Thursday, December 5, 2013

Melodius Lessons

Details create the big picture.
-Sanford Weill

Recently I found myself arguing over song lyrics- specifically if they could stand alone, or if, for the most part, the depended on the background chords, a great melody, and a singer with soul. And while the prideful lyricist in me wanted to prove that good lyrics could work independently, by the end of the conversation, I had to concede to the musician in me, that with a few exceptions, most words depend on their background. However, I was able to concisely prove that bad lyrics could ruin a whole song.

I had this same conversation about movie scripts not too long ago.

I am a writer, first and foremost. I like to believe that the pen, the tool known to be mightier than the sword, is mightier than anything else as well and can rise above all challenges and expectations. But the truth about good writing is that it lives in a bigger picture. It relies on a medium, and a voice, and even a reader or listener who can process and anticipate it's meanings. Even spelling out something for someone is not useful if that person cannot comprehend it- there is always something that writing relies on if it's going to reach others. Writing is part of a team, a small part of a bigger picture.

But make no mistake- writing is more than important in the grand scheme. It's essential. Think of how a bad piece of fruit spoils a bunch. It's the same concept as poor writing- a bad script can make a movie a very difficult thing to sell. If the story line and the dialogue is not realistic, everything has to work overtime to get past it. If a song has words that offend a listener, they make block it out for good, no matter how great the rest of the music. Sure, there are times when we can look past the bad writing and still get into the medium, but the truest greats have to be catchy on all levels.

And it's the same with people.

We don't always like to fit into a group, or to have to rely on others to make ourselves great. We want to be shining stars, standing alone against the world's sky of blackness. We hope that we alone are good and worthy of adoration without needing other people to talk us up or give us credibility or credence. And we don't want the others in our life to be the reason that people judge us- we want to be so incredible that no one cares about how we spend our time on a Saturday night. The media works in overdrive to try to perpetuate that this is the life of a celebrity, but it's simply not true- they always need sources to prove their point. People always need sources to be able to believe they know who we are.

It's an even bigger issue in the church. It's hard enough to be a strong hearted Christian in a secular world where our lives are often misunderstood and thought of as old fashioned. But the people who spread their own dislikes and difficulties under the religious paradigm make it almost impossible without introducing ourselves to the world as followers and not getting a million questions of why, or a heavy sigh, or a skeptical look. We want our own faith to stand out and speak so loud that it negates everything that other's have ever said on first meeting. But that's just not how it works.

We were created and designed from the very beginning to need other people and other things. Even the most introverted person, at one point or another, is going to need others to help them get to where they want to be. We rely on the help of our world to create ourselves, and while we may like to be soloists or hope to stand out above all others, we will always need other people. And the other people in our lives do define who we become.

I am constantly coming to terms with this. Deep down, I love the idea of being part of something bigger than myself. I love that our lives are shaped and formed by what happens to us. Knowledge becomes wisdom after experience. But there is still a very surface part of me that wishes I could stand alone. That all that happens to me could feel less intrusive. That I could rise above all the other people around me and be special. But even if I could do all of that, I would still not be truly independent. Because I would always be shaped and formed by the Creator, who made me to begin with.

I am the lyrics. I plan to be the clearest, most beautifully poetic lines I can possibly be. I don't want to ruin the song for anyone- I want to draw the listener in. But I need to be mindful of those around me and what kind of music they are making. At the end of the day, all that I surround myself with is going to make up the music that is my life. One day, I will close my eyes for the last time and it will play quietly over the movement of my soul.

I can't wait to hear it.

No comments:

Post a Comment