In Search of Better Stories

Songs and Sunsets

I was watching a mediocre movie with my kids. The weak attempts at humour, the lead actor’s clumsy antics, and the sagging plotline had combined to bring me to the edge of deep slumber. Then one of the characters overcomes her fear, takes centre stage and belts out a song. The notes ring out, quiet and insecure at first but then growing in confidence and power until, at last, the girl has me. I am wide awake. This timid singer “Rises up unafraid,” she “moves mountains.” With growing intensity, she croons to her listeners of hope and love, despite “the ache” despite being “broken down and tired”. By the time she finishes I am on the edge of my seat caught up in the inspiration of the moment. `

It’s the end of a long day. It’s been a good one, but we are tired—one final stop before we head home. We have a few minutes to kill while they repair my wife’s bike. The pier is not too far. An out and back should give the bicycle mechanic enough time. We round the corner that will lead us onto the long cement corridor that juts out into the ocean. As we do, we both stop in our tracks.

The sun is speaking, biding us all farewell. Her final wave is one of absolute splendour. People stop and stare, everyone is talking about it, image capturing devices of all sorts come out of pockets and backpacks. This event must be remembered! How many times has she pulled this stunt off in human history? It doesn’t matter. It can’t be ignored. It’s captivating.

Songs and sunsets. They transcend the mundane. The beauty and power they possess take us to places higher, deeper, and further than our mere existence.

It’s not only the words of a song that do it; it’s the way they are sung. It’s not only the colours of the sunset that move us; it’s how they are hung.

What great truth do these observations unlock?

  1. Let there be joy — Never stop appreciating the many wonders of being alive. These moments are the magic that makes life worth living.
  2. Let there be gratitude — Let the wonder transform itself into gratitude. Gratitude is that great elixir that brings healing to our bones. Thank the musician for his song, and thank God for the sunset. If God is not part of the story you are believing, then perhaps he should be.

If the concept of God is just too much for you, clouded, confused, and crushed as it is, with thousands and thousands of years of competing religions. I get it. Perhaps we overthink religion, overthink God. Perhaps with our inborn wiring to figure everything out, we manage to ruin the magic of divinity. If we analyze the technical euphonic progressions of a song or study out the complexities of airborne dust to colour as the sun sinks over the horizon we run the risk of missing the beauty and inspiration of the moment. I suspect we’ve done the same thing with God. So I guess I have one more truth to unlock

  1. Let there be simplicity – If the joy and gratitude that naturally flow from songs and sunsets lead you into contemplations about divine beings, just go with it. If a thank-you wants to escape your lips but you have no God to thank, say thank you anyway. It will get to the right address.
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