The Present Part II

Two weeks ago, I posted “The Present” on my blog. I promised to give you part two this week. If you didn’t read my last post, please read it before reading this. It will make much more sense to you if you do. Thanks for waiting. Hope you enjoy it.

“Here, let me take all of this for you,” God offered, scooping the music and lyrics out of my hands and putting them back into the box. “You don’t want to lose this song. You may need to pull it out of the box later for a special occasion.” The tiny bits of paper were sticking to his hands like they had static electricity in them. He had to peel off more than a few clingy notes left on his fingers.

“So, you have questions? Let me hear them,” he prompted.

“Ok…so what you are telling me is that YOU are music and YOU write all the songs?” I ventured out a little bit further. “Even the wild and crazy stuff?” I thought about how a lot of people would be shocked if they knew about that.

“Uh huh. I write it all. All different kinds of styles…just like languages…well, it is a language. It’s one way I communicate with people even though most of them don’t realize it.”

“But how does it happen? I thought that PEOPLE write music…” My voice trailed off as my mind made room for an epiphany.

“And they do! Don’t get me wrong! When someone opens themselves to creativity, I take over and most of the time they are totally unaware. They get the ideas and subject matter all from me.”

“But how?”

“When a writer sits down to write a song, I don’t care who it is…a portal from heaven opens directly above them and I just inspire them to write exactly what I want to convey to the world. They usually think that they are writing a love song about someone or a situation they have been through – and it is, but it’s also me singing a love song to the world, to the church, or to a specific group of people that needs encouragement. Sometimes it’s a heart-felt song that becomes a prayer that the world is singing to me. It can be about anything, really. It’s one of my ways of communicating. It’s a language from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven…’It’s from me. It’s for you. It’s from you. It’s for me.'”

My heart shot a message to my brain and told me that it was true. I felt that I was being “let in” on a huge secret and that I was about to be educated in a way that only a hand full of musical scholars had been educated. The great creator of the heavens and the earth, and all that they contained, was about to explain a hidden truth to me. I was about to be taken “behind the curtain” of written music and lyrics to discover what happens that makes us love and relate to music so much.

I pictured a writer sitting down at a table, head leaning back, staring up at a blank ceiling while waiting for “inspiration” to pay him a visit. I then saw through the ceiling, up through the roof and then up into the heavens. All of a sudden, I saw a light come down from the sky, as if heaven had pulled back a dark curtain and opened a small window. The light poured down into the sky, onto the writer’s house, cutting its way through the roof and down into the ceiling, illuminating the writer in a golden pool of words and musical notes. It was as if the music box had spilled out from heaven and rained down a song over the willing writer. The writer, bathed in the swathe of creative light, all of a sudden, picked up a pencil and began to write, relief spreading across his face as the words tumbled onto the lined notebook paper. His writing session would be productive, after all, because “inspiration,” that illusive muse, had chosen him, out of every other songwriter creating at that moment, to write the one song that needed to be shared.

I gasped. “You just did it, didn’t you?”

“Did what?” God asked.

“Made a portal or opened a window from heaven over ME…because I just saw it in a vision. You showed me what it would look like if I could actually ‘see’ inspiration or creativity come down from heaven and touch someone.”

God smiled. “You’re quick. The vision just came to you in a flash, didn’t it? That’s how it is for any artist – songwriter, painter, dancer, poet, novelist, designer…It doesn’t matter. I give the natural talent and send inspiration to make it come alive, conveying my thoughts through them to the world.”

Wow! I had to have an example, a case study to make sure I was getting it right. “Can you give me an example of a song you wrote that I would know? So that I can understand this better? Like…what’s the saddest song you’ve ever written?”

Without missing a beat, he answered, “For YOUR generation and particular culture? ‘You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me Lucille’”.

“Really? Why that one? What sets that one apart? There are so many sad songs.” For just a second I wondered if I was making up this entire conversation with God. Was I imagining some kind of supernatural “present” from God because I wanted one so badly? My spirit must have heard my questions because immediately it said, “No! You could never make up anything this fantastic! Listen. God’s telling you something he wants you to know.” I paid strict attention and hung onto his every word.

“It’s sad on several levels,” he began. “First, notice it’s a song about someone named Lucille. That’s your first clue. Lucille means ‘light bearer’. Always look at the names in a song. It gives a huge clue to the deeper meaning. On the surface level, a man’s wife, Lucille, has left him. The one who always brought light into his life is gone.

‘You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille.
With four hungry children and a crop in the field.
I’ve had some bad times, lived through some sad times
This time the hurtin’ won’t heal.
You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille.’

‘Light’ left him at a crucial time. He’s busy with his crops and can’t take care of his children while he’s in the fields. Naturally, he’s hurt. The absence of her light leaves him in dark despair.

