It is a chilly evening as I zip up my coat and head to the studio after work. I am documenting my husband’s progress on his new music album and the last player is recording tonight.
The cellist is our friend and he is amazing. When good players perform they make you smile. When great players perform they make you want to happy cry.
I come in the door on their break – taking pictures and listening to mixes. I hold my breath when they push record so I won’t be overheard. I would have held my breath anyway. John is gifted.
The sound of the bow stirs up emotion. Those strings are me this week. A bow of pressure and demands. Disappointment. Ruined things. Feeling like I am not getting anywhere.
Although it was a decade ago, nothing can blur the memory of the school parking lot lit up with police lights. A little over half-way into my first year teaching, a 12-year-old had committed suicide. I was never the same. I taught him music. I held his silver folder in my hand – with his name on it. I didn’t quite know what to do. Throwing away the folder seemed wrong. I saved it for years as a reminder that labels matter.
We say our peace, but the words live, breathe, and ripple in the mind of the hearer. What words did that boy hear? Nerd? Loser? This week another student died in my town, allegedly from bullying. A broken, lost world. More labels, more ripples.
Is the faith community sad? Are we outraged? Apathetic? Is it someone else’s problem?
How do we contribute to the labels of the world? Maybe we haven’t whispered “geek” or “jock” but we have our own labels. We have “divorced”, “single”, “working mom”, “homeschool family”, “married without kids”, “influencer”, “poor”….The broken world hurts and we huddle together tired and weary with those in our “group”, with those who “get us.” Those outside the group become their label, not individual, priceless works of art created by God. Labels make it is easier to stereotype, ignore, or bully. We have dehumanized precious souls.
Recently a new friend asked us, “So what’s your story?” Refreshing water. Ripples.
God help us see the story, see the person, and forgive us for the way we mistreat each other.