This week I couldn’t help but continue to ponder the abandoned stereo cabinet in the woods. I showed my sister and Sid who so often walk that path with me. They, too, were amazed none of us had noticed it before given its location and the countless times we’d passed that area.
As I studied it more closely, I realized that even though it was made of wood, considering its location, and judging from the condition of the back of it with its contents so disarrayed, the cabinet was not really in such bad shape.
The silent voice in the woods.
How often are our voices silenced? How often are we broken on the inside but look pretty okay on the outside? How often does the brokenness inside affect how we appear, or even interact with others? How often does our brokenness inside affect how we hear ourselves and how we communicate with others? How often do we not use a gift given to us, like the beautiful music those speakers once magnified, and share it with others?
How could one piece of broken furniture inspire so many thoughts???
I am sure that all of these impressions are part of my processing our recent loss of our senior Cantor Phil Bromwell. All of us don’t always use our voices to bless others, not even as we could in normal conversation, let alone with song. Yet for many of us, the way we remember Phil the most is through his incredibly beautiful singing voice, his chanting, his Aaronic benediction over us at so many Shabbat services. There is no doubt he shared the musical gift he was given. And he did so despite his brokenness which ability is only possible through a deep journey, the struggle of life and brokenness we all share, seeking Him, clinging to Yeshua.
How many of us work daily to receive what we are to share? How many of us are willing to fight the fight? And it is. For that is what this life is at times. There are seasons of joy, but over all the challenges that come in a lifetime, fighting for the joy, for good, for Him by serving others, is not an easy path.
We often have small victories, or large, but the key to sustained success is to be driven by serving others with literally the God-given gifts we have received. When we are able to take the focus off of ourselves, off of the suffering we experience, and instead work to serve others, we are then able to push through those hard times. We experience the transformative power of His love.
For when we do so we are living in the way Yeshua modeled, self sacrifice for others. To the contrary, when we allow ourselves to live from points of inner pain, that place can consume us. Thankfully, when we remember that our Abba has our backs, that He will never desert us, are we then able to take the hand of Yeshua to guide us in loving others – the ultimate healing touch for all. Just as the stereo cabinet doesn’t show the expected wear from the harsh elements, so too, Yeshua shields us, protects us, enables us to thrive in spite of our inner weaknesses and challenges, keeping our voices vibrant in Him.
Just show up, despite the challenges and harsh personal and societal realities. If driven by the desire to serve others, not only you will be transformed but so, too, will those you bless.
The abandoned stereo no longer makes music in the way it once did. Perhaps in its broken state its music has shown itself to be the most meaningful.