Saturday, October 23, 2010


I’ve read that author Stephen King listens to heavy metal music while writing in the morning. Why is that not surprising?

Sometimes, I listen to music while I do other things.

But it occurred to me that most people would says something like this: “I listen to music while I work around the house.” For me, it’s more like this: “I work around the house while I listen to music.” I know they seem kind of like the same thing, but they aren’t.

When I listen to music, I listen to it. In fact, I have a really hard time not listening to it. It is a genuinely compulsive response. If I’m driving somewhere with people and they have music on in the car, then I can have a hard time keeping up with the conversation because I’m listening to the music. And I’m not sure how they are managing to not listen to the music.

When music is playing, I’m compelled to listen to it, which makes it hard to focus on other things. So while I’m doing things that take very little thought, like driving or working in the yard, I like to listen to music because I can really listen to it. But if I’m doing something that actually takes some thought, like my work, or reading, or talking to people, I can’t stand hearing music in the background because I’m not supposed to be listening to it, and it becomes a major distraction for me.

Imagine you love chocolate cake. It’s your favorite dessert. And while you’re having a conversation with someone, they have a freshly made chocolate cake suspended with wires between the two of you as you talk. You have to look over it slightly to see the face of the other person. It’s still slightly warm, so the aroma is floating in the air. And the frosting is just perfect. You haven’t had any chocolate cake in a long time. In fact, you missed dinner, so you’re really hungry anyway. And there is this cake, right in front of your face, while they try to talk to you about something important. You feel guilty, because you’re trying to listen, but you can’t help it. You are distracted by the cake.

Your cake is like music to my ears.

I want to pay attention. I want to listen. I want to focus on the people around me. I want to have empathy for people and really understand them. But, for me, that can be challenging sometimes. And it’s not just the music. It’s life. The wants and needs of one person can distract us from the wants and needs of another. The needs of one child can keep you from seeing the needs of another. Our own wants and needs get in the way too. Good things can keep us from seeing other good things.

I have no resolution for this.

Proverbs 4:20-22
Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2010

1 comment:

  1. A conundrum to be sure...and I'm right there with you. Music...sometimes is what I want more than any other other words necessary.

    Good, thoughtful post. :)


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