This is the sculpture "David" by Micelangelo. It changed the attitude and political power of the city-state of Florence, Italy overnight. This is not a story of sculpting marble, but one about sculpting souls.
If you’ve been reading our blog for a while you already know when God handed out talents, he did not check the box next to music for me. For new readers I’ll keep this brief. I took piano lessons but can’t find middle C. It turns out a total lack of rhythm is not a good thing if you want to play the drums. I was encouraged not to continue in band though that may have been 1part total lack of talent, and 1 part total misbehavior. Finally, my kids have suggested lip syncing in church may be something I should consider. As Mr. Johnson, my high school teacher used to say “I can’t carry a tune in a bucket”.
That however does not mean I don’t like to listen to music. I log a lot of miles and like to listen to Christian music in my car. When I’m riding bike or exercising, I listen to secular music. My tastes are eclectic and range from country to rock, 40’s to today. A lot of the music I like is the music of my youth, 60’s and 70’s folk rock.
You have a lot of time to think when you spend a couple hours on a bike, or an hour on an elliptical listening to music. The music triggers thoughts and memories. For example, Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight”, reminds me of Rhonda, because she always looks wonderful to me. His song “Tears in Heaven”, a sad song about losing his young son reminds me of my friend, Jimmie Beernink, and the pain his parents had to feel in losing him to a drunk driver just before we began the third grade.
I was doing the elliptical yesterday when I hear the old familiar Dan Fogelberg song, “Leader of the Band”. It’s a touching tribute to his father. The line that really struck me was “His gentle means of sculpting souls took me years to understand.” It made me think of the people who helped sculpt my soul. My parents, a couple of teachers, my wife, a Christian boss who was a mentor to me. Mr. Mulder my high school business teacher about 40 years ago suggested we write a note to the 10 people who greatly impacted our life so they could have the pleasure of knowing that. I waited about 30 years, but I never forgot Mr. Mulder’s advice, and I finally did it about 10 years ago. The song reminded me I needed to do it again.
I began to wonder. Have I ever impacted anyone’s life so as to help “sculpt” their soul? Honestly, I think God is the only true sculptor of souls, but I’d hoped he’d used me as his instrument somewhere along the line. With my Children? With one of my youth group boys? An employee I mentored? I hoped there was someone I impacted.
Last fall Rhonda and I were having lunch with some fellow travelers on our Italy tour. Don, now retired, told us of the story of a mentor who in a few encouraging words impacted the trajectory of his life in a big and unalterable way. I realized a few people, with a few words, had done the same for me.
The Bible is full of stories of people who mentored and discipled people. Proverbs 27:17 "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Dan Fogelberg inspires me to make a difference in someone’s life, Mr. Mulder inspires me to thank the people who made a difference in mine, and the Bible inspires me to make it an eternal difference. What about you? Anyone you need to thank? Anyone you need to “sculpt”?