You know those days. The days when going to work seems worse than anything else that could happen. It’s like: be run over — go to work? Number one please! Well…I also have those days. And since I work at a place where I deal mostly with Christians…it’s actually a little worse.
Let me explain.
You see, dealing with Christians is a constant reminder of my every flaw and sin because it is a constant reminder of the average Joe’s flaws and sins. Hypocrisy, greed, anger…things like that. Things that Jerry Bridges calls “Respectable Sins”. These “Respectable Sins” are why I dread work, and why my mood progressively dampens the longer the night goes.
But every now and then…something happens. A person walks in the store. A person I expect to be a nagger, or a sulker, or a meddler. Tonight, that happened. An older lady (late sixties early seventies) came in and asked for help. She wanted a book about raising trouble children for her son. I smiled politely and lead her to the family section where I left her to browse. Twenty or so minutes later, she wandered up with a nice little pile and proceeded to check out. I asked her the standard question: “Would you like to donate a five dollar Bible to a military service member tonight?”
Turns out…those words are magic.
Because once they’d left my lips…the older woman was gone. There was a young, twenty-something standing in front of me…and it was the sixties. “Yes. Yes I would.” “Okay! Would you like to send it to a service member or to the family of a service member?” A smile. The family. “They have just as hard a time.” I agreed heartily as a cousin and friend to military persons. “I was a military wife. During Vietnam.” It is impossible for anyone to understand through a blog, my grief laden curiosity with Vietnam. My interest peaked. I expressed fascination. “Actually, my husband left with the draft one week after I buried my first child.”
This night has flown by since that experience. Since I became a piece of history, through a reflected memory. The last thing that twenty-something sixty-something said to me was: “I should really write a book.”
Yes ma’am you should.
Hemingway will tell you.
It creeps up on you when you least expect it. It attacks at the most inopportune moment. For you.
Joplin will tell you.
You can fight it. But that just makes it worse. Like a bear attack.
Churchill will tell you.
They say you should lie still during a bear attack. If you fight back, it makes it worse. But…you can’t stand the idea of just laying there while a bear walks right up to.
I’ll tell ya’.
It’s 11:57 at night. I have to work from 2:00-9:30 tomorrow evening. So what am I doing awake right now? Oh, not much. Just working on three different songs at the same time. Guitar, string, iPad, midi keyboard I got today. (Ironic since I don’t play strings or piano.) I’m so tired. I’m so ready to be in my comfortable bed. And I’m very nervous about the look my dog is giving me since me awake=him awake. He’s going to chew up something I like. But the curse of the creative mind is also a blessing for the tortured soul. The song I’m closest to finishing out of the three is beautiful. The lyrics are really speaking to my heart where it is right now.
I take a look back and realize this must read very conceitedly. But let me explain a few things. I’m always afraid of sounding conceited…so let me explain a few things. First, I’m not telling you that I’m creative. I’m repeating something I’ve been told…well…repeatedly. And as a creative person (who loves Hemingway, Joplin, and Churchill) I know that it comes with it’s disadvantages. Working on a song at midnight is an example. As is the song I wrote in English class one day. Do you have any idea how hard it is to hum a melody loud enough to hear it but quiet enough to keep the professor for attacking you? Very. It’s very hard. Second: “The song I’m closest to finishing out of the three is beautiful.” Any normal person would read that and say, “Whoa. BIG HEAD!” But I know and believe with all my heart that I have next to NOTHING to do with my own song writing. The way I explain it is this:
I don’t so much write these songs. I just happened to be the only one in the room with a pen when God decided to share it with the world.
It’s a blessing and a curse. But I love it. I love being gifted with songs that touch my heart before ever leaving my bedroom. And then…to perform that song in front of a group and watch as it reaches out and plucks the strings of each heart-harp in the audience. To see the look on their face…the way God must’ve seen the look on my face when they are hit with the full truth of His word, through His music, and His child.
Mmmm. That’s a curse I can handle.