To Carry a Tune (or: There’s a hole in my bucket)
By: Jana Greene
The speakers on stage – as big as house doors – pump the baseline so hard that I can feel my ribs vibrate with each beat. Always a sucker for percussion, I am bouncing slightly with each perfect, deliberate fall of the sticks upon snare. Melodies, streaming from the lead guitar, make me move against my will in the way that only a middle-aged white woman can manage; with certain awkwardness, but I don’t care. Move anyway, my spirit tells me, and I obey because sometimes my spirit knows what to do.
And then she sings.
Her voice, raised in worship, is flawless. It rises and falls in perfect synchronization with the music and it doesn’t struggle with highs or lows but surfs on the notes, catching the perfect wave every time. She is worshiping God with all she has and I know that He is pleased. He created her ability to sing with seeming ease and share it with the world, and she has mesmerized us all with her gifts. With her obedience.
My voice has the potential to traumatize…not mesmerize.
When I get to heaven, I want to be able to sing like she does. Or like Queen Latifa. Or maybe Joss Stone. But who knows? Perhaps by that time I’ll be at enough peace with my own gifts to keep from envying those of others. I’m not proud that I sometimes covet the talents of others, but hat covetness burrows into my mind before I have the chance to rebuke it at times.
Music is one of my very favorite ways in which God spoils us all. It was created by Him to give us another tool of praise (and sometimes just to get jiggy with it) and I wish I was as good at making it as I am to listening to it. I know God doesn’t mind that I sing off-key, but I do.
Sharing our talents can be a daunting task. We don’t get to choose the gifts we are given, but we do have the choice to use what we have – or to keep it to ourselves. I know he truth: that the Singer at my church works on her music often, that her synchronization is perfected not only by gifting, but by practice. Effortlessness is not what she strives for; worship is. Each of the musicians in our church’s worship band has mind-blowing talent, which they each use every week to bless others. After Sunday services, I have to fight the urge to corner each of them and say, “Do you have any IDEA how AMAZING you are?” (I don’t want to be creepy about it. Just appreciative.)
We all have different gifting, different processes. God is pleased when we use our talents to bring other hurting people to Him, no matter what that talent may be. And those “what if’s”?
What if I use my talents and fail, and make a fool of myself?
What if it’s just too hard?
Move anyway, my spirit tells me. You’ve been a fool for much lesser things. And I listen.
Because even though I cannot carry a tune in a bucket, sometimes my spirit really does know what to do.