“Now, let’s take the song to a deeper level. Let’s say, that there are those who consider themselves in a relationship with me. They believe that I’ve let them down for some reason or another or that I’ve promised them dreams that never came true. They get tired of holding on to their dreams and they leave me, their children, destiny and purpose, and the crop in the field; their ability to change the world around them. They leave me and everything I have to offer them before the crops are even harvested.

‘When the drinks finally hit her
She said, ‘I’m no quitter.’
But I finally quit living on dreams.
I’m hungry for laughter
Here ever after
I’m after whatever the other life brings.’

Can you imagine the overall effect of all the disillusioned ‘light’ in this world, leaving me and seeking elsewhere for comfort and personal satisfaction? These disappointed ‘Lucilles’ were intended to be light bearers but instead they put out their fire, the inner light that I put in them. It’s been heartbreaking to me. If only they could have held on a little longer, they could have had everything I promised them.”

I felt his pain hit my heart and I wanted to weep…for God and for the people disillusioned with him because of their own impatience with their struggles. It WAS a sad song indeed! I wanted to go and find all the ‘Lucilles’ in the world and tell them to hold on a bit longer, that they would get every promise God had put in their hearts. I would tell them never to give up. I thought of other songs; some old and some more recent; “Candle in the Wind,” sung by Elton John, “Light the Fire Within,” by LeAnn Rimes, “Light My Fire,” by The Doors…there were countless songs about the subject. My mind was racing with the discovery.

“Believe it or not,” God was not through with his line of thought, “there is another level of meaning to this song, if you want to go there. I had a ‘Lucille,’ too. I created him before I even created man. He WAS music, created out of things that made musical sounds and things you have never even heard of. He was the most beautiful creature I ever made. His name was ‘Lucifer,’ which also, means light bearer.”

“What happened to him?” I thought that this story seemed vaguely familiar. “Isn’t he on the earth now?”

“He IS on the earth now. But he was once with me, leading the choir of heaven, writing all the music. You would be blown away if you could have seen that. It was spectacular! We had all sorts of plans and things to do but he wanted to be me. He wanted all the power. He even organized a protest in heaven and a third of the angels in heaven joined forces with him. I finally had to make them all leave. They fell to the earth and torture mankind now. At first, it angered me. I didn’t create him for that. He was my “Son of the Morning,” my Morning Star. Now, he’s so jealous of man because man can be redeemed and he can’t. He’s really jealous of musicians, by the way. They get to do what he did in heaven. He can’t stand them. But, I suppose you can see the communication coming down from heaven to earth. I know he must detest that song.”

I was shocked. I had never thought about God having “issues” with spiritual beings that I coudn’t see. I was astounded that music was a communicator between the forces of good and evil. I didn’t know what to say.

“You’re getting it, aren’t you?” God wanted to know. I nodded my head up and down. “But the important thing is that not only that you understand it, but that it causes an emotion – compassion, to well up inside of you and calls for action to help those who need it. The energy that the melody and lyrics sent out to the ‘world’, play on your emotional heartstrings and cause you to respond in a way that would help my Kingdom be established here on earth. That’s what it’s all about, anyway…establishing my Kingdom.”

I had to take a few moments to let this revelation sink into my spirit and my soul. The window of heaven must have still been shining down on me because I could actually see the white, bright light rise up to my reasoning mind so that God could saturate it a bit with more understanding. I saw it then move down to the fine, tiny bones and inner parts of my ear, where the mysteries of sound were taken in and digested as energy with communicating capabilities. The light lingered there for awhile, for it was necessary to give my ears the ability to interpret what they heard when music and lyrics had a message for someone. The light then flowed to my eyes and bathed them in the warm energy that would enable me to “see” a person or group of people that the song had been written for. Slipping down to my mouth, the light radiated a warmth that loosened my tongue, freeing up my ability to communicate the revelation of this musical language. Lastly, the light intensified and stopped at my heart, marinating it in a kind of empathy or compassion tear bath that would be activated when the song was interpreted for someone.

I stopped seeing where the light was going. It had stopped at my heart and left me with the instant knowledge of what my present really was. The exquisite heavenly music box was only part of the supernatural gift. God had taken the wrapping paper off to show me a heavenly musical language that was intended to speak on his behalf to people who needed to feel love again and become reacquainted with their purpose. It was a just another pleasant way he communicated with man. He was making it easy for us. The problem was, though, most people didn’t recognize the language on that level. They didn’t look for the higher meaning in the lyrics.

“So…I guess you’re giving me this music gift to help people with, huh?” By this time I was crying. I always cry when I feel God in such a real way. In a way, it’s always one of the signs that he is truly speaking to me about something important.

