If We Die, I Guess Not

A friend asked me last week if I still felt “called” to music. We’ll see.

In 1 Samuel 14 there’s this odd story about how Jonathan discerned God’s will. The Israelites were huddled under a tree with their king and high priest. The enemy is looking down on them from the ridge above, laughing at them, cursing their God. The priest is praying under the tree, asking God if he’s calling them to attack his enemies.

Jonathan and his servant sneak off and start climbing the ridge, shimmying up to start a fight. The odds aren’t good: Two against hundreds.

Jonathan doesn’t know, anymore than the priest waiting under the tree for a divine invitation, if God wants him to fight. But he can’t wait.

He says to his servant, “Perhaps the LORD will act on our behalf.”

Jonathan seems to be saying Well, if we win it was God’s will. If we die, I guess not.

I can’t write like I used to. Back then, before I had three kids and officed out of my house, I could pound away on a guitar and piano all day and even into the night until I had ten songs I loved enough to share with the world. It took time. Lots and lots of uninterrupted time. Time and quiet and space are luxuries I just don’t have anymore.

So what happens is I get an idea and start chasing it. I get a great melody formed and maybe a fragment of lyric and then I’m asked to play Skipbo, or a five year-old walks in and wants to play Twinkle Twinkle with me, or a blogger calls me back about going on the next trip, or I remember I need to mail out CDs or fax that contract, or someone’s taking a nap so I need to keep it down or…

For five years now I’ve used the pace of life as a dad and blogger and self-managed indie artist as an excuse for not writing more often and better. I’ve been waiting for a great song to just miraculously happen between this or that. But no more.

I’m co-writing for the first time ever really. I’m reaching out to the best writers I know and asking them to help me climb the ridge. I’m hoping two brains in a room away from my house can fight better than my brain alone in my office. We’ll see what God’s calling me to.

According to Jonathan, if I fail it’s not music.