Heartstrings

I was made to be a concert pianist. I’m told that from the day my parents got to bring me home from foster care at 2 months old, they knew from looking at my hands, “that girl is made for the piano.”

As such, though I never fulfilled the once vibrant dream I had of tickling the ivories for packed houses, music has an unparalleled ability to pull at my heartstrings.

When my heartstrings are pulled, it’s usually emotional, deeply moving or touching in some way. On the surface, sometimes it’s a little embarrassing because it doesn’t take much and there’s usually an inexplicable abundance of tears.

Most recently before today, a scene in a movie pulled at my heartstrings with inexplicable feelings: joy, maybe a little freedom or release, and some nostalgia.

In Rocketman, the new biopic about Elton John, before he makes it big, Elton nervously agrees to play the Troubadour in Hollywood, California. He begins the show with a slow, jazzy, mellow rendition of Crocodile Rock.

When the mellow pace picks up into the rock out version Elton fans know and love, it’s a magical moment for the crowd on screen and the movie audience alike; and I don’t know what it was about that scene that brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes.

Whether it was awe at Taron Egerton’s wildly talented and uncanny ability to sound remarkably like Elton John, or the nostalgia of cruising the streets of Alpharetta, Norcross and Dunwoody when all my cares were limited to pockets of high school drama amidst a pretty good life; in that moment in the movie, I was engulfed in the music and swept along by the ivories into the familiar bridge:

“Laaaa la la la la laaaa

La la la la laaa

La la la la laaaa…

Today at our bible study, we discussed Isaiah 62, a poem written to the people of Israel after the Babylonian exile. Verse 2 stood out to me the most: “you shall be called by a new name.”

We talked about how name changes in the Bible signify a change in one’s relationship with God. Sometimes, a new name symbolizes overcoming adversity or conquering a circumstance or change in your life.

We were left with a question to ponder: “what would your new name be if you were to be given one after overcoming adversity or following a change in your life?”

And I felt that familiar pull, a pull at my heartstrings, as my own new name took shape, like a familiar bridge to a favorite song; a hymn set to beautiful music making something that has felt so ugly feel liberated and maybe even beautiful.

” For preaching and holding a position of leadership in ministry, You Are Not A Heretic.

For approaching scripture trough a hermeneutic of love, for embracing Luke’s preferential option for the poor, for being snagged by and onboard with liberation theology, You Are Not A Heretic.

For your faith journey and your understanding of what it truly means to follow Christ and walk in his footsteps, You Are Not A Heretic.

For engaging in activism and tethering social justice to your understanding of the life of faith and the practice of Christianity, You Are Not A Heretic. ”

The people of Israel often had hard times living into their new name. I suspect I will be no different. But for today, my heartstrings are less raw and more open than they have been for a while.

I turn in tonight with the words to one of my favorite songs ringing in my ears and pulling on my heartstrings.

“I will change your name, you shall no longer be called ‘wounded,’ ‘outcast,’ ‘lonely,’ or ‘afraid.’

I will change your name, your new name shall be ‘confidence,’ ‘joyfulness,’ ‘overcoming one,’ ‘faithfulness,’ ‘friend of God,’ ‘one who seeks my face.’ “

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