Whether with the band The Police or on his own Sting, born Gordan Mathew Thomas Sumnar, writes lyrics intelligently and with depth. A teacher for a short time, the poetry of words is sung through melodies. This months post sat in a "parking lot" of ideas for two years, his music has long been one in my wheelhouse of inspiration.
Husband, father, musician, songwriter, Philanthropist and Activist, Sting raises the musical bar in rock, jazz, reggae, classical and new-age through lyrical symmetry.
A Perfect date
Hands brushing across wheat... the feeling to the touch is soft and feathery with steps meandering through life's journal with open hands, palms up to receive the blessings of words written with a penmanship of love. Fingers outstretched to connect - through whispers of a songbird at water's edge.
The echo is faint - but I hear it quietly calling me ... sun slowly emerging to the radiance of warmth across skin and shadows of trumpets sounding distantly stilling my beating heart.
It began at 4am on a morning where fog cascaded over hills splashing into a coastal town of whitewashed Spanish tiles clanging to a wind chime of church bells. I dropped my husband off at the airport and continued driving for the better part of 3 hours. Like a yardstick, a full day: first stop - kicking off my shoes amid pine trees and the scent of mountain air, I grabbed a towel and a chair as the warm October sunlight was breaking through the writing of psalms upon ventricles.
I was alone albeit two children jumping on a trampoline in the middle of a pond. A stark white chair with red lettering and a white inter-tube perched along the edge. Umbrellas closed, a sandy beach, the whistle of birds, the sound of distant sprinklers on lawn, sunlight glistening on water - a perfect morning. I lowered myself slowly down the white ladder and when the water was waist high, glided forward to the refreshing renewal of a new day. I swam to the floating dock anchored in the middle. Bubbles rising up on skin soaked with oils of everyday life. Arms outstretched laying back, I closed my eyes and floated to the sounds around me - peace.
Not thinking, I swam toward the trampoline and climbed up... normally feeling as though I would look foolish, I cast my judgement aside and sat on the edge as two kids jumped and I rolled closer to the center as the three of us giggled to the bouncing sound of a whimsical Sunday Sabbath. I rose to wobbly feet and with the expertise of two ten year olds, started to jump. They instructed me on the many facets of water trampoline play and secretly rejoiced at my childlike timid demure. Not that daring, I moved toward the edge as they swung the rope toward me at which I grabbed hold, swung and let go into the splash of water - trust.
A childlike faith: to believe with open hands - no agenda, no expectations, no timeline. I got out, spread my towel on the grass, worship music on ear buds, I lay upon the ground looking up and watched the changing movement of haze across blue skies. I let the "rest of day" splash over me washing away the trials of busy hands and an active mind; the rejuvenation of a youthful hour seeping through adulthood minutes.
Washing vintage vinyl - the rescue
The entire day was a washing of my soul. A secret garden where my mind only allowed the gifts that encouraged, restored and gave hope. I napped, watched a movie curled up alone on a couch. I danced, ate and soaked in the rays of sunshine on dry, parched skin.
Now that my mind was refreshed, my body rested, I showered and got ready for a date. Like a teenager readying herself for an evening out ... I put on stylish, tight jeans, a black t-shirt and comfortable walking shoes. I felt cute and confident as I grabbed the car keys for an hours drive to a stadium.
A free concert with worship music and a message of the gospel, I didn't know what to expect. I got there in plenty of time but still the lines wrapped around the entire perimeter of the arena. As I walked up closer to the entrance, someone said the hold-up was checking bags but if i emptied myself of possessions, I could go right in. Having walked back to the car, I left everything behind except lipstick, my i-phone and car keys in my pocket. I was alone, empty of things and confident in thought, I rushed in with a group of others. I headed toward home plate.
Inside the stadium, it was already full and droves of people were coming in. There were no assigned seats and I was alone so I thought certainly a single seat could be found front and center. A cranky woman my age who posted as a type of security guard denied my request to look for a single seat and was rude in the process - there was no cost, so I'm not sure why she was so uptight but I headed up one level and exited the staircase to a closed door with a good-looking man guarding it. I pleaded my case, he winked, subtly smiled and gave the non-verbal cue that he wasn't watching; I walked forward, opened the door and my jaw dropped. I didn't realize I was directly over home plate; it was beautiful and exhilarating all at the same time. I could not have dreamed of a more perfect seat. It's height gave me a vantage point of clarity. I smiled at the brilliance of God's grace that day.
Having been appreciative for this man's kind gesture, I silently prayed for him and vowed to be a blessing to each and every person I came in contact with. I found a solo seat and quickly became friends with strangers. We laughed, danced, sang and even cried together that evening as we shared the bond of faith. It brought me back to my early days of a youth conference where teenagers and leaders lifted their hands in humble submission to a savior who was willing to die on a cross. I wasn't alone; the thoughts of a gift, the company of new friends and the hope of a willingness to be used as a fellow follower of Christ, tears streamed down my cheeks as fireworks burst through a star-studded sky. I was alive and vibrant because of a willingness to set aside my day for the sacred bond of a relationship.
All seemed a small price to pay for the washing of vinyl. We have hundreds of vinyl records retrieved from garage sales, thrift stores and barn style storage facilities - all of which were destined for the trash can years ago. Instead, they are dusted off, washed and put into new plastic sleeves. Their tune waiting to be heard with ears of nostalgia or pursuit because of their originality but either way, a second chance and like vinyl we, collectively as people, long to be washed, heard and made new.
There is a shore with many glass bottles adrift - each with a message to be heard.
Life guard - the rescue
A stark white chair with red lettering and a white inter-tube perched along the edge. The rescue.. the preserver .. His story.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29
When I was little, I formed my own concept of God. Alone, I prayed and confessed my sins, at the same time silently pleading with God that I was a good person and didn't have much to confess. Fast forward to college years and not entirely by choice found myself in an area of compromise; I responded with rebellion and a race to home plate. Fast forward to marriage and children and again pleading for an intimate faith relationship, I aligned Christianity into a neat symmetrical box. In His grace and mercy, God responded through people, circumstances and experiences.
Over twenty years ago, I committed my life to Christ - in a specific prayer (thinking my child-like repetition of prayers was not enough), I sought a re-commitment to faith. I tossed out all of the secular music and replaced it with worship music... I neatly checked the box of Christianity in the only ways I knew how.
The past two years, I have jumped into deep water and was prepared for accepting with open arms a father into my home.. Nothing could crush my confidence - not broken pipes, not work, not home, each step of the way I felt confident in my Christian ability but one thing crushed me: unintentionally hurting a friend. Not only bringing me to my knees but forcing my clutched fingers to fall open and tears to fall and there lies the problem of humanity, even the most loving gestures and intentions can crumble a person's spirit. Forgiveness and grace are the cornerstone of Christ's ministry. We don't respond with confidence but stumble in humility because we are simply, completely, utterly human.
I planned a worship song for this month's post, I thought of the timing of publishing the March 2016 blog but in the end, Easter is really only about coming with empty hands, an open heart and a realization that we need the the story and promise of redemption and resurrection.
The Language is love. This Easter as you contemplate the egg, remember cracking your hard, exterior shell. The tapping is heard in a message, not in a bottle, but on a cross. A hundred billion bottles washed upon a shore and you were the one He sought by name.
Hands brushing across wheat - May the blessings of a Whimsical Sunday Sabbath (Easter) wash your dusty, forgotten vinyl into a renewed song... better because of the loving hands of someone who sought to find, wash and to play your tune again and with the sweet remembrance of your name.
Happy Easter my dear friends - peace be with you... always.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
A person who searches for depth and beauty in the simple things.