Songs Unsung

Hank Mattimore
Reproduced with Permission

My dad was a "do it now" kind of guy. He was fond of quoting the German poet, Goethe. Whenever one of us kids would be late with homework or be guilty of putting off a household task, dad would fix us with those dark brown eyes and in his deepest voice, would impale us with the words of Goethe.

"What you can do or dream you can, BEGIN IT. Courage hath genius, power, magic in it. Only engage and the mind grows heated. BEGIN IT and the work will be completed."

The words were a verbal kick in the butt for us. My dad loathed procrastination with a passion. There was no way he would allow us to put off till tomorrow what we could do today.

Procrastination is one of our most common flaws as human beings. Who has not put off that appointment for dental cleaning? What student hasn't delayed doing his homework until the last minute?

But procrastination can go way beyond putting off fixing the leaky faucet or the gate that squeaks. I read a line from a Bengali poet the other day that haunts me. He wrote, "The song I wanted to sing never happened because I spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument."

Wow! His words reminded me of a deeper meaning to procrastination. There is waiting within each of us, deep within our souls, a song waiting to be sung, a song that only we can sing. I'm not talking about the spectacular talents of an Einstein but the humble gifts, unique to us, that we possess. To allow these "songs" to remain unsung is a tragedy. Our reluctance to use our God-given gifts is a loss, both for us and for the people with whom we share our moment of time.

In the "songs unsung" category, we need to think about the unique opportunities we have to make a difference in the lives of the people we meet on our journey.

Missing a chance to "catch" your kid doing something right is a son unsung. Forgetting to say, "I love you" to your spouse or kid before going to bed at night... is a song unsung.

Putting off telling a friend you are sorry for the harm you did to him ... is a song unsung.

Being so wrapped up in yourself that you don't even pay attention to the words or actions of a song unsung.

To close your heart to someone in a song unsung.

In that larger sense, we are all potential songwriters. Our time is way too short to afford the luxury of stringing and restringing our instruments. The music lies within us, waiting to be written, waiting to be sung.