Hearing the Music
The story goes about a man born deaf who could never comprehend that on certain occasions when he went out to dinner, men and women would rise to their feet, grab hold of one another and do these weird bodily gyrations for a few minutes. Then, they would return to their chairs, only to go through the same gyrations a few minutes later. It was only after surgery had given him his capacity to hear sounds that he caught on. It all made sense, once he heard the music.
Not all of us get to experience such a dramatic intervention in our lives as the deaf man did, but most of us do experience what I’d call major epiphanies in our journey through life, moments which are so personally powerful that they can change the way we think about our life.
A young man gets so stoned out of his head that he ends up in the ER not even knowing how he got there. In a moment, his wasted life flashes before him. He “gets” where his choices are leading him. He hears the music. The experience shakes him to the core and from that moment he swears off drugs and turns his life around.
A successful career woman with her penthouse apartment and a Lamborghini in the garage, witnesses the death of a friend and suddenly hears the music, understands that all her possessions mean little and puts her money into establishing a school for impoverished young women in Bangladesh.
A middle-aged man cheats on his wife. On the brink of filing for divorce, he hears the music, realizes for the first time that he is about to lose the woman who has been his one best friend all his life. He begs forgiveness, returns to his wife as a much better husband than he has ever been before.
These are not unusual examples. They happen every day. They are the moments of truth that can turn a hardened criminal into a law-abiding citizen, a lifetime smoker into a non-smoker. Sometimes these flashes of insight come to us in the most innocent of ways. A little girl puts her tiny hand in ours and trusts us to take care of her. We, who have been totally wrapped up in ourselves, respond. At other times, our moments of truth can come to us less subtly, through a kick in the pants. Paul of Tarsus needed to get knocked off his horse to learn that he was on the wrong track.
I’m convinced that there are moments in all our lives when our music is played. Whether the musician is our conscience, mother earth, or God in heaven, someone plays music that is meant for our ears alone. The melody appeals to what is most noble in us. We recognize it immediately. Yes, this is the song we are meant to sing. This is who we are. Sadly, we can shut our ears to the melody and pretend we are deaf. Then, we miss our chance to become the person we were meant to be.
Ah, but if we DO open our ears to hear the music, a path opens up; we understand what seemed so puzzling before. Call it inspiration or enlightenment or grace, we hear the music. When those magic moments happen to us, hey, it’s time to put on our dancing shoes and boogie. Our lives may depend upon it.