I think I finally began to understand and appreciate music around Jr. High. I can remember listening to a song and finding something in it so amazing that I had to share it with someone. That someone was usually my dad, which makes sense, since he’s probably where the bulk of my love of music came from – bluegrass concerts and a modest but varied record collection had rubbed off. I would take the CD out of my Koss boombox and plop it into the downstairs Magnavox player while saying something like, “Dad, you gotta hear this song.” We’d sit and soak it in, commenting on the mix of lyrics and music, or how the artist hit on something we’d never thought of before. Or we’d revel in the fact that he’d said something we’d always thought or knew, but in an amazingly clear or profound way, coupled to an amazing guitar solo. Or we’d simply be in awe of the artist’s musical skill or the great hook that had been crafted. After the song was over, I’d skip to my other favorite tracks, or my dad would jump up and say, “Check this one out,” as he pulled a CD from his stack of alphabetized, genre-atized discs that the previous song had reminded him of. It could go on for a while.

When I went away to college, visits home always included a music-sampling time in the living room, and my sisters and mom would often join in. Christmas morning would often erupt into a music-sampling festival, each of us jockeying for the stereo, calling for everyone to pause and listen to the new copy of musical genius we had just received. My wife is now subject to my calls to stop everything and listen to 3 or 4 minutes of magic (which she gladly does), and visits back home or visits from home also serve as an outlet for playing D-J with the family.

There is something about music that begs us to share it with others, even if it is the creation of someone besides ourselves. And it’s not just music or art we love to share, but beauty in general – a sunset on a summer’s day, a culinary creation, a movie or play, a quote or book, and countless other things that just seem more enjoyable when the same joy that fills our hearts and erupts on our faces in a grin is seen in the face of a friend. When they see the beauty we have seen. When beauty is relished in, talked about, mulled over, and rejoiced in with another person. It’s more than just beauty, but truth we love to share – a fuller understanding of what is real and meaningful and right reflected in a song heard or a sight beheld. Maybe beauty and truth are virtually synonymous.

Beautiful truths are not shared out of obligation, but because we can’t hold them in and hoard the joy they bring only for ourselves. To not share beautiful truths is selfishness. To share them is love and a deep reflection of the One who went to incomprehensible lengths to show us the depths of the most Beautiful Truth in the world.

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