Melody and words have been a powerful influence in my life. As a little girl, I started recording my rambling ideas on a color-coded tape player before I could even read. Since then, writing and music have become a part of my daily life as a music therapist, songwriter and girl who can't keep from singing. A well asked question, a haunting melody--these can transform life from the mundane to the beautiful.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Extraordinary Moments with a Little Help From My Friends

I couldn’t get very far into this musical journey, without visiting the Beatles and one of their most acclaimed recordings Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I picked up a vinyl copy (yes, the black round kind that spin) on a trip to the UK a few summers back. So, tonight I dusted off the record, and dropped the needle to see what this music would stir up.

My introduction to the Beatles involves two very different memories. First of all, my dad would play the records and I remember him teaching me what a "beat" was through those moments as we cranked the music so loud that it would shake the second floor. (sorry mom!) The second part of this introduction was via Sesame Street when I heard the song “Letter B” played by a group of small insects. Way to go Sesame Street for providing humor for adults that was above kids’ heads at the time. Whatever the case, the Beatles have definitely woven their way into my life.

One of the things that is so appealing to me about the Beatles is seeing how those four friends came together, struggles and all, and did life together through their music. On my trip to the UK, I had the opportunity to walk the streets of Liverpool and visit some of the places that inspired some of the most famous songs of the Beatles, everything from the “Strawberry Fields Forever” to a street named “Penny Lane” to the church parking lot where John and Paul first met playing a show for a youth group. What struck me was how ordinary these places were, nothing spectacular, just the everyday lives of normal people. Yet, the way these friends captured their memories, their dreams and transformed it into music was anything short of ordinary. What if Paul had never met John in that church parking lot?

There are so many amazing songs on this album but the one that resonates with me right now is “A Little Help From my Friends.” I find myself sitting on the couch with the singer and wondering, “If you could see all my faults, even if I sang out of tune, would you stay here with me or would you walk out the door?” That is such a hard question to ask because it is hard to ask for help. It is hard to admit that I am not strong enough to handle the messiness of things on my own.

Why are we so afraid to let people in? It seems easier to give love and support to others than it is to receive it ourselves. As a community, as a body of Christ, we are meant to fit together, supporting each other. We need each other. When one falls down, we help each other up. And when we can’t hold ourselves up, we find the hands of friends on either side of us helping us to continue to stand.

The last few months have been particularly hard and yet I have experienced the love of Christ in very real and tangible ways through my friends and family: cards of encouragement, phone calls from states away, text messages just checking in, long walks, coffee dates, prayers in divinely appointed moments, sitting with me as I externally process (again!), listening to yet another song I’ve written, and making me laugh when all I want to do is cry.

Through these seemingly ordinary moments, God is doing extraordinary things to transform us, to bind us together and to help us realize that we are not alone because we can get by with a little help from our friends.

“If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

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