While watching the Grammys last night it suddenly dawned on me that I barely knew any of the artists. It seemed that many friends around my age were coming to the same conclusion. So, I had to ask myself, when did we stop listening to the music? And, as I pondered that question, it seemed to take on a larger proportion. Why did we stop listening to the music?
Music has been described as one of the purest artistic mediums least subject to corruption. Music is often associated with the good times in our lives. Even as you read this you can probably think back to certain songs, that the moment you hear them again, summon a flood of pleasant memories to your mind. We play music at parties and at social gatherings. Movies and TV shows use music to illustrate and cultivate emotion. But, there’s one thing that music seems especially attached to and that is youth. I can remember as a young adult wondering how my parents could survive without music.Yet here am I in middle age living on a music diet of just barely. Why did we stop listening to the music?
Young people have a zest for life and an enthusiasm that hasn’t yet been dampened by the world. In our youth we dream beautiful dreams of the future; living as we please; doing the things that excite us. But life and responsibility and pressure start to have their way with us and before long we don’t have time for music anymore. In fact, if we are honest, we don’t have time for anything meaningful anymore. Go, go, go, night and day; ever rushing to this and from that, with no time for reflection and art. Music becomes a frivolity for people who don’t have anything else to do. Yet, music is a metaphor for life. When it’s playing we are growing and flourishing. When it stops maybe we have as well. Getting old isn’t measured by the number of years or that aged image staring back from the mirror. Growing old is something that happens to our hearts when we become convinced that our dreams are no longer a reality and start settling for ‘okay’ and ‘pretty good.’ Most of us have some treasured items that are “old” but we tend to get the most excitement from the things that are “new.” Why did we stop listening to the music? Because we got old…
If you think back, those of you who stopped listening to the music, there was a time when you refused to tolerate boredom and routine. When the tediousness of life set in, it was an emergency that needed to be fixed. You pressed for a new adventure and took immediate action to escape. Fast forward thirty years and you found yourself accepting your condition as “just how life is” and like an animal in the zoo, lowered your energy level to match your surroundings. You traded adventure for security (or so-called security) and decided that blasé was synonymous with being responsible. You can’t take that trip or pursue that profession because it is just too risky. I mean what if you don’t have the money you need or worse, fail? Yet, you didn’t think that way when you were younger. If you came up short you would figure it out and figure it out you did. The thrill of the challenge seemed to be far better than the comfort of the boredom. Why did we stop listening to the music? Because we became boring.
How many of you are working at a job and maybe even hold a high-ranking position, but are bored to death? How many of you are in a relationship that has long since lost its spark? How many of you still feel the flicker of a one time flame for some pursuit that you have buried under the guise of the “safe” route? How many? Why did we stop listening to the music? Because we became so safe.
Life, at least the life God intended, was not supposed to be “old” or “boring” or “safe.” The word for life in the Bible literally means life in all of its multifarious variety and full manifestation. God is a God of infinite variety. As such, we all have passions and pursuits that turn us on. To think that the passion of living should be about dead upon entering middle age is just plain crazy talk. Growing and flourishing aren’t terms reserved for the young. The trouble isn’t with God or with life. The trouble is in our minds and the things we have accepted as true. We only stop learning and growing when we stop learning and growing… The music that we surrendered is still there waiting to be turned on again. All we have to do is turn it on. Make the time to listen to the music again…
It really doesn’t matter how old or young you are when you read this. What matters is that you refuse to surrender the things you hold most sacred! You do have the time you need to start living again. Your heart hasn’t molded over just yet. Instead you simply stopped paying attention and settled for a lesser life. Don’t settle for a lesser life!
You might need a little help to get started in breaking the chains of mediocrity and for that I would highly recommend talking to God. But, I can save you a little time and tell you that it is most likely based on fear. Fear is the number one killer of hopes and dreams and if your dreams are almost dead, you know what is to blame.
I don’t know about you but I’m going to start listening to the music again, not so I can recognize an artist at the Grammys, but rather so I can recognize life again. Why you stopped listening to the music isn’t the real issue here, but instead when will you start listening to the music again?
Just some melodic, good thoughts…