“Yes. That’s it,” he said. You will be able to look at someone and I will put a song in your mind about them and you will tell them about it. It may just be part of a lyric or phrase, but something that will blow them away just because they will know I’m thinking about them.”

“Do you have a song for me right now?” I asked. “What do you think of me?” It took only a second for the song to come to my mind…

“Unforgettable, that’s how you are
Unforgettable, near and far.
Like a song of love that clings to me
How the thought of you does things to me
Never before, has someone been more

Unforgettable, in every way
And forever more, that’s how you’ll stay
That’s why darling it’s incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am
Unforgettable, too.”

I laid there in my bed, tears running down my face. He “had me” at Nat King Cole. I was almost embarrassed to have the God of the whole universe think so extravagantly and lovingly about me. Is this what “the gift” did to people; take God out of a box and show them that he does relate to them in a way that they could understand?

I thought about it a long time that night. Actually, I don’t think I got much sleep. I wanted to try this gift out; see if it worked. I got up and got dressed and decided to head to Wal Mart. It would be a great place to practice my “new present.”

I got a few things I needed and stood in the checkout line. There was a man standing in front of me. “Here goes nothing,” I thought. “OK, God. What about this man? Do you have a song for him?”

I didn’t have to wait. One came to mind instantly.

“This is for all the lonely people
Thinking that life has passed them by…”

This man was lonely and felt like he had missed the mark somewhere along life’s way! He felt like giving up! The band, America, had him pegged. I didn’t want to talk to him, though, I wasn’t quite ready for that, yet. I just wanted to see the gift work.

I walked to the car and saw a young woman holding a little boy’s hand in the parking lot. “What about her?” I asked God. “What’s her deal?”

“Do you know the way to San Jose
I’ve been away so long, I might
Go wrong and lose my way.
Do you know the way to San Jose
I’m going back to find some piece
Of mind in San Jose.”

“Oh,” I realized. “She wants to get out of here and leave. She feels no peace here.” Burt Bacharach had her number too.

I saw a man getting out of his car. “What about him, God? What’s going on with him?”

“I get knocked down, but I get up again
You’re never going to keep me down.”

“Chumbawamba? Now, God….that’s funny right there. I don’t care who you are…but I get it. He’s from the ‘school of hard knocks’ and he’s a tough guy.”

I began to see people through the words of songs. The same window that opened over the songwriter opened over me when I wanted “to see” into someone’s soul. Life was beginning to get real interesting!

Buzzards, Spirit Carcasses and Christmas! Oh My!

My muse sat down and talked with me yesterday.  I think he was trying to comfort me.  I spent an extra long Thanksgiving weekend with my children in Nashville, Tennessee and came home from a grueling twelve hour trip only to be welcomed by an empty, silent house. Immediately I went into kid withdrawal and felt the cold hand of grief squeeze my heart until it hurt and made me feel sorry for myself.

 I tried to fight it off.  I really did.  I threw myself into decorating the house for Christmas.  I even bought red and green reindeer antler head bands with bells on them for Bill and me to wear while we decorated. Andy Williams was singing, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” and our fireplace had warmth radiating out of it for the first time this season.  I put up two trees, one all frocked, frosty and white in the dining room and another out on our back porch with enough lights shining on it to be mistaken for a light house even though we’re three miles inland.  Two small three foot trees stood in a white light glow, flanking each side of my fireplace.  Four trees altogether.  Not two…I miscounted.

My white distressed weathervane mermaid girl, Ariel, was even decked out in gold ribbons swimming in red berries and green garland.   I think I went a bit overboard.  But…I didn’t care.  I was chasing the blues away with as much sparkle and light as Comfort and Joy could allow.  Oh, yeah, and in some crazy way of reminding myself that the kids would not be home for Christmas, I hung up each of their stockings with their names cheerfully written in glitter down the sides.  They were always so “Christmas…y” and fun in the past.

I stood and looked at our work.  I didn’t care that it was over the top.  I even went out the next day and bought poinsettias to put on my dinner table and a ledge that separated the breakfast nook from the dining room.  I wondered about the two white poinsettias.  Did they look like funeral flowers?  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I always thought white flowers meant death and sympathy. Had I subconsciously bought them as a way of showing that our family’s traditions had transitioned over into new territory and the white flowers represented the death of our old ways?   I was losing it.  I. Was. Losing. It.

I couldn’t write a blog post.  I couldn’t be creative.  Everything that kept my creative juices flowing was in Nashville.  Nashville was the place I could find inspiration; look into my children’s faces and feel life bubble up out of my spirit.  I felt as lost as a blind puppy that had strayed away from the familiar warmth of its siblings and the comfort of its mother’s soft underbelly.  Heck, I was the mother here.  What was wrong with me?

