Bruce Johnston wrote a brilliant song called “I Write the Songs.” Recorded by Barry Manilow, though popular, lots of people made fun of it and often accused him of hubris, as if in giving voice to Music and telling Music’s story, he was claiming it as his own. He wasn’t. He was worshipful.
I’ve been alive forever, and I wrote the very first song
I put the words and the melodies together
I am music and I write the songs
My home lies deep within you
And I’ve got my own place in your soul
Now, when I look out through your eyes
I’m young again, even though I’m very old
The lowest note ever discovered is 57 octaves below middle C and is a B flat. It is so low, human ears cannot hear it.
Ethan Hawke made this documentary about Seymour Bernstein’s path with music. Music is everywhere. It is in everything. So when people say God is in the trees, and God is in the earth, and God is in the laugh of a child, they are right for each of these is music. Whether they knew it or not, Bruce was telling the story of our Heavenly Father and the story of the universe, and Ethan told the story of one disciple in his search for oneness with it.
Music has been a theme in my life, too. When hearing it, I have to physically move in time to it. I was twenty-nine the first time it knocked on the door to my consciousness and I answered. The story goes like this and has a humorous part.
My neighbors were leaving for mid-summer vacation. They have a piano. The woman said, “Angela, feel free to come play while we’re gone.”
Air conditioning off, the house was stifling. I sat at the piano, not really knowing how to play but knowing I must. I lifted the lid. Chose one note. Then another and another. Keeping some. Rejecting others. Choosing the order in which they would sound, and how quickly they would enter or leave my stage, until finally after two hours…there it was: a theme with variations.
Sweating profusely, wiping it from my eyes, I played my theme and variations over and over, then after about another half hour or so, it was done. I sat at the piano feeling this connection with a thing that I now know to be God, and I closed the lid. I did not play that piano again. The emotional journey at the time was too painful, and Music said, “I’ll visit another time” and walked out the door back to my subconscious.
Here’s the humorous part. The family came home and my phone rang. The woman said, “We’re looking at your boohiney right now.” It seems that my sweat melted the varnish on the stool and dried in the shape of my backside. They weren’t happy, but what could I do?
Music began knocking again…and I ignored it until one day it tried to kill me. In order to survive I finally opened the door and let it in.
Now, Music has a home in me.
With that, maybe God does, too.