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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Melody (08/24/06)

By Marita Vandertogt



So I get on this bus, and drop my coins into the machine, and it leaves the curb with a gush of wind just as I start to walk down the aisle. Inevitably, I lurch forward and grab for the bar almost missing it. Iím not young, so lurching into the aisle is not something I can do with any grace or nonchalant attitude. And as I lurch, Iím thinking, where will I land if my feet decide this isnít something theyíre prepared for. But I catch my balance, secure my purse over my shoulder, and make my way, inch by inch, toward the first available seat.

Which happens to be right next to this kid. Well, to me heís a kid. With an MP3 player sticking out of the top of his shirt, and the plugs in his ears. The music is loud enough for me to hear it, a tiny sound, but I can still hear it. And, as is typical of my age, I wonder what the music must be doing to his ears, though the silver loop earrings probably absorb a lot of it.

So I try to make out what the music is, and I canít. Though thatís not a surprise because I probably wouldnít recognize it anyway, unless it was CW, or 80s, that era.

And then I start to think. This music is going through his head, probably for most of the day and heís listening to someone beller and beat out their idea of life or relationships, probably mostly relationships, and probably not all that positive. And this music is sending him a constant message that he seems to like. And the more I think, the harder I stare at him.

He glances a quick look at me looking at him, and reaches up and pulls the bus chord to let him off. And much to my surprise, and subtle pleasure, he lurches too. But on him, its okay, because heís young. Heís not tripping because he lost his balance. Heís just tripping because heís on a bus that lurched forward. He gets off the bus, without checking the road in front of him as he crosses. The earplugs are still pumping music into his head.

So I think, constant music in his head. Going round and round. Oblivious to life around him. Filling it with ideas that probably arenít his own, and offering him new ones, influencing his perspective, maybe even his life experience. And heís probably not even aware of the influence. Maybe Iím speculating a little too much, or giving the MP3 player more power than it has. A foot is tapping out a beat on my seat from behind. I turn around with the hope of giving a hint that this is annoying me. But all I see is another kid, female this time, with plugs in her ears, snapping gum to a beat. Maybe she just hears the beat and the melody, and doesnít really notice the words at all. The beat and the melody make her feel good, so she listens, to feel good.
And not all music is bad. But it is influencial.

And then I start to think. Am I so accustomed to the beat and the melody of my own Christian ďmusicĒ that I donít hear the meaning of the words anymore either. That I just enjoy it because it makes me feel good. Do I really allow the words to permeate my faith and influence my experience with Him. Or have they just become mechanical in the singing. And is my belief system a song I sing along with now, because itís comfortable? Do I really pay attention to the lyrics God has provided me with to live a strong and powerful life? Maybe the connection between a young boyís MP3 player, and the lyric I allow to influence my own experience is a little stretched here, but hey, call it a lurch in my brain.

I reach up and pull the bus chord, and manage to exit a little more gracefully. But I leave the bus with a little more to think about than I boarded it with.

Is the lyric of my faith real to me? Or is it just a constant melody I enjoy playing in my head.

And is anything wrong with that?

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This article has been read 777 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Rebecca Livermore08/31/06
I think anyone who has ever ridden a bus can relate to the ďlurchĒ you described in the first paragraph! I like the way that you allow your thoughts to turn toward inward examination Ė thatís something we should all experience as we walk with God. I enjoyed seeing that in your story! I would suggest paying attention to the questions you ask, and ending them with a question mark. Good job!
Karie Spiller09/04/06
I liked it. it made me think about my music and what I like about it.
Edy T Johnson 09/04/06
I like your parable-devotional. Such a subtle touch, folks might get the message without realizing it. I like your style!