"No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs." - Psalm 119:54 (CEV)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Part of Me

It tends to happen when I record.

I focus on accompaniments.

I focus on vocals.

I focus on mixing.

I focus on the artwork for the CD.

I focus on recording instead of writing.

More gets done that way.

Still, when I look at the date for my last song and realize that I wrote it about a month ago, I start to question.

When I look at my composition book and realize that I have blank pages to fill, I feel somewhat less than productive.

I know I can't stop writing.  (Believe me, I tried.  I had to know for sure whether or not writing was something I was supposed to do.  I read that trying to stop would give me an answer.  If I could stop, I wasn't meant to write.  If I couldn't, I was.  I didn't even last two days.)

I know that my inability to stop wasn't just some kind of a mistake.  (I've never been as encouraged in my writing as I was after I failed to stop.  Someone offered words of encouragement every day for about a week.  That's never happened before or since.)

Still, the realization that I haven't written in almost four weeks makes me doubt.

Maybe this isn't for me after all.

Then, of course, I look at the evidence and convince my brain that it doesn't know what it's talking about.

My heart, on the other hand, isn't entirely sure, . . .

Especially that part of me that hates to stare at a blank page, that part of me that longs to fill it up.

I was driving to a church service I like to attend with my friends from school on Sunday night.

I had the radio on.

A song I'd heard before began to play.

As I sang along, I found that my mind wrapped around one particular lyric:
" . . . You can make a weak heart stay alive forever."
This reminded me of another lyric from another song:
" . . . love can make a heart that's barely beating
Come alive . . ."
All these thoughts of hearts and how they come alive and are kept alive reminded me of a post I'd read a month ago.

In this post, a young girl accidentally rips the paper heart she'd made to remind her that God's love always surrounds us.  Her mother is afraid that the girl might be upset.  Instead, the young girl says:
“It's okay.  Even when a heart's broken, His love's still around me everywhere.  And maybe the love get's in easier here where it's tore?”
I loved that thought.

I think it's true - His love can get in easier when a heart is torn.

I've felt it before.

Shortly thereafter, the radio was no longer on.

Words were twisting themselves around in my head.

The melody came with the words.

The verses came, then the refrain.

I was writing.

Driving down the road, I went over the lines in my head so that I would remember.

When I arrived and sat down, I opened the "idea notebook" I'd brought with me, the notebook I always write little thoughts and ideas in.

Research, bits of lines, sometimes entire verses and songs are written in this "idea book".

I found a clean page.

I found my pen.

I began to write . . .


The numbers on the screen counted down the minutes - and then seconds - until worship would start.

I rushed to finish so that I would get it all down before I got lost in the music and then the words and forgot what I'd been creating in my head.

I didn't make it.

I missed most of the first song - one of my favorites, too - because I was almost done writing these words.

This, too, is an act of worship:  the use of the abilities God has blessed me with.

I didn't quite finish.  I was missing a couple of words.  I'd left a blank where they were supposed to go.

They came while we were worshiping.

I wrote them down before the sermon.

When I got home, I copied what I had from my "idea notebook" into my composition book.

I had a little left to go.

I "finished" it.  (Not counting the inevitable and neverending corrections, of course.)

It was - is - the second one I've ever written that ended up being three pages long.

I did my "backup" of the song.

As I rewrote it and reread it, I made several revisions.

"Finished" is about as close as I ever come to literally being finished.

I stayed up late, as is typical, reading it until I was relatively satisfied that I couldn't make it much better.

I went to bed feeling as though I'd accomplished something - something I've been longing to accomplish for about a month.

I'd written again.

It certainly wasn't the best song I'd ever written, but that didn't matter.

All that mattered was that I had written.

Every time the words come and send my pencil scratching across the paper, it feels so good.

I feel so blessed.

Blessed to be able to think and process and create in this way.

It feels so right.

Sometimes it happens every day.

Sometimes it happens every few weeks.

Sometimes it happens somewhere in between.

Occasionally, it happens less frequently.

However long it takes for something to inspire me, to make the words and melodies start to come, I always feel incredibly grateful and incredibly blessed.

This - this writing - is a part of me now more than it ever was before.

I can't imagine what my life would be like without it.

I can't imagine who I would be without it.

Thank You, Lord.

The quote " . . . You can make a weak heart stay alive forever." is from the song "The Redeemer", performed by Sanctus Real.  The quote " . . . love can make a heart that's barely beating/Come alive . . ." is from the song "Come Alive", written by Mark Schultz and Matthew West and performed by Mark Schultz.  Many thanks to these people for their inspiring music.

The quote “It's okay.  Even when a heart's broken, His love's still around me everywhere.  And maybe the love get's [sic] in easier here where it's tore [sic]?” is from a blog post by Ann Voskamp, which can be found in part at Ann's website,
http://www.aholyexperience.com/2011/04/if-youre-hearts-breaking-just-a-bit/,and in its entirety at http://www.incourage.me/2011/04/if-your-hearts-breaking-just-a-bit.html.  Many thanks to this amazing writer for touching me with simple truths 
like these and inspiring me in so many ways.

Just a friendly reminder:  The handwritten lyrics in the pictures are copyrighted - ©2011 Mary Schieferstein.

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