Skip to main content

Wednesday's Word: St. George Station

I am riding the subway late in the morning. My earbuds are in and I am listening to Mute Math and Sufjan Stevens, thinking about the book I began while waiting for the train.

It is about the concept of story, and the lessons learned by a writer that not only affected how he viewed story-telling, but his very life. Our lives, after all, are no more than stories lived out in reality. We are both author and protagonist, creator and character.

I am mulling over what it means to have an over-arching narrative to my life story, and whether it is important that the things I do connect to one another. Is there a meaningful plot unfolding in my life? Is it possible or even desirable to draw the lines and form a picture from the uncertainty that I live in?

Changing trains at St. George Station, I start down the corridor toward the Yonge-University-Spadina line. My music is not loud in my ears – it never is – and as I approach the corner, I make out the metallic rhythms of a steel drum.

The thought occurs to me that the song in my ears will wait, but I will only have thirty seconds or so to listen to the hammered melody that is slowly growing louder. Popping out my earphones, I catch a three note progression that sounds familiar. Another five notes, and I'm confident that I know this song.

I walk taller, breathe slower; the tension leaves my shoulders. I feel a familiar sensation at the corners of my eyes and blink rapidly.

The joyful rhythm of a single steel drum echoes throughout the long corridor. Only a few other passengers are walking here, and none of them show the slightest recognition or interest in the song that fills the air.


How great Thou art
How great Thou art
Then sings my soul
My Saviour, God to Thee
How great Thou art


Reaching into my purse, I cross over to the musician's side of the hallway. I pause to drop some money in his case, and for a split-second, think I will cancel my appointments, call in to work and stay here all day, watching his mallets flick up and down.

He smiles at me.

"It's a beautiful song,” I say, returning the smile.
"Yes, it is,” he nods. I turn and continue walking, leaving my earphones out until the last hints of refrain are overshadowed by my arriving train.

Then sings my soul
My Saviour, God to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
How great Thou art




(Later, I tell a friend what happened, how I was moved to tears and filled with joy at the same time. I tell her about the book, and and how this moment seemed so disconnected from any potential plotline, but yet filled with beauty and significance.

"So does story matter, or not?” I wonder at the end, “And if so, what was that all about?”

"This wasn't a plot moment,” she answers confidently, “It was a relationship moment.”

"I look at her quizzically.

"It was you and God, sharing a moment. Building your relationship. Enjoying each other. And that's the most important part of your story.”)

Comments

MLW said…
I agree with your friend and would make the observation, maybe God was telling you that in you story (and that of all Christ followers) our great God is the beginning, the end, the unfolder, the writer and more. I believe God spoke an answer to your questions. How great and awesome He truly is!
Sarah said…
Love it!
nadine said…
I love this. All of it. But you already know that.
Anonymous said…
Beth! Where are you!? I was in St. George Station two nights ago!

What are you up to these days? :P
Beth said…
paulman, i'm back in vancouver, but i was in T. for a few days...this was actually last thursday.
Anonymous said…
Ah, I see. Thanks for the response :)

Popular posts from this blog

What About Travis!?

I just watched Hope Floats, the second movie in my I-really-need-to-vegetate night. Now that we have more than three channels, there are so many quality programs on TV! Like movies in the middle of the week. I enjoyed many of the lines in this movie, including:

"I went home and told my mama you had a seizure in my mouth."
(referring to her first french-kissing experience)

"Dancing's just a conversation between two people. Talk to me."
(the conversation in our living room then went,
Girl 1: Only Harry Connick Jr. could say that line without it being incredibly cheezy.
Boy: Without it being cheezy? That's all I heard. Cheez, cheez, cheez.
Girl 2: Yeah, but it was sexy, sexy cheez...sigh.)
"Better do what she says, Travis. Grandma stuffs little dogs."

Bernice: At home we had a pet skunk. Mama used to call it Justin Matisse. Do you think that's just a coincidence? All day long she would scream, "You stink Justin Matisse!" Then one day she just…

I Like to Keep My Issues Drawn

It's Sunday night and I am multi-tasking. Paid some bills, catching up on free musical downloads from the past month, thinking about the mix-tape I need to make and planning my last assignment for writing class.

Shortly, I will abandon the laptop to write my first draft by hand. But until then, I am thinking about music.

This song played for me earlier this afternoon, as I attempted to nap. I woke up somewhere between 5 and 5:30 this morning, then lay in bed until 8 o'clock flipping sides and thinking about every part of my life that exists. It wasn't stressful, but it wasn't quite restful either...This past month, I have spent a lot of time rebuffing lies and refusing to believe that the inside of my heart and mind can never change. I feel like Florence + The Machine's song "Shake it Out" captures many of these feelings & thoughts.

(addendum: is the line "I like to keep my issues strong or drawn?" Lyrics sites have it as "strong," …

Simone Weil: On "Forms of the Implicit Love of God"

Simone Weil time again! One of the essays in Waiting for God is entitled "Forms of the Implicit Love of God." Her main argument is that before a soul has "direct contact" with God, there are three types of love that are implicitly the love of God, though they seem to have a different explicit object. That is, in loving X, you are really loving Y. (in this case, Y = God). As for the X of the equation, she lists:

Love of neighbor Love of the beauty of the world Love of religious practices and a special sidebar to Friendship
“Each has the virtue of a sacrament,” she writes. Each of these loves is something to be respected, honoured, and understood both symbolically and concretely. On each page of this essay, I found myself underlining profound, challenging, and thought-provoking words. There's so much to consider that I've gone back several times, mulling it over and wondering how my life would look if I truly believed even half of these things...

Here are a few …