Sunday, May 20, 2012

Light Bulb

A few months ago my adorable 14 year old son Andrew competed and made it into the All District Band. Winning this honor earned him an all expense paid trip to Kennadale Texas on one of the school’s finest buses. Once there he would practice all day with a guest conductor and then play in a concert that night. Being the dedicated Band cheerleader that I am (we have our own uniforms, cheers  and everything, think Will Ferrell and Cheri O’Terri singing to the Farmer’s Insurance jingle “we are Band Nerds, duh duh duh duh duh duh duh)  we loaded up the trusty family vehicle, plugged in our GPS, and started out on the three hour trip to the concert.

We live at least an hour in any direction from civilization and so when we have the opportunity to get to the big city a stop at Costco is essential . I must have shredded cheese in 5 pound bags and can’t live without the 102 count toilet paper they sell there. I reluctantly admit that I can become a little crazed in that store and my hubby, who I affectionately refer to as “Buns”, has from time to time had to come after me and begin intervention techniques to get me out of there. “Breathe deeply Brenda, think of our kids, we really don’t need another case of couscous in food storage.”  He was not on this trip but I managed to leave spending only $14,000. A deal if you ask me.

With the stop at Costco cleared, (there was even a few inches of empty space to see out of the back window) we continued on down the road. It was at this time that my aging GPS unit had a mental break down and decided it didn’t know where it was going. Apparently the city planners in the Dallas Fort Worth metro area had neglected to send  it the memo about the new freeway they were building. Anyway, it indicated that I should make a right turn directly into a bridge pylon and then led us on a very interesting tour of what one could call “the hood”.  I appreciated its thoughtfulness in getting us so close to the graffiti artwork and the bullet holes in the buildings, and that young man with all the necklaces was quite friendly as he waved to us but I’m not really sure that gesture was he was making was suitable for a ‘G’ rated audience.

As much as I enjoyed this new experience I became aware of something I had long suspected about myself. I couldn’t find my left elbow without a GPS. Luckily my sister, who had finally stopped hyperventilating and was a little better at navigation, turned us around and helped me to finally make it to our destination.   

We made our way into the auditorium and were immediately assaulted by the organized crime rings that run the souvenir booths at these events. They sell shirts, hats, and participation plaques at prices that would make Donald Trump drop dead from sticker shock. The whole racket operates on the principle of guilt. “You are a bad parent if you don’t buy this junk for your kid, to be supportive you must spend your entire retirement savings on a ‘Baritones Rule’ trucker hat. All the other parents are doing it. Won't you?”

Defeated and with hat and plaque in hand we were finally seated. We waved to the other band parents, took pictures of Andrew sitting on stage, and then the lights went down. The crowd sat in the dark in anticipation.

Then something incredible happened.  

The conductor walked onto the stage and intuitively you noticed there was something different about him. He was a large man in a black suit, he said a few words about how much he had enjoyed working with the kids that day, and then he took his place at the conductor’s stand. He tapped his baton a few times and the kids all straitened in their chairs. There was a look of concentration on all of their faces but what was unusual was the smiles on the faces of every single member of that band. Without fail as I scanned this large group of kids from all over the state you could tell they were happy and completely in the moment.

The conductor raised his arms and the music began. As he directed his entire body became involved. His head bobbed, his hips bounced, his foot tapped. The sound coming from those kids as this was going on was beautiful but the energy that was emanating out of the man in black filled the entire room. It was absolutely joyous and it was almost as if you could see the light of inspiration beaming strait down from the ceiling and into his head. He was then taking that light and projecting it out of every pore in his body. It lifted those kids and the audience almost out of their seats. It was breathtaking.

After the first song concluded and I came back to my senses, I began to have a thought. “Here I am, frazzled from shopping and getting lost, tired from all the driving, and yet I’m having a truly spiritual experience at an 8th grade band concert. Man, life is full of unexpected wonderful moments."

Then the light bulb went off in my head.

The reason this guy was having such a profound effect on everyone around him was that he had a talent given to him from God. He had taken the time to study and develop that gift. He then he took that knowledge and ability and used it to teach others. In doing this he had figured out a basic truth, that when you find whatever it is God wants you to do and then choose to develop that gift to help others, you can become a literal window for the light of heaven to shine through. You can change the world for good even if it is only for 32 minutes of a middle school band concert. Although, somehow I think that particular man has had a much more far reaching effect in the course of his life.

The phenomenal thing about truths like this is that it applies to everyone. We can find the gifts that God has given us whether it is in music or science or in the ability to listen to others, in art or organization or being a great parent,  it can be in any of the billions of ways we can be of service to our fellow man. In each of those things we find the gift, we study and develop, and then we too can allow the light of heaven to shine through us. The result is joy for us and those we serve.

There was a quote I read once by Marianne Williamson that speaks to this.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” 

It’s in you and it’s in me, so let’s get out there and shine.



Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

1 comment:

Comments are the bee's knees! Thanks for sharing.

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