Saturday, November 5, 2011

What All Great Music Does

Life is never what we expect.

Curve balls are thrown. Your dad gets cancer. You don't end up with the career you always envisioned. Your almost 30 and still single. You feel pressured to achieve the unachievable - the unidentifiably unachievable.

This is what life is.

Life is messy. Life is full of disappointments. Life is imperfect. Broken. Difficult. Desperate.

But great music can help.

There is one thing that all great songs have in common: they fill us with a sense of longing for a perfect, eternal future. They remind us that a glorious future is possible. They even contain within them a glimmer of that reality, and for a few, brief moments, we can be there. In that moment. At peace.

Music helps me to continue living.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately: what does it mean to be human? I think it means exactly what I've already described about the human experience: you feel disappointment and long for unattainable fulfillment. Or is it unattainable?

Many of my friends call me spiritual. Few call me religious.

I'd say if ever there were a need to believe in God it would be because we humans know that this unquenchable longing can not be satisfied by what we do, have, or accomplish. History has shown us that our deepest human desires can't be fulfilled by our own achievement. Time and again people "at the top" are the hardest to fall. They seemingly have everything and yet, they lose it all - and eventually, die like the rest of us. Have your actions, relationships, or possessions brought you perfect fulfillment yet? I'm guessing not.

We have to believe God exists. Without Him, we are utterly without hope of having our longings fulfilled. We already know we can't make it happen ourselves.

And I'd say that if ever there were a reason to believe that God can actually do it - can actually placate my (and your!) frenzied hunger - its because when I listen to great music - in that oh so small, fleeting moment, that's exactly what actually happens. I feel redeemed.

God exists because an unquenchable longing exists in our hearts that can't be satisfied by human activity - and we have to believe that this longing can be satisfied by something out of this world. And God is in fact able to do it because he gives us pieces of that satiety through music.

Do I think there's more to the story? Oh yeah. By grace, I'm trying to learn more of it every day.

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