For Those In A Rut: What I Learned From Two Songs

This is part one of a series about some personal jams of mine that fully encourage me to persist in my overall life mission. Yes, these songs address troubles. However, the troubles mentioned are very much outshined by proactive responses, which involve embracing these difficulties while refusing to be overcome by them.

1. "Lemons" by Joseph Vincent

It's time to jump ship
No I can't let it sink
I'm the captain gotta stay on board
no matter what you think
Imma steer it through
Calm before the storm
Now the waves are crashing
Never panic, time to soar

Just gotta focus on now
Yeah I'm breaking on through
With the lies all around me
I just gotta find the truth
It was never 'bout me
cause I did it all for You
Gotta take advantage
of whatever happens now...

Not only is this song catchy; its lyrics are super motivational. It reminds me of a revelation I had last semester about reality:

In every present moment, God gives us each a part of reality to administer, whether it be a mission to serve, a problem to solve, a hardship to bear, etc. These tasks are much easier when we do them for Him (rather than for ourselves or for other creatures) in the manner of which He has called upon us. When I dedicate my life to this, I am building a part of God's kingdom that only my hands can produce with His grace. I often feel so incompetent because I get so consumed in parts of reality that — at this place in my life — are not my own. I kick myself for my past failures and wallow in distress. I try to determine where my future is headed. Most of all, I get so caught up in trying to figure out others' "reality assignments," thoughts and situations, when that truly was never any of my business. I have allowed these habits to become hindrances to my calling today.

I bet you've heard of the serenity prayer...

Accepting what you have determined you have no control over means not focusing on it. It means not allowing it to interfere with your goal of changing the things you can. If you feel, however, that your concerns are not in vain, entrust the situations to God in prayer instead of trying to figure them out yourself. Only He knows all of the ins and outs of these conditions and what needs to be done about them. Then recall who you are and return to the duties He has entrusted you for today, trusting in Him the whole way through. In other words, do as Joseph Vincent says:

Oh I've seen some better days
This one's for the books
I'mma take it as it is
never give a second look
No I won't ever let
Anything block my way
'Cause Imma take those lemons
and make some lemonade!

2. "The Wheel" from the musical, Tuck Everlasting

In this song, Angus Tuck is explaining to Winnie the value of her mortality by contrasting her way of life with the one he and his family have been forced to live (since they had drunk from the spring that made them immune to aging and death). He acknowledges that this world is not meant to be our home, so we ought to move and change with it, cherishing the gift of leaving it behind:

Not a minute or moment is the same
The wheel keeps you guessing
And everything around you is along for the ride
The pond, the bullfrogs, the birch trees, and hound dogs plus people, all people ebb and flow
With the tide, tide, tide,
It’s a wheel, Winnie,
A ripple in water
Girl to wife to mother to daughter
Like all you kinfolk
Come and gone
Can’t stop rowing, growing, changing then moving on

I don't know why it was exactly that I decided to listen to this particular song again (as it has been about a year and a half since I saw the musical's debut production in my hometown), but I am glad I did. Because this song made me realize how often I live as if I were a Tuck.

Once you drop an anchor, the boat gets stuck, and it could stay forever, just floating on top... Watching life pass it by, just floating up top. That's what us Tucks are, just floating stuck.

I wait around for certain hopes to be fulfilled as if I am not aging. As if I exist for this life. As if the details of my journey are more important than my destination. As if I am actually going to think the delays and the detours mattered once I have reached the summit. Now, when I catch myself in that idle mindset, I think back on what the professors and graduates and upperclassmen at my university keep saying: "These four years are really going to fly by, so cherish them while they are here." I think about the kind of character I strive to develop upon graduation, recognizing that every question, every responsibility, every obstacle, every moment is a piece of that puzzle to be embraced. And I remember how we "can't stop rowing, growing, changing, and moving on."

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