Wednesday, April 16, 2014


 When we need to confront or cope with a difficult situation we use the idiom, ‘Face the music’. To ‘face the music’ involves a situation where courage is required and most likely due to the unpleasant consequences of past actions.  There are several theories on the origins of phrase. One theory suggests that the saying derives from the theatre when the nervous actor must literally face the music from the orchestra pit when the curtain goes up. Others think that the origin is based on the drumming out ceremony in the military that accompanied dishonorable discharge.

However, I found the following to be the most profound theory.

 "Centuries ago, a Chinese man grew up loving music. It was his passion. He was jealous of those who could play and went to every concert he could just to hear music. Due to his own fear and insecurity though, he never sought to learn to play an instrument for himself, only to listen to others. 

When he became older, his love of music grew and his life’s desire was to be associated with music somehow. He devised a scheme in which he deceptively forged his way into being accepted into the Chinese National Symphony. He carried a violin with him everywhere and so deceived people into thinking he could actually play.

For years, he would travel and sit with the symphony during performances, never knowing how to play a single note. Until one year that the symphony played before the Emperor of China. He was so pleased with the performance that he requested that each musician come to his palace to play for him the next day…individually. 

The man was so distraught and overcome with fear that he went out that night and committed suicide, unable to “face the music”.

There are more phrases that we use in English. 'Wake up and smell the coffee' is used for telling someone that they need to pay attention to what is happening in a situation they are in, usually the situation is not good. The phrase, 'Pay the piper’, means to face the inevitable consequences of one's actions, possibly alluding to the story where the villagers broke their promise to pay the Piper for his assistance in ridding the town of the rats. And 'you make the bed you lie in’ which come from creating a difficult situation whose unpleasant consequences one must now endure.

In scripture, the Lord and his prophets uses the phrases like, ‘awake to your awful situation’ and ‘Awake and Arise.’

"Awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe. Awake! and arise from the dust." (2 Nephi 1: 13-14)

Personal sidenote:

This morning it was time for me to "face the music" in a small way. I got on the scale. I have been avoiding it for months especially after my annual accumulation of winter "insulation" around the waist from excess holiday eating and lack of exercise. This was a big small step in facing the music to my awful "physical state'. However, what is more concerning to me is my 'spiritual' state. The past few days after listening to words that have pierced my core, I realize that I am not as spiritually healthy as I need to be.  Heaven help me to know how to move forward and shed the excess "fat" that I have accumulated over the years.