Wednesday, April 09, 2008
"Nobody ever listens to my pages!" said the girl at the Barnes & Noble checkout counter nearly five minutes after she called over the speaker system for a manager to help her figure out the glitch that was preventing her from processing my payment. She was obviously irritated, but continued to smile in a self depricating manner, as if to say "Oh well! What are you gonna do?!"
I could feel her pain. There are times when I feel like nobody ever listens to my pages either, and there's nothing more frustrating than being pushed to the back burner, or - even worse - never making it to the stove. Most of us are in need of some type of attention... Any attention! Like an American Idol contestant standing insecurely before the judges, we desperately long for positive feedback, or at least contructive criticism.
So what do we do when there's nothing? What happens when we've sung our song, poured our heart and soul into every detail of it, and there is no applause, no Randy/Paula/Simon praise or criticism? What then?
Perhaps we do as the girl at Barnes & Noble did. Maybe we lament the fact that nobody's coming to bail us out, but we don't let it ruin our day. Could it be that we sing the song not for the audience applause, but for the art and the beauty of the thing?
I read a portion of a book today that asked the question, "What if you had just thirty days to live?" Great question. Would we spend our time nervously waiting on the audience's response, or would we re-imagine what matters and fight like hell to sing the song we're supposed to be singing? Howard Thurman said it best with these words: "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
The next time no one's listening, ask yourself if you're doing what makes you come alive. If you are, it doesn't matter who's listening, you will be heard. If you're not, find a song you love, and sing it like nobody's business!!