Jason B. Ladd

Author | Apologist | Entrepreneur

How a Soundtrack Can Help You Discover Truth


Writers often use soundtracks for inspiration. Step number two of best-selling author Michael Hyatt’s article “7 Steps to Getting Unstuck and Becoming More Productive” is to put on some inspiring music.

I have a playlist loaded with soundtracks which create different moods for writing. Soundtracks like Hanz Zimmer’s Inception have massive themes creating a sense that your writing will have a massive impact.

Other soundtracks like Steve Jablonsky’s Ender’s Game capture the excitement and burden of being responsible for the fate of humanity.

And Jacob Yoffee’s Runaway soundtrack takes you away from the world you know and toward a place of both beauty and darkness.

But one of my recent soundtrack additions captures more than a mood; it might help you capture a truth about the world.

Alexandre Desplat scored the soundtrack to the film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, the story is centered around Oskar Schell, a boy whose father was killed in the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks.

After finding a key in a vase that belonged to his father, Oskar begins a massive search through New York City to discover the purpose of the key and the meaning of it all.

Desplat’s score keeps the story moving and features a piano-based theme. The legato phrases and punctuated rhythms accentuate Oskar’s emotional burden and unwavering determination to finish his seemingly impossible task.

The boy receives help from a man later revealed to be his grandfather, but a recurring theme is Oskar’s frustration with his mother. She is out late and sleeps in. Oskar wants desperately for her to feel his pain and share his journey.

But it appears that Oskar is on his own. He continues his search, weary and frustrated, until he discovers the origin of the key.

But the purpose of the key is not the main revelation.

The gut-wrenching twist at the end reveals the truth behind his ostensibly disinterested mother.

Her fatigue resulted from nightly outings to prepare strangers for the visit she knew they would receive from her son in search of information about the key.

Oskar thought she wasn’t helping. He thought she wasn’t there.

But she was.

She loved him so much that she gave everything of herself to pave the way for him to succeed. She knew him so well that she could predict his every move, and she didn’t lash out when he accused her of indifference.

She had a bigger plan, and sometimes it involved operating inconspicuously. She knew what was best for her son. She knew what he needed to see, and what he needed not to see.

To Oskar, her silence was extremely loud, but in fact, she was incredibly close.

In Genesis Chapter 28, Jacob has a dream at Bethel where God tells him:

“Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (NIV).

Jesus assures his disciples in John Chapter 14:

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live” (NIV).

God is consistent with his theme:

He will not leave the faithful.

It might seem like we are searching on our own, but he is there.

Oskar wasn’t going it along, and neither are we. Life is longer than a movie, and your revelation might be months or even years away.

The apostle Paul reminds us in his letter to the Colossians:

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because ofa your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel” (Colossians 1:21-23, NIV).

He will not leave us. Keep your hope held out in the gospel, even when it seems like he’s not there.

And when you forget, put on Desplat’s soundtrack and remember how small our perspective can be.

One day, an extremely loud trumpet will sound, and we will know that he is incredibly close.

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Photo credit: kevin dooley / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally or believe will help readers in developing their worldview. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About Jason B. Ladd

Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.

3 Replies

  1. Elaine

    I love how different kinds of music can inspire us in so many different ways.

  2. jelillie

    Well said Jason. We may not always perceive it but God is moving in every phrase of Life, even those seemingly written junior keys.

    1. Well said. Some of the greatest dissonance is music leads to the greatest resolution–something we should remember!