Under a shade tree to escape the Midwestern heat at the Des Moines Farmer’s Market, I watched with fascination as passerby’s sang along with performing musicians even though they never stopped to watch them.
The singers called themselves the trio-minus-one and were standing on the hot pavement under the pop-up shelter and harmonizing popular songs of the 50’s & 60’s. Their location was positioned so that their backs were to the entrance of the Market. A vast majority of the people walking by started singing, or at least mouthing the words to the songs, as soon as they could hear. And most of them never even paused to look at the entertainers as they walked by!
It was a lesson to me as a writer that I don’t need to come up with some exciting next-big-new-idea; I need to come up with words to help people describe the way they are feeling or the way they want to feel.
During twenty years as a minister speaking a couple of times a week to people about matters of faith, I learned the messages that were the most well-received were not ones of great theological debate or some exciting new nugget of truth I found. Instead, the ones that resonated the most with people were when I gave them words to describe their reality and their hope.
I am told the most power sentence in the world is when you whisper, “Hey, did you hear about…?”
Perhaps the second most powerful sentence in the world is when you say, “Have you ever felt this way?”
I watched the trio-minus-one motivate people by giving them a shared language even if only for 30 feet of walking down the street.
- They gave a common language
- They connected people of all ages and gender
- They altered their thinking for a few seconds
- They gave them words to describe their reality and their hope
It was a reminder we’re all together in this thing called life and words connect us even when we are unaware it if it is bee-bop-a-loo-la-be-my-baby-bee-bop-a-loo-la-…..
Did you finish the song in your head? I rest my case.