The first time we sang the words, I thought about them. I analyzed them, and thought about them.
The second time, I heard the music of those words put together. The sounds of the syallable, the rhythm of the way the accents fell.
The third time that we sang that same line, I heard the way the words played with the guitar, with the drum beat, with the singer’s voice, with the voices around me, with my own voice, more eager than particularly good at singing.
And then, I meant them. I sang them up to the maker of everything. I know all this stuff about what faith is really about. I know that it is not about rules, I know it is not about guilt, shame and obligation. Yet I so rarely connect God on an emotional level, except to tell him about how upset, angry, or cheated I feel.
And then, the words, repeated as they were, they started to lose their meaning.
Except that they also gained meaning, too. Because this thing happens, when you sing, or even say, the same words over and over again. On the one hand, they lose their meaning. When my attention is not drawn to it, I have this idea that there is some connection between the sounds “huh” and “ah” and “tuh” and the thing I put atop my head. But it’s arbitrary, those specific sounds, and the idea that they mean a “hat.”
It’s one thing to consider this truth about a single, insignificant word. But to realize that the connection between every single word and what that word “means”; that gives me some sort of soul-vertigo. And to realize that written words add a whole other layer or arbitrary-ness; the idea that a cross-shaped letter might mean the “t” sound, and so I can read, and write… it’s a miracle we can communicate at all.
I think most of us forget this. I usually think in words, and so I cut out the middle-part. I forget that the words are just constructs. I suspect, some times, I am limited by this… repeating a word, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… or a bunch of words, a phrase… It connects me to the raw thoughts, something more primal than the words. For me, this is part of the power of those great times in worshipping through music, where, to an outsider, it just seems like a pointlessly extended bridge, but for me, there is this immediacy, this connection to God…
It’s like we are connected to God, in this really fundamental place. It is a place more basic than even words. And so when we can get past the words, operate in that more fundamental place, something magical happens.
Ironically, as I write this, there a bunch of different words that are coming to mind. I want to fill this page with words connected to this. Words wondering about the neurology of all this. Words exploring the meaning or the WORlD… Words exploring the meaning of the fact that Jesus is described as the word…
But I am working on cultivating silence and quiet, now. I am working on listening. Sometimes, it is so good to listen to nothing; other times it is so good to listen to silence. But also, it is good to listen to people. And people have so much that they should be saying. I can learn so much from the people around me. I wish we were not so afraid to share the truths that weigh on our hearts.
So dear reader, my blog stats tell me that you are out there. There are some folks who are reading my babblings. 🙂 Leave me some wisdom, leave me some truths. Comment below with the things that are on your mind. Perhaps it is some observations of worship. Perhaps it is about the nature of language, words, and thought. Maybe it’s just a good recipe for chocolate cake. Share something, will you?