Turn the Garbage of your Life into Music (a true story)

“The greatest minds are like film, they take the negatives and develop themselves in darkness…” ~Brandi L. Bates

First watch the video clip (it’s about 3 minutes), then read the post. The video sets the context for the rest:


The possible metaphors here are almost endless. Three stand out for me.

1. We all have trash in our lives.

We can let it pile up, rot and decay. Or we can turn it into something beautiful.

There are parts of each of us that are not so pretty.

Perhaps it’s a temper or an attitude. Perhaps its pride or jealousy or selfishness or uncontrolled lust. Perhaps we criticize too much or complain too often or talk about others behind their backs.

Or maybe it’s the garbage of past wrongs, mistakes we’ve made, victims of bad parenting, low self-esteem, hatred, or abuse.  Such things can bring us great pain, turning possibility and potential into trash heaps of despair.

But they don’t have too indefinitely. At least not at the incapacitating level they currently do. We can change them. We can adapt them. They can become stepping stones by which we climb higher than we ever thought possible. They can inspire us to make something beautiful of them. They can inspire us to turn them into the music of our lives.

2. There are people living around us who believe their very lives are garbage.

But we can choose to see them differently, as the music they haven’t yet scored. We can reach out and lift them and help them see themselves more clearly, as we see them, as God sees them, as they truly are. Some people can’t hear the music of their own lives above the droning, crushing emptiness of the garbage they only see everywhere they look. We can help them change that perspective.

3. Some of you may look in the mirror and see only trash.

But there is music inside you. A song of beauty and magnificence. It’s there waiting to be written, to be played, to be sung. All it takes is a new way of looking at the trash heaps in our lives. All it takes is some tuning. All it takes is to pick up what we have, whatever it is, however little it may compare to others, and begin to play. Get lost in your own music so that you no longer pay much attention to the music others are playing as a standard of comparison. Reshape and reform the trash into the very instruments that fill your life with the beauty of your own soaring music.

Purpose from Pain

A woman I know lost her son to a drunk driver three years ago. Every day she sees little reminders of him and falls to pieced. Then she heard about a group of people who volunteer at the court to educate those convicted of driving under the influence of the pain they can cause others. She reports that it has brought meaning to the meaningless, purpose to the painful, order to the chaos and a degree of tranquility to the emotional turmoil that has so gripped her life since that tragic day.

In other words, she has made music out of garbage.

Freedom from Humiliation

A man was once thrown from a train for being the wrong color in the wrong class compartment. A lesser man would have complied. Maybe complained or even wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper to retell the injustice. Then he would have likely gone about his daily business, complaining to his friends, reliving the humiliation, angry, frustrated and impotent. This man, however, fought back, unwilling to tolerate the social trash and personal garbage he was forced to experience. He turned garbage into music and freed a nation from imperial rule. His name was Gandhi.

Heaven from Hell

Another woman was raped. She was broken. Humiliated. Others were being raped in a country where life seemed to be descending into a living hell. So she started rounding up other rape victims and started helping them turn their garbage into music. In the process, her garbage was changed too. Her life is now a song that inspires countless others to live their own lives filled with more meaning and purpose. Her name is Malya Villard-Appolon. See her story here.

Garbage to Music

You see, it doesn’t really matter what the garbage in your life is. You can live with it and in it, burying yourself in its disease, absorbing its stink, reflecting it, consuming it, becoming it. Or you can turn it into music, one note, one word, one verse at a time.

I choose more music.

How about you?


  • What garbage still fills your life that you need to turn into music?
  • What garbage are you currently turning (or have already turned) into music?
  • How are you doing it?

Let us know in the comments! And please share this post if you found meaning here today or think others would. Use any of the social media buttons below. 🙂