God provides a soundtrack

Tales from the front pew

You know, life would be a lot simpler if it came with a soundtrack.

All movies have one, and while folks don’t always pay much attention to them, they go a long way toward setting a particular mood.

Lighthearted moments are often enhanced by peppy little tunes, sad scenes are made even sadder by the melancholy strains of a violin and when somebody’s about to get into trouble, suspenseful, jolting notes accompany the ensuing mayhem.

I began thinking about movie soundtracks the other day while watching the 1970’s movie “Jaws.”

Valerie had never seen the movie, which makes sense since it came out before she was born. I, on the other hand, was in my early teens the summer it debuted in my small West Virginia town.

I remember because after standing in line for about an hour-and-a-half outside the theatre, someone came out and told our very disappointed group that there were no more available seats, and we’d have to come back the next day.

Frankly, I was a bit relieved at the time because the whole killer shark concept was pretty scary.

Although I’ve seen the movie on TV several times over the years, it was fun watching it through the fresh eyes of a newcomer.

Watching “Jaws” with Val was an adventure.

From the first victim, a late-night skinny-dipping college student who dipped in the wrong place, to the last one, Quint the salty sea farin’ great white getter who slid out of the boat and into the shark’s mouth, she remained on high alert.

“Jaws” will do that to a person.

As anybody who has watched the movie knows, there are a lot of teasers; moments when it appears that a person is about to become shark bait, when in reality they are not.

Take the screaming woman bobbing on the water’s surface, supposedly in the grip of the shark’s toothy clutches. As it turns out, she’s riding on her boyfriend’s shoulders and shouting with glee, not terror.

Then there are the two young boys who swim holding a cardboard shark fin above the water to trick already nervous beach-goers. (If those two were my kids, they’d be hoping for a shark attack by the time I got through with them).

Never having watched the movie, Val fell for each teaser until I explained the fool-proof “Jaws” formula.

“Val,” I told her, “you can always tell the difference between a false alarm and the real thing by listening to the background music. Whenever you hear ‘da da…da da da da da da’ you know the shark is coming. Wait and see.”

Sure enough, within minutes the familiar ‘da da’ music sounded and the great white showed up in all its glory.

“You’re right, Mom,” Val said. (Next to “I love you,” those are my three favorite words).

Life would, indeed, be simpler with a soundtrack. Just think of the heartache we could avoid if right before every bad decision or disastrous misstep we heard “da da…da da da da da da.”

God provides a kind of soundtrack for our lives as believers. Each time we’re tempted to sin, we hear that still, small voice beckoning us in the right direction.