Bill and I were driving to Wilmington one morning and as I was looking up at the sky it seemed as if I saw dozens of buzzards.  Every few miles I saw groups of them circling and hovering over a wooded area, as if they were waiting for something to die.  We were listening to a Fleet Foxes CD (my current favorite group right now.)  A song was playing on it called  “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song.”  The last time I had listened to it I was riding down the Natchez Trace on the beautiful autumn morning of my daughter’s wedding day.  The road was narrow and followed the Harpeth River.  Gold and red leaves still clung loosely to the trees and made a covered pathway for our little Jetta to ride under.  The feeling of “old money” was everywhere and just being on the road made us think we were rich.  The feeling of history was a thick and luxurious as a warm honey pouring down all around us.  It was sweet and it was a feeling songs were written to describe. 

Fleet Foxes was playing on our CD player and it sounded like the perfect music sound track for our trip to the barn.  I remembered thinking that and how lucky we were to be on that road on that particular perfect day.

But now, we were riding to Wilmington and buzzards were circling overhead and the same music was playing.  I couldn’t believe the difference in my feelings.  I had gone from one moment of bliss to a moment when I thought the vultures were circling over me, waiting for me to die, for my creative spirit to be picked to the bones like a wild animal’s carcass. I could see my bones lying out in the flat piney wood, glinting white in the bright coastal sun.  I know.  I can be melodramatic.

Buzzards, spirit carcasses and Christmas, O my!  That sounded like a creative meltdown getting ready to happen.  “Oh, God,” I prayed.   “ I have to live here but I have to feel too.  I have to have a portal, a window from heaven that is opened directly over me and gives me the inspiration to do what it is I’m supposed to do!  My prayers went up, daily, whiney, pleading, begging prayers of desperation because I have to have purpose in creativity. It fulfils me.  It completes me.

Yesterday, I sat down at the computer and went to youtube.  For some reason, I had heard Adele’s song, “Someone Like You” enough to get my attention.  When I need to have something brought to my attention, I usually hear a song several times until it is freaky weird.  I had heard it enough to sit down and look it up and listen to the several versions offered on you tube.  I put on the version of her singing at the Britt awards.  Just Adele, a piano, a stage and emotion.  I startled myself when I felt tears fill my eyes.  I decided to listen to other versions.  I saw her sing and take out her sound devices in her ears so that she could hear the audience sing back to her.  The audience was as loud as she was.  What a humbling feeling that must be to a singer to have the people listening to her know every word and sing her song to her.  Was that success?  I had tears running down my face.  I read that she had written the song from her own experience of a romance that had turned into heartbreak.  Although I was not going through the same experience, it touched a feeling in me that I had had years ago and had long since forgotten.  But when she sang it with raw emotion and jagged beauty, I could feel old wounds respond to the hurt in her voice.  I could feel…

Tears were running down my face and even though no one was in the room with me, I felt ashamed and wiped my tears away quickly. I didn’t want anyone to see me expressing emotion over a pop song.  All of a sudden, I sensed the presence of the Muse.  He came in unannounced and I don’t know how long he had been sitting there; knowing him, probably the whole time. 

“Why are you crying?”

“I don’t know.  It’s so beautiful.  So haunting.  It was written from experience.  That’s why it’s so sad.”

“Do you feel sad?  Is that why you’re crying?”

“No.  I don’t know.  I felt her passion spill out of her and it touched everyone in the room.  It touched me and I was just looking at You Tube.  I wasn’t even in the room with her.  The passion from it jumped out at me and left me in awe of her pain, her passion.”

“You were in awe of her passion?”

“Yeah, the passion.  That’s what I want.”

“It came from pain.  Passion comes from raw emotions.”

“I feel pain right now.  My kids have grown up and moved far away, or maybe I moved far away from them.  I don’t know.  I’m in a new place that doesn’t feel like home and I’m getting older.  I don’t mean to be whining to you and we’ve been through this before, but what if I never feel ‘it.’”

“Feel what?”

“A portal.  I want a portal.  Right here.  Over me.  Over my house.  Just like it is in Nashville.  Like it was in Alabama, where I used to live.   If it’s over me, I’ll feel alive again.”

“You have to make your own portal.”

“My own portal?  I’ve done it before.  Just not by myself.  It was easier when I had the kids around me and friends who understood it.  If we got together and spoke about it, it would almost magically appear. Hmmm…by myself….I can do it.  Yeah.  I can.”

“I’ll help you.  I’ll show you how and it really won’t be hard.  I’ll be there.”

I looked over at him.  He was crying.

My pain and my passion had jumped over to him through the atmosphere in the room and had hit him like Adele’s had hit me.  He felt my creative power and it ricocheted back to me. I felt awe; a surge of confidence.  We were going to create a portal right here in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina.  Right here in this room, over my head.

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