There are lyrics that languish within the unfathomable corridors of the soul, lyrics that are longing for release. Deep within all of us, there is music shaped by the rhythms of our lives, and that music and those lyrics often remain hidden, unknown and untouched.
The irony is that there is a desire to give birth to the harmonies that make us whole, but it is the labor and delivery that causes us to cringe. Pain is the resented midwife that makes giving birth to the music, the melody and the lyrics so unpalatable.
Pain is so despised that there are those who would rather recycle familiar rhythms than launch out into the deep unknown, where new melodies reside. It is one of the supreme tragedies of life when individuals are so enamored of avoiding pain that they miss the opportunity to tap into what may be lying dormant in the soul.
I know this sounds strange or absurd to some, but in my life, pain has been a constant companion, Once I got past the years of resentment, I learned that there are times when pain and painful experiences can be the conduit to hidden treasures that my soul was yearning to reveal.
Isn’t it amazing how revelations from the soul often come on the heels of experiences that have no reference point in our past? It is as if the deep places within, where new music resides, are best experienced in moments where there are no security blankets or familiar hiding places. Unfamiliar and uncharted pain often serves as an escort to those deep places within.
I recently spent a week in a North Carolina hospital suffering from what is known as an MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) infection. There was bacteria in my blood and an infection in my leg. The experience was extremely painful, and now I must receive antibiotics intravenously for two weeks.
I have never experienced anything quite like this and there were moments when I wrestled with the absurdity of the whole situation; I had simply gone to North Carolina to preach, and two days later I found myself in the hospital battling a life-threatening infection.
I suffer from sarcoidosis and have spent much time in hospitals, but this was altogether different–my life was in jeopardy and I was straining to make sense of what was happening. It was in the moments of praying and groping for understanding that I came to realize that maybe this experience was not to be understood, but experienced.
How often have we had experiences that could have yielded transformative fruit, but we missed the moments of transformation and revelation because we were busy trying to make the situation make sense? In the process of trying to rationalize the experience, we missed the power of the experience. So there I was in the hospital bed, alleviated of any obligation to make sense of my condition, and I mustered the courage to experience the experience.
Now that I am back home and in recovery, I still trust that on the other side of this experience, my soul will yield music and lyrics that only my pain could have birthed. C.S. Lewis once wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience but shouts in our pains–it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” God, I’m listening!