I have been staring at my guitar for a while now and am realizing how much I take for granted the tension of this instrument. When the strings are in tune and someone with talent places their hands to the strings and frets, melodies that will make a person’s heart soar and cry can come forth from metal and wood. What I like to forget is that a piece of metal that runs the length of the neck of the guitar, unseen, is keeping the wood straight which with time and humidity can warp, causing the guitar to become impossible to play and horribly out of tune and the harmonic echoes nearly non-existent. I want beauty from this instrument but it requires a beautiful and very necessary tension, which includes the strings that must be drawn tight, which is exactly how my soul feels right now.
Drawn tight, it is a strange thing to say because a string loose over the sound hole of a guitar will not produce any sound worthy of being noted, it will be flat, it will not hold its own amongst the cacophony of noise…. it must be drawn tight. If music is the purpose of the guitar and the string, it must be pulled taut and sometimes it will be broken but the master luthier knows how to fix such things.
I came to a conclusion this November and it really wasn’t a pretty one, it came back to identity. I have always struggled with negative titles of myself and God has been good to rid me of them, however the negative titles of myself that I have idolized are not the only thing I have been bowing to. Even the positive titles detract from who I really am, identifying myself as anything less than the daughter of the King says the Cross is not enough.
Acknowledgement of my past and shelving it isn’t enough because it still owns a piece of my heart and my God loves me enough to cut away anything and everything that will keep me fully from Him. Which includes positive titles of myself and seasons of grief that I have allowed to rule and breathe fear into my very being.
Historically November has been a month of trials and loss and at some point my fear of what might happen began to rule to the point of me feeling as though I couldn’t breathe and I might possibly snap. Having walked a season of healing and letting go (mostly) it was as though God was asking me to not forget those I have lost in November but actually give them to him. If I truly believe that they are in heaven, then why do I idolize each November as though they must die again?
For none of us live to himself, and none of us die to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then whether we live or whether we die we are the Lords. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living.
He died once and rose, so that they in him could die once and rise again in him.
The grief of losing parts of me and their presence in my life will come at random times, I don’t know that you ever forget these things, but I also cannot place them on the mantle of my idol making heart. That place belongs alone to God and he is asking me to trust him with November. Meaning I am to trust, in him they are safe at home, I am to trust that my pressing into him means I am safe, something I am quick to forget.
God brought these people and circumstances, good and bad, into my life so that I might understand him in a capacity that I may not have been able to do without them. They were not placed in my life to become a focal point of my existence.
I have noticed that when we lose people or things of value in our lives we are handed a book with stages of grief and I think that some get stuck in the grief because the pain becomes familiar and safe. I know that, that was my truth. However rarely have I heard someone say it’s okay to miss them and move on. If I am to be constantly pressing in for comfort from God, than me standing in my grief does not really leave a whole lot of room for Him.
So the master Luthier does what he does best, he gets my attention. He lets a string snap and then replaces it, pulling it tight across the sound hole of the guitar, so that what is played next is a sweet, sweet sound in his ears.
It is the sound of what is sometimes uncomfortable but always necessary, the tension of the strings.