“What’s your favorite Rock and Roll song?”
This was how my pastor decided to open up the last service of 2017. Once a month, he insists that we get up from our comfortable seats, find somebody we do not know, introduce ourselves and learn something about them. I happened to be in the company of one our other pastors, and though I already know him, I thought it would be fun to find out what his answer would be. He’s a quiet man, very soft spoken and thoughtful. His messages are often reflective of ancient times, his official title is Spiritual Formation Pastor. He has Hebrew text tattooed on his wrist to remind himself of his place and his duty in this world. The man is deep.
He said he’d have a hard time coming up with one song, but he’d imagine it would be something by Boston. He loves a good Boston song.
Really? I’m dying. Boston? I love it. I just… I don’t know. It cracks me up to know this about him.
While I could tell you my favorite musician, my favorite American composer, and even a favored instrument, I’d fail to be able to tell you a favorite song. I was not near my husband at the time of this question, but I smiled because on a regular basis I’ll announce of the latest song on the radio – Oh! I love this song! It’s my favorite! – And I’ll do it of the next and the next and the next. He shakes his head at me and asks me if I understand the meaning of the word favorite. Loving a song is like loving a child. When it comes to you, you fall in love with it. No other will do. You fall deeply in love with all of its little quirks that make it unique and cannot imagine loving anything else more. Then the next one comes along, and you love it in the exact same way, for completely different reasons.
When we sat back in our seats, the pastor on stage goes on to tell us about a song once written that had the most ridiculous words. It came in a dream, and was written in a flurry so that it wouldn’t be forgotten by the end of the morning coffee. The man who wrote it had no idea what to do with it, but he wanted to make sure he wouldn’t forget the tune, so he filled in the notes with some pretty crazy lyrics. Place holders. Unimpressive lyrics about scrambled eggs.
He tucked it away, and moved on with his life. He knew the song was special. He knew he’d have to do something really wonderful with it, but he didn’t know what yet. He was just going to have to wait and see what shook out, because he really didn’t want to mess up the chance to make something amazing.
The reason our pastor was telling us about this song was because much like everyone else, he felt the heaviness that was 2017. Regardless of who you are, or where you fall in opinion, all of us can agree on one thing- 2017 kind of sucked.
We’ve had nothing short of a civil war on our hands for the last 347 days. Dining room tables, my own included, have become war zones. It was all of the sudden ok to call someone else’s political opinion into question. Religious rights were up for debate. Ethnicity all of the sudden became the card you had to check at the door. You can be a immigrant as long as you were the right kind. You know, the kind whose ancestors pillaged, raped, murdered, and stole from innocent people minding their own business on a very much already occupied land.
And don’t even get my started on social media. Folks, when we are the given the opportunity to be our most ugly, we do not fail to succeed. We were not only attacking with political prose and religious rants, these just seemed to be a gateway drug of the “nobody asked you” design.
I kid you not, I sat here one afternoon completely speechless after coming across one of the most hateful and terrible and mean posts I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t over politics, or religion, or equality. No, this post was an unwarranted attack on the quality of a gift. A gift. What made it worse was that I thought for sure, this person’s “friends” would gently remind them to choose kindness. That’s not what happened. Seems like the schoolyard was cheering on the bully.
Shame on all of you.
As I sat in my seat, listening to my pastor, his words echoed my thoughts. My story is no different than any of yours. We all agree, 2017, wasn’t our best.
So why is he talking about this song?
Well, because the lyrics sucked. There weren’t right at all. But that didn’t matter. The song writer knew he had something special, and he was just going to stay open to all the possibilities.
This past years has sucked. It wasn’t right, at all. But it doesn’t matter. We are capable of having something special. We can and should stay open to all possibilities.
Do not give up, especially when you know in your bones, that you have something very special.
And now I sit here thinking about this guy. He walked around with a tune in his pocket. He didn’t rush it. He didn’t push it. He didn’t give up on it. He had no particular due date in mind, and this did not stop him from working on it. From playing around with its imperfectness.
My pastor brought this to our attention to remind us not to give up on the possible goodness of the upcoming year. While his message was far broader in the spectrum, I think maybe, there was something a little more that I walked away with.
Something smaller, but no less important.
This time last year I talked about the goals of January becoming the expectations that strangled you in July. And true enough, by July of last year I had stopped thinking of what creativity I could produce in the next five months, and started thinking about all I hadn’t done in the last seven.
I think rather than giving myself goals of January that will inevitably be what weighs me down in July, I’m going to pull a page from this guy’s book. I’m going to take all of my little baby goals (and I do have them) and I am going to tuck them away safely. As the year goes by, if I happen to come across something that will aid me in my quest, great! If I don’t, that’s okay too.
I’m not going to rush it for the sake of a due date. I’m not going to push it for the sake of numbers. I’m going to remind myself, every day, that I want beautiful things from my life. And beautiful things are worth the wait.
I’ll have no particular due date in mind. Anything I can add along the way in this upcoming year will be only seen as being that much closer to everything falling into perfect harmony.
Nobody ever talks about how long it took Paul McCartney to get from Scrambled eggs, oh, my baby how I love your legs to Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.
Nobody cares how long it takes anyone to do anything, as long as you do it. As long as you tuck all your goals away in your pocket, and promise yourself that you won’t forget about them.
Happy New Year my darlings.
I wish you the very best that all your tomorrows may bring.