People Don’t Get Me
I have a friend who doesn’t get what I do. Well, not actually a friend. An acquaintance that could have been a friend if he’d wanted. He didn’t. Because he didn’t get what I do. He didn’t need it.
For almost four decades I’ve worked in music. I’ve played and sung and written and engineered and produced. That’s a lifetime of trying to create something beautiful and, according to this man, I’ve failed. Some days I agree with him. Creation and doubt are twins.
“You music guys,” he laughed. “I’ve lived my life without any connection to music at all.” He was proud of it. Later he made fun of my entire musical family. Nice guy if you meet him and don’t talk about music. Or maybe not.
There’s a little known disease of the brain that causes some people to be unable to process music. It sounds like bashing pots and pans to them. Maybe he has it. Maybe he’s just a heartless soul. I don’t guess it matters.
He has more money than anyone I’ve ever met and I’ve sat in control rooms with a lot of wealthy people. From that standpoint he is an unqualified success. If that’s how you measure it. Few do.
My One Life
The point is that who you are and what you do is not up for a vote. You get one life and it belongs to you.
That’s not a popular idea right now. So many people want to approve or, more likely, disapprove of you. They claim to get offended if you don’t act as they wish. They want you to fit into their preconceived ideas about what a person your age and your color and your sex from your area of the country and with your education should be like – in their opinion.
In my experience, the best people don’t fit. They are larger than an opinion and deeper than their surface. They are simply too full and too rich and too complex to categorize. But they don’t look it. Because you can’t tell such things by looking.
Simple Brain, Complex People
Placing a label on anyone is a function of our limited resources. Our brain can only think one thing at a time and that thought is usually about the one named Me. Complicated people complicate things for a single-thought brain. We prefer labels to people. Our brain thinks people are trouble it doesn’t need.
That’s not true, though. People are exactly the kind of trouble we need. God makes sure of it. He created us to be thoroughly, intimately dependent on each other.
Without two humans as different as male and female we would not exist. Neither alone is sufficient. Without human touch after we arrive we wither and die. At birth we cannot feed or clothe or protect ourselves. Alone we are not enough.
Complex Needs Met
We need plants to breathe. They live on what we exhale and we drink in what they exhale. Again, it takes more than me alone. It’s a repeated refrain throughout the planet, a rhythm, a melody with harmony. It’s day with night, sun with rain, water with dirt.
The sun touches the water and purifies it into clouds which rain on the plants which combine the water with sunlight and dirt to make food for the herbivores and omnivores which provide food for the carnivores which provide sustenance to the scavengers and parasites which make dirt for the plants which make oxygen for us all.
Science now tells us that life as we know it has over 200 requirements. But science has always been shortsighted. There are many more. It is all far more complex and wonderful than any one brain can comprehend. But that doesn’t change the facts.
It is an illustration, a parable in solid form, showing us the way and the truth and the life. We need. All our needs are provided. But not by us. Hmm.
For example – this man who hates music created the system which created the hospital that saved my wife’s life. He once asked me to sing for his guests at a party. For them, you understand, not for himself. And yet there it is, the circle of dependence. The repeated refrain. The rhythm and music of life.
We all need. We all receive more help than we realize from sources we don’t fully understand. And yet with all of our needs, we still exist. That should tell us something.
So I try to appreciate my friend who hates music. Though he dismisses me and devalues who I am and what I do, he helped save my wife’s life and therefore my life. And in a small way on one day I might have helped him a bit.
It’s a kind of miracle from the right perspective, all of this underestimated need filled so dependably in so many unexpected ways. It’s almost as if it is coordinated. Planned even.
We Need Even You
So here I am, sharing what I know in the hope that it might fill a need. Maybe mean something. Maybe give back a tiny piece of what has been given to me.
Be you. We need you. Even if we don’t know who you are. Even if we don’t know what you do. Even if you’re not quite sure yourself.
We live every day with total faith in millions of things we need but cannot provide for ourselves. Millions. Those needs are faithfully provided to all. I can think of no greater illustration of the love of God. And no greater lesson that all of us are important to Him.
Even the people that don’t get it. Even the days I doubt myself. Even you, here, now.