Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"Just Say Yes"

I didn't think I would write any posts about music since it is often different things to different people. Some people prefer the melody, the musical talent; others ache for the words, taking comfort in their sentiment.  Some music is for dancing or for nights spent around a smoky fire with a drink. Some music is made to stir your soul. A good song can make the world seem brand new.  Music seems endless.

So you see, the list is simply too long. Writing about music is like writing about the ocean.  Where could I even begin? Here you discover one of my faults- my absolute annoyance with things that cannot be grasped wholly.  Music, the ocean…the love of God.  And yet, the things that make me feel the smallest, the most insignificant, are always my favorite things. They are the only places I find rest.

When I first wanted to post about this particular song, my initial thought was, “That’s dumb. No one will get it.”  Or even, “No one will treasure this song the way you do.” For me, attachments to songs or experiences with certain songs can be deeply personal. We all have them: the song that plays randomly on the radio that just sends silent tears down your face; the song that awakens memories so deep you forgot you kept them; the song that brings a certain face to mind, a certain time.  Often, only you can really understand the complexity of what a song means to you.

I need not capture the vastness of the ocean to understand its beauty; that can be seen in a single wave, a tiny shell. I certainly can’t wrap my head around the love of God. Each day reveals a new way He has no conditions. I could only ever share moments, precious and almost unspeakable, of how He lets me see it sometimes. Just because I can’t describe its entirety doesn’t make the pieces any less real. So I write this post with that peace…that even if I can’t get my whole point across to everyone… this piece of music is important to me. And if you’re reading this, I must be, in some way, important to you.

“Just Say Yes,” by Snow Patrol, will forever be tied to memories of this time in my life. I can’t stop listening to this song. I’m sure friends who have seen me lately will laugh. I’ve annoyed them enough, playing it over and over, saying, “Guys have you heard this song? Shhh, listen to the words! Listen!”

Yet more than wishing whoever I marry sings this song to me as he proposes (which is half way a joke), this song really touches me for a few reasons.  Do yourself a favor. Get past the techno background, close your eyes and let this song take you. Don’t even watch the video.  Just soak it in, and then come back to me.

I just listened again and I’m probably still crying for the hundredth time over this song. I agree, it’s not the best song ever.  It sure isn’t Les Miserables level or worthy of in-depth analysis. But right now… the words, “Just Say Yes,” mean more to me than most other words.

I have a general proclivity to be a negative person. Probably because my personality hinges on practicality and we live in a strange world.  I like to think of myself as a worst-case scenario optimist. That being said, I think this song completely rips my heart out because it reminds me of all the things I respond to negatively.

“No” is a pretty useful word. It lasted through high school and college. No, I don’t want to try those drugs, thank you. No, I don’t want two pieces of cheesecake…I mean, I do….but no. No, I’m not going to take part in something I disagree with.  It should be the only word that friends or significant others need for your point to be heard.

I say no to a lot of things. Sometimes out of prudence, sometimes out of selfishness, and sometimes out of fear.

“Just say yes. Just say there’s nothing holding you back.”

Gosh. It hurts. It kills me. The things that hold me back. There are too many to list.

Yet, even more dangerous than saying no, are the times I simply fail to say yes. I want to say yes.

Yes, God you are enough. Yes, I believe I am good. Yes, I believe I am beautiful and loved. Yes, I will give up my life to serve you. Yes, I will try every day to love like you. Yes, I am thankful for my life. Yes, I have joy.

Instead, sometimes my days look more like this:

God, where the heck are you?  I wonder if I’ll always be so bad. Things will be better when I lose those last 20 lbs, get a tan and my hair grows back out. I can’t decide if I want to serve you or give up this crap and make a lot of money. Most people annoy the hell out of me, but I’ll be nice because that’s objectively right and I don’t want other people to think I’m mean.  My closet is full but I want new clothes. Sometimes, I wish He hadn’t made us at all because I don’t see the point.

There’s a pretty stark difference there. Realistically I’m somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. But right now, at a time when my life is full of uncertainty, it’s the scariest thing to say yes. Commitment is scary; giving up control is scary; believing in something bigger than ourselves is scary.  Self gift without reserve, without expectation- it’s the point of our lives and the one thing I’m most afraid of.

Let me end on the clear note that this song, though perfect, is not about any person for me. I’ve had the privilege of loving great men, that’s for sure. But bigger than that, and completely outside of myself, this song encourages me to say yes to God. Yes to communion. Yes to love.

It’s an invitation to trust. Sometimes people say, “don’t ask why,” regarding suffering in our lives, big and small, but I think that’s crap. Ask Him why every day; just be prepared that the answer is always the same, and sometimes that knowledge will lead you down paths you don’t really want to travel, but won’t be able to resist. 

“It’s so simple and you know it is. You’re the only way to me, the path is clear. This was all I wanted, all I want.”



  2. GReat post. Crappy song. You're right, Les Mis is way better. And I was just singing my heart out to it in the car not that long ago. Every Les Mis song is better than that song.