Have you ever been reading a book and got to a sentence—or thought—that stops you in your tracks? Where you try to continue reading, but the gravitational pull of the sentence keeps bring you back to its words? Then that moment comes when you resist fighting it, dog-ear the page, put the book down and let the words permeate your mind, replaying them over and over again. This was one of those sentences for me.
I was reading through the book, Dialogue-The Art of Thinking Together, by William Issacs, and was cruising along until page 169 crashed into me. The section was titled, “What Is My Music—and Who Will Play It?” It began (like all sections should, in my humble opinion) with a story. A pianist, Michael Jones, was tickling the ivory when an old man approached him and struck up a conversation. The old man asked about the music Michael just played and he answered, “That was an arrangement of Moon River”. “No, before that,” the old man asked. “That was some of my own music,” Michael replied. The old man then said, “You are wasting your time with ‘Moon River’.” He continued and asked, “Who will play your music if you don’t do it yourself?”
Did you read his question?
That was the one whose gravity would not (and has not) release me. “Who will play your music if you don’t do it yourself?”
William Issacs then fleshes it out a bit more:
“People often say it is hard to know what their music is, no less find the courage to offer it. Sometimes we know what we would express but require the courage to bring it out. The resolve that wells up from within us first to find out what our music is, and then to give us the permission to give it, is the molten core energy of your voice.” Wow! Then he just keeps going . . .
“We all have a tendency for self-censorship, for withholding what we think for fear of upsetting others or disturbing the order of things. But finding our music involves listening in a deep way to what we may not have dared voice. [...] ask yourself, What do I most long to create in the world? And why do I long to create it? Setting aside all the counterforces that would tend to dismiss this question as impractical and irrelevant is an enormous part of this process. But holding Michael’s simple question in your heart can go a long way toward opening doors you would not expect to open. Finally, we must also ask ourselves what might be at risk if you do not bring it out—as well as if you do? What choices are you making now about how much of your voice you express?”
This idea of finding out what your music is and having the courage to play it—’cause if you don’t, who will?—is crucial to what it means to follow God and the leading of his spirit. Why do I blog? Because it is my music. Why am I feeling led to help create a different expression of “church”? Because it is my music. Why do I love my wife and kids and God and neighbors? Because is it my music. Is it the only music? Nope. Is it the best music? Nope. Are there some who don’t like it? Yep. Are there others who are moved by it? Yep. Is it the correct music? Do you see how that is the wrong question when it comes to music? It’s my music (that God has inspired in my heart) and if I don’t play it, lean in to it, embrace it—who will?
Page 169 was worth the price of the book.
I really believe that if we are all busy courageously playing our God-given Kingdom-music, we will be too busy to sabotage, disrupt and hate-on others’ music.
And I have a hunch that the world will be better off from the musical tapestry we will create.
So the question begs to be asked, What Is Your Music—and Will You Play It?