I have found a quiet niche in the building where I work. Okay, it isn’t always quiet. Folks still shuffle by, the elevator churns up and down, doors creek, pin pads blip, and strangers talk and laugh like old friends. But there in the hallway, under the glass canopy with the warmth from the sunlight upon my face, I can spend my lunch hour in quiet, in thought, in prayer, in reading, and sometimes in frivolous text. I love the silence.
But I would be lying if I said I didn’t also love the interruptions. The hallway is open to the first floor atrium, where the piano waits patiently for anyone who’ll grace her keys. When they do, I am never disappointed. I have heard all the classics on my lunch hours–Bach, Beethoven, Mozart; I have heard that Titanic song, Someday My Prince Will Come, the dungeon theme song from Zelda (NES), and such an incredible variety of music that I cannot help but smile. I love the interruptions!
The other day, I was met with a jazz interruption. I enjoy jazz, but I don’t understand it–not one bit. If there is one type of music I am intimidated by, it’s jazz. It’s so free, so fluid and unpredictable. My mom always tells me that she dislikes jazz because it doesn’t move to the same rhythm as her heartbeat. I always tell her that’s the same reason I like it!
I digress. The pianist was playing this incredible piece of light and frollicking music that reminded me of the flurry of sparrows on a spring morning. A woman working in one of the nearby offices came out and leaned against the railing to watch him, then turned to me with a chuckle. “I wasn’t expecting to see a big, burly man in blue jeans and a Tigers hat playing something so light and airy,” she said.
I’ve been thinking about that all week. I laughed with her, of course, because it was sort of a comical image. But why not? Why shouldn’t a big, burly man in blue jeans and a Tigers hat play jazz? Why shouldn’t he play a light and frivolous song on the piano?
It’s all about our expectations, I suppose. So often, we are so consumed with what we expect that we miss the incredible reality in front of us. We expect life to play out in a manner that fits an easy mold–something we understand, something we can make sense of, something we are comfortable with–but it doesn’t. It never does. God has a way of doing things in the way we least expect. We focus so hard on how things ought to look (so we think), and the truth is–life is not simple and easy. Life is messy and complicated, and not one of us has had an easy go of it. Not one of us has perfectly comprehended what God has had in store for us. Not one of us can say we haven’t wondered what God was doing, why things weren’t going “as planned.”
Maybe we look too often to the gift rather than the Giver. If we could shut our eyes for a moment, forget what we think we want, forget what we think we know, forget what what we expect, forget what we desire, forget what we fear, and just soak in the music and the sunlight, maybe we would realize what an indelible gift each day is.