I stretched out on my floor this afternoon and listened to music. I haven't done this in forever. I mean, I have music on all the time in the background while I write papers or read for class or kill time on Facebook or playing games on the internet, but I can't remember the last time I sat down and listened to an entire album, start to finish, doing nothing but soaking in the sound. Not using it as background noise just so there's something to hear, but rather really listening to it, trying to hear what the artist is saying.
I realized how much I miss it.
As I lay sprawled out on the floor, listening to Thrice's "Water" disc from "The Alchemy Index," I spent half an hour soaking up an amazing work of art. This EP is part of what will eventually be a 4-disc set, each disc devoted to one of the four elements- earth, air, fire, and water, each with its own distinct feel. The fire and water albums, which are part of "The Alchemy Index, pt. I" are out now, with earth and air coming out as pt. 2 this spring. The fire album is raw molten metal, brimming with a prophetic defiance. Water, on the other hand, has a more introspective, solitary feel, making excellent use of digital effects to give each song a distinctly aquatic feel. If you're interested in some amazing music with intelligent, though-provoking lyrics, check them out. They're my favorite band...ever. I can firmly say that. Each album finds them getting better and better.
Where was I going?
I have a rather sizable collection of music, but most of the time I find I'm only using it to fill up the quiet. It's there, but I'm not giving it real attention. I use it as a token, a perfunctory relationship that I exploit when I need it to do something for me.
And I realize, this is often times how I live my relationship with God. It's always there. I'm surrounded by the idea of God, discussion of God, studying about God, etc. I am in seminary, after all. But so often, I'm just using it as filler, as background noise, instead of really listening, instead of really engaging.
This revelation hurts a bit. It makes me realize that I'm not just here to get a degree, to read about God. I'm here because of a calling, because of my part in an ongoing relationship with Christ. And there are times when I'm just not as involved as I need to be. Instead of putting this relationship on as background noise, I need to listen. I need to engage, to hear what is being said. To respond.
I realized how much I miss it.
I realize also that no matter how much I can get it screwed up, the grace is still there. The music has never stopped playing; notes and lines continue to sound from speakers. But the whole time, the song remained the same.
I just forgot how to listen intentionally.
So I try to listen. To quiet my own noise, and listen.
To quote Thrice:
"I am drowning in a digital sea
I am slipping between the sound
Here my voice goes to ones and zeroes
I'm slipping beneath the sound"
Here my voice goes to ones and zeroes... now maybe I can begin to listen again.