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Let the Music Play

There she is, wandering aimlessly through the crowd. It seems as if she’s lost someone and has no idea where to look for them. “Why is she here?” I wonder silently. “What is she looking for?” Before I have a chance to find the answer to my questions, the music begins to play.


I turn around to face the band on stage. I stand in a grassy field that stretches far behind me, with enough space to easily accommodate six thousand people. About three thousand have already arrived at the outdoor concert; they inch slowly forward to try to get closer to the stage. All at once, those around me begin clapping and singing along with the band. The ground shakes with the vibrations from the electric guitars and basses. When the chorus starts, my voice joins the others that have come here to sing of God’s glory and to give Him praise. We sing together, the same song and the same melody; yet each voice is distinct in its own way. I focus on one voice at a time. First, I hear a young girl’s sweet soprano, then the slightly off-key tenor standing beside her. A middle-aged woman with an operatic voice sings louder than anyone else near me. Finally, I focus on my own voice, that familiar, quiet alto. I silently hope that no one heard the high note I just missed.


When the song is over, the sound of thousands of pairs of hands clapping in unison resonates in my ears, making my head hurt a little. I then crouch down to retrieve my water bottle from its spot on the dry grass. I pick it up, and the condensation drips over my fingers as I pour the refreshing liquid down my throat. When I set the container down and regain my place in the crowd, I find that people have gathered closer to me in an attempt to get a better picture of the band’s lead singer. My ears are filled with the clicking and whirring of their cameras. Just as the sounds are beginning to get annoying, my attention is turned elsewhere. I smell freshly baked pizza, and my stomach starts to growl. My dad smells it too, and he disappears into the crowd to go buy some food for supper.


A new song is being played when I turn my attention back to the stage. I don’t recognize this one, so I assume it is from the band’s newest CD. As I listen to the lyrics, I make a mental note to look up the song on the Internet. I pull out my camera and cell phone to be sure I get some videos before the band’s performance is over. I gently press the button to begin recording and try to stand as still as possible so the video doesn’t become blurry. Then someone bumps into my arm, and I nearly drop the camera. I sigh under my breath and try not to get mad at their clumsiness.


Finally, the first band’s performance ends with a clash of cymbals. I turn my camera off and search for my dad in the crowd. Since I am not able to see over the heads of the people surrounding me, I turn back to the stage, where the second group is setting up their equipment. By now, I am starting to feel fatigued from standing still for an hour, and my flip-flops are hurting the arches of my feet. When I drop to the ground, the dry grass crunches underneath my weight. I reach for my bottle again and take a gulp of water, though this time it is not as cold as before; it fails to completely quench my irrepressible thirst. I screw the top back onto the bottle and set it on the ground beside me.


As I turn my eyes upward, I notice for the first time the black storm clouds that must be the source of the humidity in the air. I lower my gaze to the all-girl band on the platform. A member of the stage crew is tuning the guitars; he carefully plucks the strings, and the sounds from the hot pink electric guitar grow steadily louder as the amplifier is turned up. The band comes on stage and begins to play one of their best-known songs. I rise from my place on the ground, snap a few pictures, and sing along with the four thousand people that are now in the crowd.


Then, I smell pizza again. I quickly scan the crowd. Suddenly, I see him. He is walking toward me and carrying small cardboard boxes and Cokes. The moment he is close enough, I snatch my personal pan pizza from my dad, flip open the box, and take a bite of the pizza. “Praise God for the Italians!” I think as my taste buds relish the flavor of baked mozzarella cheese and chewy crust. When I am finished eating, I pop the top on my Coke and take a long drink. “Caffeine—just what I needed!” I think.


When I finish drinking, I set my beverage can on the grass on front of me and focus on the music again. I’ve heard this song at least a million times before. This time, however, it feels different. The lyrics seem to mean more than they did before. I realize that He’s talking to me, and I decide to listen. I hear Him tell me to let go of everything I’m worried about. I hear Him say He wants me to live what I have believed for so long, to let His light show through me. I am reminded that I can’t live this life on my own. The realization that I need Him to guide me hits me harder than ever before. I close my eyes and ignore all the people around me. I forget the delectable smell of the pizza. I feel my body relax, and I begin to pray. I just stand there, lost in thought.


When the next song begins, I am still reflecting on the things I need to change in my life, but I open my eyes and listen to the lyrics of the next song as well. The lead vocalist sings the words spoken by a prisoner in a World War II concentration camp: “I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining. I believe in love even when I don’t feel it. I believe in God even when He is silent.” In this moment, I feel a peace that I haven’t felt in a long time. He reminds me that even though I can’t see Him, He is always there. There will be hard times, but I am never alone. When I fall, He will still be standing. It is now, in this quiet moment with my God, that I decide to change. I refuse to let what other people think dictate my life. I determine to learn more about God, to drink the knowledge of Him in like a sponge absorbs water. I want to live for Him, to be so close to Him I can feel His presence and touch His face. Right now, I realize that I want to change. In this moment, I surrender.


This is what she was looking for all along. She wanted proof that she could do this. She wanted to know that she didn’t have to be alone, that someone else would always be there with her. She wanted to find herself. She searched for herself, and she found Him; in finding Him, she found the person she had always aspired to be. In finding Him, she found the greatest victory of all—surrender.




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