Words and Music

Everything that exists in the physical world is made out of the same stuff, from a butterfly to the universe. Atoms, protons, electrons, neutrons arranged differently to create what they are and do. And what they are and what they do is determined by the laws God set in place to govern their behavior.

Everything is not everything. What we can see, hear, touch, taste and smell is just a minor fraction, a microscopic part of what really exists. Everything we can experience through our 5 senses is a mere grain of sand on the beach of reality that is out there within and beyond our universe. Again, we know this because we know this. The fact that we can think and dream and love proves this is true.

Two examples of there being more than everything is music and writing. Both music and writing use a specific number of characters. With music, it’s notes and with writing it’s the letters of an alphabet. Just as everything in our physical universe was created by God from the same elements, the music that is played is created from the same notes and everything written is from the same letters and ruled by the laws that govern each.

Mankind has the mistaken idea that we can be creators. All we can be are assemblers. We can take the things God created and form them into the things we use. We have the raw material and form it into anything the laws that govern that raw material will allow. We take musical notes and arrange them in an order that can be played on an instrument we have constructed from the same material we are made of and play a song. We take the letters of the alphabet and punctuation and write a story.

The ability to do this lets us know that we are more than star stuff. We take letters and form words and arrange the words in an order that when someone reads those words, it changes the readers heart and allows them to understand something they did not understand before. It’s magic. Real magic. The same magic that happens when someone takes musical  notes and arranges them in such a way that causes a listener to cry. This did not happen by two atoms coming together by themselves and then other atoms coming together over and over until a universe is built, built by the atoms that it’s made of. And these little atoms did this all by themselves? Spontaneously? Without any help? That would be something. That would be like the atoms of a space shuttle deciding to gather together on their own and form a vehicle capable of blasting into space, circling the globe a few times, and then landing safely back on earth.

I like music. I like it because of what it does to me. It makes me happy. It makes me cry. It makes me remember times in my life, both good and bad. When I was falling in love with my wife, the song “Maniac” from the movie Flashdance would come on the radio and I would think of her. Even now, years later, when I hear that song, I think of her.

When my first wife left me, I remember certain songs made me feel that I wasn’t alone during this time of heartache and made the pain tolerable. I discovered when the heart is abandoned, it comforts itself by believing that a time will come when the one that abandoned it will regret it. I was drawn to songs like ” If the phone doesn’t ring, it’s me ” and ” You’ll think of me.”

I like to listen to music. I don’t ever remember wanting to learn the notes and the laws that govern them enough to want to play music. My wife is a classically trained pianist. Not only did she learn the notes and the laws, but she was born with something more than most people are born with. She was born with what’s referred to as a gift. It is the extra ability that some people have that goes beyond learning to do something. A gift in music is the ability to not only learn the physical process of playing the notes, but the learning is usually easier for someone gifted. They also are able to express the notes in a way that moves the spirit, soul and body of the ones that hear it. This is not something that is learned or can even be achieved through practice. I believe it is one of those things that goes beyond the stuff we are made of. It shows us we are more than the sum of our parts.

I think writing is the same way. Everyone, (unless they have a physical or mental challenge that prevents it,) can learn to write. We learn to take the letters of whatever alphabet we know and put them together applying the laws that govern them and express thoughts. These thoughts can make others laugh, they can teach, establish or change what people believe, share feelings, pass on things that need to be remembered. Words also can be put together to express hatred, tell lies, cause people pain. The greatest thing words can express is love. As with music, I believe people can be gifted in the use of words. They are gifted with the ability to use the same letters everyone uses but put them together in such a way that they speak to the human heart and spirit. I have no idea why some are gifted and some are not. I am sure there are millions of people in the world that are gifted, but they and the ones around them never discover what they have. Millions of people are living in poverty and isolation under oppressive governments having gifting’s but never being able to discover or share them.

As I said, I like music. I also like to read. It wasn’t until I was a junior in high school that I discovered reading. Up to that time, I had never read a whole book, ” except for See Spot Run” in kindergarten. Then, in high school, I was required to take a class in literature. A requirement of the class was to read a book from a list of books. I remember putting the list on my desk, closing my eyes and allowing my finger to drop to the paper and whatever book title my finger landed on, that would be the book I would read. When I opened my eyes, I saw that my finger had chosen “Out of the Silent Planet”, by C.S. Lewis. I had never heard of it before and hoped it wouldn’t be boring. As I started to read, I found it to be surprisingly interesting. It was about a man on a walking vacation in England being kidnapped and taken to the planet Mars to be sacrificed to the inhabitants. Soon after they landed he was able to escape his kidnappers. He wandered around for a while until he came across a Martian. At first, he was afraid. Then he realized the Martian was not only intelligent, but civilized and even friendly. After some time, he learned to communicate with the Martian.

Then my world changed. It was like being struck by lightning. I discovered the Martians not only knew God, but they knew His son, Jesus. (although they called Him by a different name.)

Being saved at the age of six, and being a Christian almost all my life and having no interest in reading did limit my exposure somewhat. Going to church a couple times a week, having mostly children’s bible stories read to me growing up and then from time to time reading portions of the bible, my experience with other forms of literature was very limited.

But now, at the age of fifteen or sixteen, to be reading a book that was not a bible story or the bible, but it expresses my Christian beliefs in a creative, mature and imaginary way turned out to be life changing for me. I knew I would never be the same.

(The reason the book is titled ” Out of the Silent Planet”, is because, in the story, it turns out that the entire universe is filled with inhabited planets. They all went through the “serpent and the apple”, garden of Eden test. Only one planet failed…. earth. All the other planets chose to do what God asked them to do. This meant that the Martians had a free and open relationship with God and His Son and with all the other planets, except the earth. The earth was a blank spot in the universe and silent.)

That’s how I discovered the joy of reading.

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A Christian man in my mid 60's with Parkinson's disease. Married over 30 years with 3 married children and 2 grandkids.

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