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How Long Does That Take?

April 24, 2019

 Rebecca Weatherford nudged me in this direction yesterday, for which I’m grateful—-

Some of the best songs are the simplest.

(I know, I know — that’s not an all-inclusive statement; I can name several examples of profoundly complex music and lyrics, same as you…but that’s not where I’m going with this today. Come along for the ride.)

Sometimes phenomenally complicated situations and ideas are best expressed without embellishment.

In those instances the art, the skill, and the gift all lie in the trimming away of the non-essential.

Sometimes the time and effort involved in the process of first producing, and then paring down, are enormous.

But sometimes the actual expression itself arrives in a burst, and all that’s necessary is minimal editing, if any.

There’s a great scene in Ed Harris’ film portrayal of Jackson Pollock in which the not-yet-famous artist sits. And sits. He’s been invited to produce artwork on a wall of a family’s home, but he’s clearly not. At least not yet.

He sits.

And then in a sudden flurry, he leaps up and brilliance flows from him onto that home’s wall.

Something like that is behind the song I quoted here yesterday. It was written by George Matheson just before his sister’s wedding. He himself had previously been engaged, but the wedding was cancelled when his fiancé announced she didn’t want to be married to a man who’d suddenly and irreparably gone blind.

His sister’s wedding ripped open that wound in his heart, and yesterday’s song came out. If you don’t remember it, hit a key or two and go back and read it: Tracing the Rainbow Through the Rain is in my blog of yesterday.

Of that song, Matheson wrote —

“I am quite sure that the whole work

was completed in five minutes, and equally sure

that it never received at my hands

any retouching or correction.

I have no natural gift of rhythm.

All the other verses I have ever written

are manufactured articles;

this came like a dayspring from on high.”

— So how long did it take him to write it? Five minutes? Or the several years of experience that laid the foundation for the completed work?

And what’s going on in your heart, your life, and/or your mind today that is potting soil for a blossom not yet seen?

If our Bibles are correct in saying that God is the potter and we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8), and I believe that to be true, then what is God up to in our situations right now?

Join me in considering these things today.

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