Overflowing with Song

Dallas: Columbus Day Weekend, 2010. Cue the dramatic music. The theme to Chariots of Fire will do nicely; if you’re really into the Olympics, you can picture Mr. Bean playing an accompaniment.

It was the National Protestant Women of the Chapel conference and literally, hundreds of women stood between me and the bathroom. I nudged, scooted, and politely pardoned myself through a few dozen, but suddenly the weight of life descended on my bladder. Woah, Nelly. Something had to be done. It was time to go Mosaic on these chicks.

“And behold, she raised her head to the heavens, grabbed her belly and in a loud voice cried out ‘Excuse me! I’m pregnant and really need to get to the bathroom, please!’ Thus, the sea of humanity parted and she walked across dry carpet to the place God promised to those who love him.” Amen.

Without needing to turn a staff into a serpent, the crowds parted and I booked it to the restroom. Anyone who has tried to look natural while power-walking into a restroom will agree that relief is the operative word. After opening a bathroom door and seeing a clean commode, all conversational niceties of seeing a familiar friend suddenly apply:

“I am so glad you were available!” “It’s so nice to see you!” “It’s been too long!” “I’m so thankful to see you!” “See you soon!”

In my particular instance, the first stall to open was at the very end of the room. As I sat and tried not to heave a sigh of relief too loudly, I heard a clear, vibrant voice coming from the stall to my left. The voice belted, “I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me! It raised the dead to walk and the blind to see!…I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me!” 

I sat rather stunned for a second, but then decided to seize this (perhaps?) once in a lifetime opportunity. Loud and proud I added, “Spring up oh well- splish splash! In my soul!” I started laughing and asked the person next to me to please wait after washing her hands so that I might gaze upon the great Crooner of the Commode. She did, but looked at me like I was the weird one. I didn’t see the singer again, sadly. I was hoping for an encore of Deep and Wide or Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. Although I don’t personally lead public restroom sing-a-longs, I think I would favor the Doxology. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”

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I suppose I’ve made some of you rather uncomfy…sorry about that. I’ll spare a square as well as other hilarious stories that take place in restrooms. (Potty humor will forever be with me as long as there are males in the home, I am quite sure.)

Imagine how odd it would be to go through a day without music of any kind. No playlists, radio, commercial background music or movie scores. I doubt we’d make it more than a few hours without humming or singing a tune.

The fact is, the ability to express oneself through music is an amazing human trait. Some animals do have some musical qualities, but the scale of expression and personality in the music that enriches our lives in incomparable. There is no decisive and proven reason why humans sing and love music, but it is natural. Not everyone has natural ability, but music is somehow etched onto the soul.

Case in point: during the 2010 deployment, I ‘read’ a recordable Hallmark book next to my expanding waistline almost nightly so he could know his father’s voice. After my son’s rather traumatic arrival, my husband was at his side through a series of tests, some of which showed dangerously low levels. As he talked to our son, the heart rate monitor showed more even beats. Then my husban bent over the little plastic container and sang to his son. The levels began to stabilize and the heart rate became constant. He not only knew his father’s voice, but felt the precious peace of a song that springs from devoted love.

As Texans know from our beloved yellow rose, “Deep within my heart there’s a melody.” Often, singing is an outpouring from what is contained in us, be it is joy, sorrow, or any emotion in between. The Bible records hundreds of instances where people are so overcome with praise that they play music or sing to the Lord. Likewise, there is sorrowful with the wailing and dirge singing of those in great pain.

I find that when the heart overflows, music (and sometimes dancing) will result. For every emotion, experience, or occasion, there is some kind of song. The Gospel of Matthew records Jesus saying, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”. While this is true, the overflow of the heart also leads to singing.

What is your heart overflowing with today? Joy? Sorrow? Frustration? Weariness? Apathy? We get songs stuck in our heads, but what songs are stuck in your heart? What are the melodies and lyrics that are etched on you?

When it comes to time with the porcelain throne, I’ve overheard my share of ‘communing with the Lord’ from people in various degrees of composure. Those who cry out to the Lord from the restroom are usually more likely to have a stomach bug than a rejoicing heart–Hence my surprise when her ‘outpouring’ was joined by one of praise and pun in a rather ordinary instance. Yet I take a lesson from my surprise serenade; sometimes the best outpouring we can offer is not a status update or a quick e-mail; sometimes it is letting the song in our hearts out. However, you might check for feet in the next stall.

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