Last night I heard a musician/priest perform with a loop station. He’d play a little bit of guitar and it would play back and then he’d add something on top of it and loop that. He’d sing something into the loop and then harmonize with himself over and over. You’d think it would be repetitive but it was revelatory. He was creating something new, piece by piece, going over the same ground and adding as he went. By the end, it sounded like a full band and choir and finally, he improvised a new, unique tune on top of it all. It was beautiful and the grace was in the building.
As I live my spiritual life, I often go over the same ground, confronting the same issues and themes and it can seem repetitive and like I’m going nowhere. When will I fully trust God after all the times he’s pulled me out of mess into light? When will I learn to give more time to his thoughts than to mine? When I will I give up control and let him steer? When will I finally realize he’s worthy and that I’m loveable and loved? When will I know my value is in what I give rather than what I get? I see glimpses of this wisdom, sometimes. I walk the same ground and gather it up, time after time, and I’ll think I have it but it inevitably slips from my fingers. My soul is on repeat.
But maybe that’s not such a bad thing, after all. Maybe each time I confront one of these themes, I’m growing a bit more each time. Maybe God is adding color and harmony and perspective into the mix. Maybe the whole thing is getting bigger and more beautiful as I learn lessons over and over in a loop. Maybe by the time the whole thing is done, I will be ready and prepared to sing one unique, grateful tune over the top of it all, and the tune will come from the struggle, and it will be filled with grace and it will be clear that I couldn’t have learned it any other way.