In this particular entry, I am speaking of the guts of something, not the state of mind.
While we were in Branson, I made one of those random observations, kind of passing, probably to Rod, that turned out to be telling and true and maybe even a little wise.
It was about the state of something. I don’t want to say what. You might be able to guess. But here is the paraphrase:
“Everyone is focused on the person delivering, rather than what they are saying.”
How true is this about so many aspects of current American culture? I mean, while I usually don’t go “there,” we definitely elected a President based on his charisma and outward appeal rather than the meat of what he was saying (not that he has done very much of what he said he would…except, you know, change stuff…)
It’s true in our entertainment, too. People tend to be too lazy or too distracted or too divided in their attention to really get what is being said in a number of media. I read an article this weekend that, while not news, made me both laugh out loud and shake my head at the result of such folly: back when the band Evanescence was new on the main scene, all the rage, and Christian stores were stocking their CD, which in even a casual listen, and definitely in a simple look at their videos, was not Christian music. Simply, they happened to use few key words and phrases that caught the ears of some store owner or promoter who was trying to be cutting edge and then…well, next thing you know, Amy Lee is quoted in Entertainment Weekly telling those store owners how ignorant they are.
For awhile my passion for a life-work kind of ongoing project has been waning. I told myself the payoff was coming, when in fact, the payoff had already come. I’d had some amazing conversations with new people that added to my life in a variety of ways. I learned some stuff. I built a portfolio. ‘Nough said. And while I am not condoning giving up as soon as something stops being fun (the mindset partially responsible for current divorce rates…), I did wonder if I had been wasting my time. Was I pushing too hard? Was being the deliverer of a product more important to me that the product I was delivering?
After several months of contemplating, I believe my answer is no. I am glad for the time I spent building something, even if now I’ve let it go. And while I did not have the time to put my true gifts into it (because my gift, I know, is words…even if my talent was more useful, I’m not as good at it), now I am clear about what is next. I need to write. It is one of the things God created me to do.
But I was not in charge of all the guts of said project. And the guts, per se, had clearly become less important. And the guts, which might be analyzed by few, were important to me. When the guts are no longer healthy, it feels like time to sh…um, to let go of the metaphor and move on.
I am sad that so many people are more interested in the results of a product than in the quality, the guts, the content of what they are presenting. I happen to work near an industry in which ‘shininess’ is often preferred over sincerity, where names mean more than people, where a glass ceiling is acceptable though it is in conflict with the doctrine put forth, where status quo is lauded as innovative in order to keep boats from rocking, where lies are believable as long as the right mouth spews them.
Whether it is a song, a project, a publication, a child you’re raising, or just an encounter with another person, the end result is more than a smear on a canvas. It should have depth. It should last. It should be your best.
My dear friend and mentor Sue presented this in a different light two weeks ago. Her words have stuck with me. It’s easy to communicate. We can talk, talk, talk, Tweet, complain, wax witty, what-have-you all the live-long day. But if we aren’t connecting with anything, we’re basically offering up empty space.
I won’t be satisfied with that. I want to offer something that matters and is lasting, in the words I present, the relationships I keep, and the home I tend…and in the person I am. I fall short of this many times, but God help me to be aware when I do.