Overture comes from the French “ouverture”, which means an opening. This may be obvious to the musically inclined, anyone who has listened to anything from Mozart’s overture to The Marriage of Figaro to Menken’s overture of his score for Beauty and the Beast.
I am a total nerd for soundtracks. And no matter how many times I’ve listened to a soundtrack, I never skip the overture. Once you’ve listened to the entirety of the score, you can hear how the overture gives you glimpses into the musical themes of the show. You can find a fleeting hint of the love story, a suggestion of the dark twists and turns, a wink of a victory. When you listen to the overture, you’re not sure how this will all fit together, but you know there will be significance.
I remember the overture of my life overseas. The days spent packing, the nights spent waking up from nightmares that I would get lost in my new home and never find my way around. The goodbyes. The thrill and grief at the airport.
I remember those first few weeks – making new friends, having bad days, making stupid mistakes. Finding God in ways I had never found Him before. Learning things about the world I didn’t know existed.
I often reference my first few months in France with new team members and the lessons I learned. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was in my overture. There were hints in my life of what was to come. The excitement of making new friends was a glimpse of the richness of relationships to come. Tear-filled goodbyes at the airport were a peek into the goodbyes I would have to say on this side.
There was no way for me to know it at the time, but the emotional rigor of the first few months I was overseas were an overture. They were preparation. It was like being thrown into the deep end of a pool and finding I could swim. I wasn’t slicing through the water yet – but I wasn’t meant to.
I think sometimes we resist seasons of preparation. Especially, perhaps, those of us who like to move at a fast pace and get excited by change. We want to jump in, we want to throw off our backpack and start climbing that wall in front of us. Who needs preparation? Can’t we learn as we go?
But it can’t be denied—the overture matters. There’s a reason symphonies have overtures. Movie soundtracks, Broadway shows, even the occasional rock album uses one. Because it’s too much to be thrust into a story with no warning. We need a moment to be enveloped in the world we’re entering. We need to be pulled in from the noisy world we’ve come out of and made a part of what is happening in front of us.
Don’t skip the overture in your life. Maybe you’re in an overture now – learning a new normal or starting a new season of your life. You may not realize it – but this is just the overture. This is just the part where you get a hint of what’s to come. The overture is not the end – it is the beginning. It is an opening. A doorway to new adventures and new ways to see things. Engage in it. Pull out of it every minor chord and every climbing bass line. This will be the piece you draw from in the season to come.
Are you in an overture in your life? What are things about this season that might be preparing you for the next? What has an overture in your life been?
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