It may have been a few years now since I last played in the orchestra, was featured in band solos, sang with the choir, or performed in musicals… yet, I keenly remember the moments in songs when the melody was lost, the tempo in shambles, the song falling to pieces, the director seemingly unable to keep the us together…
What do you do when you can’t find the melody?
In J.R.R Tolkien’s literary work, the Music of the Ainur was the agent of creation and the melody of life itself. Similarly, C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia a song sung by Aslan brings the existence of Narnia and life itself into creation. Music, creation and life itself intertwined. I find this deeply beautiful.
While we do not live in the fictional worlds of these literary masterminds, music is woven into the fabric of our lives and it seems so too our souls.
More than just a catchy tune you can’t get out of your head or a little ditty absent-mindedly whistled… music is a powerful, unifying, creative part of our existence.
But what about the earth-shattering moments when the melody comes to a screeching halt? Times when its as if the needle was abruptly pulled across the record and the music stopped as the vinyl was forever etched.
Somehow, defying all logic, life continues on even when the melody does not. But we’re left waiting in an unresolved chord… notes left hanging. Like the moment a comfortable stops mid progression we’re waiting for the peace that comes from the chord’s resolve bringing the song back to home. The cadence of life forever altered when the resolution never comes.
How do you move on when the next note never sounds?
How long do you wait in anticipation?
Others move along to a new melody… the tempo shifts…uncertain improvisation starts… it isn’t long before chaotic dissonance rises among the fray.
Our Western-tuned ears are accustomed to the harmony of consonance, peaceful sounds of companion notes that work cooperatively. The harsh clash of dissonance leaves us in the conflicting tension of discordant notes unleash upon our ears.
Dissonance found in the tension of notes which, to our ears, seemingly cannot exist at the same time. The sharp conflict as the drama rises in the song.
What do you do when you can’t find the melody?
We’re struggling, have been since the beginning in the garden of Eden, no doubt. Struggling since the first time the temptation to know, to control, to be like God seductively slithered from the serpent’s mouth.
Sometimes we internally struggle alone and sometimes all society suffers in the same angst of a lost melody, with the chord unresolved, with the pain of dissonance…
That seems a fitting description for this last year, don’t you think?
How are you holding up? Have you found ear plugs? Are you adding to the noise? Are you calmly holding onto the melody? Are you frantically playing through every familiar tune hoping that one sticks?
Ever wonder how the grand song of life will move forward? Are you frustrated at how others around you insist on playing so loudly? Is it possible that the whole world has gone tone deaf? Why are so many people packing up their instruments and leaving?
Does the conductor even care?
Yes! Yes, my friend… He does care!
Maybe these last few months… or closer to a year now… or maybe for what seems like almost a lifetime… you’ve been searching for the melody!
Are you weary from the noise?
Does sight-reading leave you trembling?
Is your heart quickening as the cue to your solo approaches?
Are you steadfastly playing on, waiting for the song to come back on beat?
The conductor cares my friend. He knows your situation… He knows exactly what is needed… He is still in control.
You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
No matter what storms rage, silence deafens, weakness overwhelms, isolation wearies, uncertainty threatens, or strength wains… The Lord will keep you. You are never alone.
What are your eyes fixed upon?
What are your ears tuned to?
What is your mind firmly focused upon?
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I know it can seem that those words are trite, insufficient to face the struggles. It is hard to be brave, to be focused, to be steadfast in the face of the winds and the waves that surround us… especially when the troubles are all we can see.
But we are never alone, we are not abandoned! The conductor might not be standing at the podium but He never left! He’s right there beside you as you tune your instrument, working to bring your tempo in line, giving you a moment to catch your breath, working right there with you to teach you the melody…
Reread Philippians 4, allow the truths of scripture to wash over you.
Can you hear it? Do you hear the melody rising from the chaos?
What does the song sound like from your place in the choir?