The Tyranny of the Barline

Memorial dayAs a college music student, I learned about the tyranny of the barline. Composers used bars to organize music – a very useful invention. But when the bar line, or rather the beat associated with the downbeat, the first beat of the bar, became all-controlling, musicians began to rally against the very rigid sense of rhythym. The tyranny of the barline was born.

I thought about this today, on Memorial Day, because I decided over this weekend to rally against the tyranny of the to do list. For most people, that’s where we desperately need to overthrow the oppression in our lives. The overscheduling, the unkept promises, the taking on more than we can handle and of course, the ensuing depression that come from balancing an unstable house of cards, mostly one of our own making.

This weekend, I decided to live an oxymoron – to tackle my to do list while relaxing! At first, the task sounds daunting, something that not only can’t be done, but shouldn’t even be tried. This weekend taught me that’s not necessarily true. It all depends on what items you place on your to do list and your attitude towards them.

I’m not telling you to stop taking out the garbage, going to the grocery store or doing your laundry. All are necessary, even noble things. But this weekend, amidst all that, I asked God to change my heart so He became my first priority. In eternity, God doesn’t care about how many loads of laundry I do, or how many times a month I mow my grass – thank goodness! He wants me to love Him, serve Him; to go out to love and serve others.

In between the loads of laundry, I took time to call a few friends – just to chat. After completing some gardening, I took Lily to the doggie park and thanked God for the beauty in her powerful strides as she ran and romped with her dog friends. I wrote some long overdue letters and cards and on the way to the post office held the little stack in my hand praising God for giving me such loyal friends. And at night, instead of just watching a rerun, I got out my journal and told God how much I enjoyed the day walking beside Him. How excited I was to feel His hand in mine as I tackled the items on my to do list together.

And while many of us are in a season where there is little we can eliminate from our lists, I firmly believe there is always something we can add. Time with God. It doesn’t have to be hours upon hours. The presence of God joining us, opening our eyes to His gifts and awakening us to our dreams lightens everything we must complete. Practicing the presence of God throughout our day is not always easy. Inviting God into our to do lists makes us more aware of what really matters to God. And with that, we can make beautiful harmony with our Creator.

6 thoughts on “The Tyranny of the Barline

  1. Angela Parlin

    Visiting from Inklings…this is such a great reminder, to practice the presence of God throughout our days. That it’s not always more TIME needed to devote to something, but instead to devote the DAY to Someone. Thanks for sharing! ~Angela

    1. Myra Wells Post author

      I had so much fun over Memorial Day weekend because I felt like I was sharing my activity with a trusted friend, God. I got a lot of things accomplished, but I also felt relaxed and refreshed. His presence gave me energy I didn’t know I had. Thanks so much for your lovely comments.

  2. Rebekah

    I am at an interesting time in my life where I have been told to take it easy. It is not easy thing to shelve your to-do lists. But I guess all music includes rests, right?

    1. Myra Wells Post author

      Thanks, Rebecca, for your insights. I hope you can take it easy! It is tough, but I’ll be praying you through it. All music does include rests. They help emphasize the harmony and keep the music interesting. Hope your rest does the same for you. Lots of harmony with God, family and friends and the start of an interesting new adventure!


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