Tuning In

It's been a while since I've used the random setting on my mp3 player for bloggy inspiration through a writing exercise I call "tuning in."  Long time readers may remember that I started doing this during my religious formation as a way to work through some of the unbloggables - those thoughts there under the surface or deep underneath that don't quite form themselves into easily consumable or bloggable thoughts.

Here's how it works:  Hit random on your mp3 payer and see what songs (and possibly message) come up.  As I learned in my theology classes, there's something called a "surplus of meaning."  That is, you can get a message from something that wasn't necessarily intended by the author.  Or, put another way, you hear what you need to hear.  So here goes on this Sunday evening:

Song #1 - Give Peace a Chance, by John Lennon (watch/listen)

Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
Minister, Sinister, Banisters and Canisters,
Bishops, Fishops, Rabbis, and Pop Eyes, Bye bye, Bye byes
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

There is certainly plenty of strife crying out for peace in our world.  Syria.  Millions living in situations of human trafficking.  Our political scene.  Our Church.  Our hearts are yearning for peace, and yet we silly humans somehow find it easier to perpetuate situations of violence and division rather than pathways to peace.  We talk.   But what do we do?

Song #2 - Girl Sailor, by the Shins (watch/lisen)

A stronger girl would shake this off in flight,
And never give it more than a frowning hour,
But you have let your heart decide

The more I have learned about movements of active nonviolence, the more I have realized that it needs to start from a deep contemplative space.  Being rather than doing.  Doing has its time and place, but when grounded in a deep experience of God's love real change (internal & external) happens.  Think about Martin Luther King, Gandhi or Dorothy Day.  Each was a deeply prayerful person. When it comes down to it, you do have to let your heart decide.  I have to let my heart decide.  And my heart chooses love.

Song # 3 - It Might Be Hope, by Sara Groves (watch/listen)

you do your work the best that you can
you put one foot in front of the other
life comes in waves and makes it's demands
you hold on as well as you’re able
you've been here for a long long time
hope has a way of turning its face to you
just when you least expect it

That doesn't make it easy.  It's not like you choose love, and it's all moonbeams and rainbows.  Life can be messy.  But God is there in the messy.  Time and again life has given me opportunities to learn this lesson.  Journeying with my mother through her cancer and death.  Supporting my father in his own health issues. Crazy elections related hullabaloos in my bureaucratic past.  Choosing love seems to open me up to seeing the possibilities, rather than focusing on the closing doors.  It helps me to stay open to hope, open to life, open to more love.

Song # 4 Panic, by the Smiths (watch/listen)

Panic on the streets of London
Panic on the streets of Birmingham
I wonder to myself
Could life ever be sane again ?

Which is important, because life has the tendency to spin into moments of crazy from time to time.  Many years ago, just before I entered the novitiate, my life exploded into moments of crazy.  No need to go into the whole story here, but I found myself a topic of conversation in the public sphere.  The experience was one I'd be happy not to repeat.  I remember thinking something along those lines, "Could life ever be sane again?"  Who knows what the experience would have been like if I had not been planning to enter religious life.  I had a spiritual director.  I was developing a prayer life.  I had a community of love and support surrounding me.  All of that helped me to navigate the panic.  There's a lesson there too.

Song # 5 Life of Christ Renew Me, by Margaret Rizza

Life of Christ, renew me
Way of Christ, direct me
Truth of Christ, restore me
Peace of Christ, surround me


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing
I really like