tried to unfurl hers but they hadn’t been used for a long time, the joints sticky and unyielding to her mind’s command.

‘Do you remember how the worlds came into existence?’ He said.

‘Yes,’ she nodded, defiantly refusing to look at Him. ‘It began with a song. A song that You sang.’ She recited the words, echoing a distant memory of bed time tales and sunlit stories. ‘You sang the colours into place, split the waters from the land. You called each creature into existence and moulded the humans. We were the only ones you used Your hands to craft.’

‘You’re my child, and like her father… you have Me in you. What does that say about you?’

She stared out at the waters crashing on the rocks, her eyes unblinking against the winds. Silent.

‘You have forgotten the power of the song. You are a child of the Creator and yet, you have forgotten the strength and weight of your words,’ He continued. ‘The world you live in is a world you’ve created entirely by yourself. The waves you are watching with intense fury now are waves that merely reflect the state of your heart. They react to you.’

‘And me? What about me?’ She whirled around and kicked the ground. ‘Are you saying that I am a creation of my own doing? I thought You moulded me, breathed life into me! What am I? Tell me!’

‘You are life because I made you that way. Yes, you are right. I designed you with extreme care and love. But who you become… that is something that you create. That is the power a parent gives His child – the power to fashion a dream.’

Staring at her, He still saw the beauty, made more furiously gorgeous as she stood, the wind whipping her hair like tendrils of smoke all around. Her eyes burned with a deep amber glow and He loved her more still.

‘Can I fly?’ She asked again.

‘Who do you say you are?’ He asked her in return. He wanted to say more but no. This was her world and He refused to interfere in her rebirth.

She didn’t answer but began walking to the edge of the cliff and stood there for what seemed like ages. What was she doing? Every fibre in His being longed to know for she captivated Him. What rhythm was her heart beating now?

And then He saw it before He heard the first strains of her song.

*

For death and life are in the power of the tongue;

And they that love it shall it the fruit thereof.

– Proverbs 18:21