Coldplay, the British alternative rock band, is much more popular than the cold. Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, and Will Champion – extremely talented musicians – make a living being mysterious and cool, but in Europe the extreme winter weather just makes it difficult to live. What is it about their music that connects with so many people around the world, and seems to warm our souls?
Living with an artistic person, and a Coldplay fan, I have also felt the “warmth” that their music brings. With album titles like Mylo Xyloto, Viva la Vida, and A Rush of Blood to the Head, there are times I wonder what in the world they are singing about. But whatever it is they are saying, it must sound appealing to millions of people. Artistic people like my wife know good art when they see it and hear it. Beauty isn’t just in the eye of the beholder; the classics are classic for a reason. Coldplay ranks right up there with U2 in terms of popularity. That is saying something.
Consider this question: How many people worldwide dislike watching the sun rise? Very few, if any, I suspect. Getting up early enough to watch it is distasteful to some, but how many would vote on this amazing artistic display with their thumbs down? Playing any CD over and over and over, day after day after day, tends to get annoying after a while – no matter how wonderful it is. And yet, the same old sun is appearing to rise once again, even now as I write, and it still looks beautiful to people everywhere. It really does. It warms my little part of the earth once again just as it warms yours. Nothing is said, but in a mysterious way it touches our hearts and warms our souls. And it says something we need to hear.
As you try to find your way, as you seek to discern your next step, try to take a balanced approach to your career and life exploration adventure. What do I mean? As a human being, you are much more than an information-gathering machine. Acquiring more and more information, visiting more and more websites, reading more and more articles in your area of interest, packing more and more tidbits of trivia into your head – that isn’t always what you need. Do this, just this, long enough and you will feel frazzled. Finished. So stop frantically looking down for a moment and look up. Stop looking in and look out. For you also need inspiration, warmth, beauty, art, relationships, etc. You need something to keep from becoming cold.
In East Africa, a white person or someone of European descent is often referred to as a wazungu. Living in Kenya, many times I heard cute little African kids call out, “Hey wazungu! How are you?” as I walked by on the street. Their accent was delightful; their enthusiasm was contagious. This word turns out to be the standard word to describe the comparatively white guys, but it also has a negative connotation; it has a something to do with aimlessly wondering around. The first European explorers in Africa apparently did a lot of wandering. Did the constant motion of this larger culture, a culture I am a part of, have a negative impact?
People are different. Families are different. Cultures are Different. I wouldn’t want to suggest that they should all be the same. Variety makes life more interesting. But living in Kenya, I did begin to wonder why so many people there appeared to be so warm and full of life, while so many back in North America and Europe – back in Wazunguland – seemed so cold. I felt half alive, if that, compared to a lot of the people I met in Africa. At first glance, it didn’t seem to make sense. When it came to money and stuff and information, we had a whole lot more. But, although poor, they sure had us beat when it came to joy and warmth and life.
Looking for something to warm your soul? Maybe it is time to take a break from all the information gathering – from all the running around – and focus on the beauty that is all around you, and on the Artist who is behind it all. It could be that it is time to come in from being out in the cold.
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