Sometimes I live my life to a soundtrack. Perhaps just for a few brief moments or minutes, but it feels like longer. In those moments I see things through the lens of a camera, and yet they somehow seem more real, more alive than ever. Reel after reel of moving pictures. I get on the bus. I take a seat. I glance around. Take everything in. My eyes are camera lenses. My ears are headphones. Words and melodies filling my head so that I feel like everything is swimming in the music. And then I am part of the film reel, swept along in the meaning and mystery as it unravels to a soundtrack. The music drives the reel, spilling its rich, honest light over the scene, showing up every detail. It’s not true of course that everything has more meaning in those moments; it’s just that I feel it more keenly. I see things. I look for things, my eyes peeled for every flicker.
The way the evening light rests on a face opposite me, highlighting regrets and lost thoughts, a clenched jaw; the way the old man drops a handful of coins on the floor and stoops jerkily to pick them up, the flicker of gratitude in his eyes mixed with sadness as a small girl swoops to help him – sadness, perhaps, because his movements are slower than what they once were, a sadness that she, in her youth, doesn’t pick up on as they meet eyes; The way the young couple next to me seem to be putting on a new layer of chain-mail with each exchange, eyes glazed and steely towards one another, talking but not really talking; My hand, poised to pull the cord and sound the buzzer when the time is right, watching as the familiar scenery tumbles away behind us in a blur of faded colours and golden light; The way that my own body moves through the evening air as if through water as I step down from the bus, which is still coming to a stop, hand gripping the rails, but with the confidence of familiarity; The glint of sun on metal as money slides into the dark, calloused hand of the driver.
All these things, every little flicker of light, of expression, every breath, ache and movement, every detail comes alive, moving to the music in my ears. Pointing me to the bigger reality, the heartbeat of the details. The rhythm we are out of sync with so often. The need for Jesus in every detail. The Jesus through whom every detail was made. The Jesus through whom every detail finds its meaning.
The sharpness of the details in those moments cuts through the dull ache of the emptiness, the rejection of Him all around, and screams fuzzy memory into sharp focus; the Jesus we forget in the details.