The Strings of Life
Pulling the strings of life isn’t a mere feat that each of us could simply master easily. Very recently, I had an argument which made me realize how I have changed so ridiculously. Enlightened, I was sad at how my attitudes have changed and how sensitive my reactions have become. I resolve to get back to the basics. Humility, forgiveness and patience.
While pondering about how much influence others have on my life, I was suddenly given an amazing but simple divine insight. Divine, because in the last two years I had no creative output at all on any form and I am at the moment impoverished with creative inspiration. This might have come from Someone else though I think that most of it came from a faint memory on one of the last few cell meetings I had with Kuya Tram before he went to Malaysia.
I vaguely remember the details but I was 19 that time and it had become apparent that our generation of sod-men have to step out of our comfort zones and start acting like leaders. This requires a step into manhood, where one has to leave all childish institutions behind. That time, it didn’t seem like a challenge at all, perhaps because our minds were not that mature or simply perhaps that we needed to experience it firsthand. I assure you we did, all of us in the cell group. But that’s not what I want to focus on. Leaving one’s childish attitudes behind is not an easy task as to change it overnight. It was a process that we soon found out to be quite a labor.
If there was one thing that changed my entire viewpoint of life, it was Kuya Tram’s revelation of servanthood and humility. The most basic challenge for every boy to become a man lies in this two principles. No one masters both in a lifetime except for Jesus who demonstrated what a true man is and could be. The two words are self-explanatory but to have that ingrained in one’s life is not a simple task. As you grow in your relationship with God, the more you reflect His attributes and character. He can teach us everything we need to know but there is one attribute that requires us to face it alone. Humility. One cannot help but be humbled by the revelation of God’s glory, as Isaiah did experience. But to be humbled by the revelation of the Cross is a totally crushing experience. You will certainly be humbled when you realize that Jesus Himself, Son of God, where everything is created for and in Him, chose to die in your place for the penalty of of all the sins of mankind, that He took your place on that rugged Cross… I cannot totally express it in words. This experience brings about a revelation of true humility, a humility that prompts you to a new revelation of servanthood as well. And I thank God for using Kuya Tram who was able to share that to us.
God is the creator of music and the composer of all. It is natural that He then orchestrates the universe according to His will. This insight that I received attempts to give visual represantation, if not, a narrow one, of the strings of life that we all possess and whom God wants to make beautiful music with.
Our lives consists of a set of strings, each unique and for each set unique for each individual. Each of us create a music with the way we lead our lives. Most often, we are the ones who attempt to orchestrate what life we have. Sometimes the music we create appears beautiful, sometimes it just is ugly. It does not depend on what strings we have, it depends on how the strings are attached, how well that strings are being taken care of, and who exactly is playing them. One of the many strings is our emotion, probably that loudest string in the whole set. We often use it, maximise and make music with it almost all the time. The other prominent string is our thoughts, and this string is just as unpredictable and strong as the string of emotions. Others include our convictions, faith, attitude and may include more.
Most of the strings in life are anchored on our human experience, growing up and all. Some are anchored on childhood memories, good and bad experiences. Some are anchored tightly around people we care about, others are anchored on people we want to follow and imitate. Some are anchored on ingrained principles and beliefs. Most strings though are anchored on our very will and most often are played through our will.
We must be careful where we anchor the strings, where we put our loyalty. Because, when that anchor shatters for some reason, the string immediately loses its capability to produce music. Several strings in my life were rendered inactive instantly when I learned that my dad had died. This includes the string of security, my music of confidence and my concept of safety was shattered. Other strings were paralyzed as well, such as my faith. I am not saying that it is bad to get your strings attached to your dad or to a person, but just make sure that that anchor is double-anchored to Someone else stronger than the anchor the strings were originally attached to.
I often get disappointed when I try to play a guitar whose strings are rusted. Not only are they rough to the fingers, they produce uncontrollable sounds, loud and harsh, and basically not musically good to hear. They are immediately obvious, rusty and brown, corroding… These strings usually are attitude and character and in worse cases the string of emotion. My strings are quite rusted in this case. I sometimes overreact, get impatient immediately and most often try to be self-righteous. One needs to clean the strings all the time, or better have them totally replaced. Because if you leave as it is, in time they will begin to infest other strings as well. That.. can be disastrous. The lack of self-control is certainly a nightmare for anybody. You woudn’t want to be rusty, trust me.
Lastly, who’s playing your strings? Yourself? Your family? Your studies? Your favorite actor? Your secret addiction? Who leads your life? Who makes your music? I kinda laugh at the idea that a person whose music is largely dictated by academics will sound very boring, to the point of just repeating beats and an almost awful reapeating melody, just like a straightforward do-re-mi again and again. I am not against people whose passion is knowledge. I totally respect them. But to some who already sound boring, please make sure you don’t let the books make the most of your life’s music. The one who orchestrates the strings of your life will reflect the kind of life that you will lead. This is where I am faltering. I have strayed from Him too far and I am afraid that a lot of things have taken His place in my life. I fear that I have lost His music, His sound, His voice…
There was a time when I did let God make music in my life. Then some of my strings were rusted and though God really wanted to use me to the fullest, I just can’t make the excellent music I am suppose to play. There came a time as well when all the strings were polished clean but the hand that was playing the guitar wasn’t His. Though the music sounded accurate and good, it was a bit off, selfish, proud and self-righteous. There was also a time when the strings were fine and God Himself was trying to make music, but the anchor for the strings weren’t strong enough to keep playing. Eventually, most of the strings gave in, shattering under extreme tension and if I may say, the almost tiresome everyday religious practice and work. Praying seems to be just another "need to be done" task and not a time for the King. Religiousity kills and its lethal. Make sure that the strings are held in place, by the truth of God’s grace and promises, and by family, biological or otherwise, such as the church.
I want to make sure that the strings of my life are set and ready to make music when the Master wills it. The strings will respond to His call and they will make excellent music. I want to respond to God’s beckoning, and His presence.
As one song did say, "no one can sing of things they have not seen". "God open our eyes towards a greater glimpse". The glory of You, the reality of You and Your sacrifice on the Cross. It brings me back to humility, where the strings of my life are once again at Your call. Humility prepares me, allowing Him to change the strings, clean them and anchor them where they need to be secured, on His Word. There is no greater fulfillment than answering God’s call. There is no greater pleasure and honor than to know that God’s ears are pleased with the music of my life.
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ears Lord.. May the strings of my Life play a sweet song for my King again, to worship you.. to worship in humilty and awe at the feet of Jesus once again..