Recently Brooke and I saw Mumford and Sons at the famous Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. I’d been a fan of theirs for a while but the experience seeing them live is something I will not forget. There were a few things that stuck out but one in particular.
They seemed to love what they were doing and here is why:
- There were smiles and laughter during the entire evening by all.
- Their harmonies reinforced that they are not centered around one person.
- They invited locals to play with them to bring connection to the community.
- They invited the audience to be a part of what they were doing and were gracious
- They danced, they were loud, and gave an unforgettable experience
The day of the show, the band had flown to Nashville all the way from London, England. They must have been exhausted from the trip and I can imagine for any band that a live show can be a drag when you are not sleeping much. They didn’t show any discontent whatsoever and seemed incredibly excited to play at The Ryman. I learned that Mumford and Sons perform like this at every show. It is now weeks later but their joy and enthusiasm stays with me.
What if in life I approached all things this same way as Mumford?
Life is not always the same type of art but can we aspire for that same type of joy?
I have plenty of friends going through very difficult circumstances so a post like this could be interpreted as insensitive. I’ve learned through time and through the Bible that I should expect trials and suffering. Personally life is not particularly easy now but compared to so many others, all is well in perspective. It is draining when you are going through any sort of pain but when you stop to look up and around you, you can see the light. I have a friend at work who said her nine-year old son was so worried about life, especially dying. I remember having strange feelings like that as a kid. It seemed irrational to me now but then it felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. Even with little responsibility, there is something about us that wants to worry and dwell on the negative. What does it get us?
I have noticed a common ebb and flow in life. It is an up and down of emotions and it is easy to get trapped in a valley. Just watch cable news and you’ll be never escape it. Some stay in that valley longer than others but in my experience the more I dwell on the fact that I’m in a rut the longer I stay there. James reminds us in this way in his epistle.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.-James 1:2-4 (NIV)
It’s a reminder that we’re not meant to live an easy life.
There is a reason for our pain because God refines us in the process and shows us what joy is meant to be. I want to live with joy the way God designed me. It has caused me to listen carefully to him for when he whispers through my experiences. C.S. Lewis reminds us,
God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.-The Problem of Pain
Next time I am feeling down I will be reminded of that Mumford and Sons night, go to prayer, read God’s word and find that joy.
It comes down to a choice. Choose joy.