Archive for June, 2010

It is strange how we often talk about grace in our spiritual life and growth.  We get into theological debate over its meaning.  We even fought about it trying to articulate what we think is its best definition and in all these attempts we miss the entire point because grace is not a construct that we can think our way through.  When it happens we know.  It does something to us. It transforms us.  In this moment we do not even have to try to defend God or our theological position.  In this moment we know the Sacred because it touches us.  In retrospect I notice how I have been obsessed with grace and in the pursuit of what it can offer.  But once we are touched there’s no debate over its meaning.  Once we are touched by grace, we know.  I know.

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I find myself listening to more songs lately.  Not that I did not before.  Usually when I get into my car the radio is blasting contemporary R & B from Coast 103.5.  Not that I know all the new songs nor the singers.  I just happen to enjoy music.  But lately I have been paying more attention, listening to more songs, plugging the ear phone to my Blackberry as I go for my walk listening to Christina Aguilera and Sarah McLachlan.  There is something to music that connect us to our depth.

I remember having breakfast with a retired professor from Emory.  I asked him what he does now that he’s retired.  His response was, “spending more time playing piano.”  I continued my questions telling him that while I interviewed many people with chronic depression for some reason almost most of the interviewees found comfort through music.  His response was most enlightening. Music and rhythm have the capacity to express things that words are not able to.

Often we process our thoughts and emotion through words not realizing that words have limitation.  Words are not able to convey many dimensions of us.  And there are parts of us that transcend words, transcend vocabulary, transcend linear logic.  Not only do words have limitation, words are crafted with the context of logical description of our reality. They do operate on logic but life is paradoxical.  Life is the complex web of conflicting ideas and emotions.  And when one can’t find words to express, music and rhythm become that very channel of self expression.

I guess it must be because there are more feelings permeating through me that my being has to find more means for my soul.  And so music and lyrics and rhythms have become avenues for the expression of emotions beyond mere words could convey.

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I remember a friend telling me how he was so engrossed watching Beyonce’s “Listen” on Youtube that he did not hear what his wife was saying.  And she became mad at him for listening to Beyonce’s “Listen” without listening to her.  Life’s is funny.  I have made a career for myself out of listening.  Not that I’m all that great a listening but I try.  Perhaps there’s that possibility too that while we are intend on listening to others, we may have ignored our own feelings, we may have not paid attention to or listen to what is going on inside of us.  We may spend most of our times processing other’s feelings and remain clueless to our very own.  

I have to admit I do not quite know what it was like to be heard except of course when I visited my therapists.  People are good to me and they care and they do wonderful things.  But listening is a little different I think.  It does make a difference when people are curious about you, when they want to know you, when they pay attention to ‘things’ about you, when they ask questions about you.  It makes you pause and think that there might be something worthwhile about you enough…enough to evoke that curiosity.

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