My husband and I listen to music in completely different ways. He listens to the lyrics and the message of the song right from the start. I, however, hear the beat, the instruments, the melodic intervals, and the words, but often ignore the meaning of the lyrics altogether. It isn’t until I force myself to hear every word and consciously pay attention to the message that I really understand what the artist is trying to say.
Recently, my husband and I attended a sold-out Mumford and Sons concert. One of my favorite songs that Marcus Mumford and his British rock band performed that night is called “Roll Away Your Stone.” Now, as previously mentioned, I normally just listen to the harmonies in music (and Mumford and Sons boast the most beautiful harmonies). However, the lyrics to this particular song resonated with me profoundly.
“Roll away your stone I will roll away mine
Together we can see what we will find
Don’t leave me alone at this time
For I am afraid of what I will discover inside
You told me that I would find a home
Within the fragile substance of my soul
And I have filled this void with things unreal
And all the while my character it steals”
Why is it that so many of us are afraid to embrace and discover our true selves? In this age of Facebook and Instagram, where our lives are displayed through flattering filters and selfie snaps, perhaps we are “filling voids with things unreal.” I admit I crave the “likes” as much as the next person. I find myself feeding my self-esteem through positive comments from others. So how do I keep this accolade addiction from stealing my character?
I’m not sure that I have the correct answer to this question. I’m a first-born girl, a rule-follower, and an overachiever. I’m not sure that I will ever be able to stop craving praise and positive feedback. However, what I can adjust is where I roll my stone.
When Kathie Lee Gifford gave tribute to her late husband on The Today Show last August, she told a story that moved me so deeply. She said that her husband, Frank Gifford, would show off to his houseguests, not football trophies or Emmy awards, but a stone he gathered from The Brook of Elah, when he visited The Holy Land. Then, when Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford’s children graduated from college, they were each given a stone. Frank Gifford asked his children where they intended to “throw their stone.” In her tribute, Kathie Lee Gifford then challenged her audience to pick up a stone, thoughtfully consider where they could throw it, and to throw it well. Kathie Lee’s tribute
So this is what I will do. I will throw my stone. I will share the gifts that only I possess. And I will pray that those gifts bring joy to others. When they do, I will fuel myself with the praise that I receive and use it to feed others with grace and goodness. I will not measure my self-worth by fake flattery, but through real relationships, true kindness, and lasting love.
I am human, however. So when my aim is not true, I will try to remember these lyrics:
“Stars hide your fires
For these here are my desires
And I won’t give them up to you this time around
And so I’ll be found
With my stake stuck in this ground
Marking the territory of this newly impassioned soul
And you, you’ve gone too far this time
You have neither reason nor rhyme
With which to take this soul that is so rightfully mine”
~Think on These Things~