I Refuse...

by Joanie Butman

I’ve always been jealous of people who have been given the gift of music. It can touch people in places that are unreachable any other way. It can inspire, comfort, lift you up, or bring forth needed tears. I got to know my nephew more through his music than any conversation I’ve ever had with him. And it was music that brought Cindi and I together. She has a fabulous voice. I had been listening to her for over ten years before she showed up on my doorstep with this project. I have seen my autistic brother who has no ability to communicate verbally sing a song in perfect pitch and have it bring tears to his eyes.

For some reason, people feel more comfortable being vulnerable in a song. They may not talk about things so openly, but they will sing about them. Music establishes a connection on a different level. Haven’t you ever been moved to tears by a song? There is a certain safety in discussing music. You can share feelings and emotions that you wouldn’t ordinarily. Music is the language of the soul.

Without a doubt, music connects people and creates community. During my recent trips to Africa, the people may not always have understood me, but they LOVED my iPod and sharing their likes and dislikes about my playlist. In fact, it was my first breakthrough moment with them. We laughed, danced and shared our faith through my choice of music.  As they knew many of the songs, we could sing them together.  Those songs bridged a gap as wide as the ocean separating us. We were able to reach a deeper level of communication. Despite our vastly different cultures and languages, it was this shared joy that established a way to connect through a common interest that transcended those boundaries. Even so, I did not appreciate the knock on the door every morning at 5am to tell me the iPod needed recharging.

We can’t all be word-weavers and often find ourselves at a loss to express our feelings, but when we hear them in a song (or a story) we can certainly recognize and relate to them. 

Thinking of a way to describe why we were launching the Choose Wisely! project, one song seemed to express what we couldn’t. It is called I Refuse by Josh Wilson. It became one of our many theme songs during the months of preparation. The chorus reads: 

I don’t want to live like I don’t care

I don’t want to say another empty prayer

Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else

to do what God has called me to do myself

I could


not to move but I refuse.”

What are you being called to do? And will you choose to move?

Is there a song that you would like to share that resonates strongly in your life and why?