I had the opportunity to go to a Christmas concert the other day. It was put on by the college students we work with. There were a few instruments but the star attraction, of course, were the voices of the choir.
A few years ago I had a thought that really blew my mind. I was reminded of it during the concert. The thought is this: every sound an instrument can make can be replicated by the human voice. That means that there is not a single instrument in all the world that utters a noise beyond the spectrum of what the human voice can do.
That is what is so amazing about music in the hearts of mankind. We are not just a choir, but an orchestra. Each of us.
We are a vast instrument, capable of so much. Every moment, every choice, every opportunity is an invitation to use the instrument of our lives. There are a lot of noises out there and we can replicate the worst of them. Here are a couple ways to make sure we are using the gift of life for good.
Just because we can play a note doesn’t mean we can play it well. Being in tune is about balance – not too sharp or not too flat. This is tricky for us to achieve. We want to over-react or under-react. We want each circumstance to mean either nothing or everything.
Our relationships and circumstances are an opportunity. Ignore them and we miss the chance for beauty and goodness. Play them too hard and we pervert the sound.
When a situation arises, the challenge of the human condition is to figure out how to play it in tune. How do I give it appropriate weight? How do I respond? How do I learn from this? It’s not an easy task, but when we do it well, like finding the right note, it reverberates through our soul in an ineffably meaningful way.
Since we are capable of making every sound in the world, another challenge is figuring out how to do so in harmony. When to make the right noises. When do I chose to quit and when do I chose to persevere?
Harmony is a magic of music. It’s when two notes interlock and reverberate, like ripples on the water. Harmony is not about conformity, it is about unity.
The only way to find harmony in our choices is to discover the song we are playing. We call this vision. When we live toward a vision, we have something that is grounding us, a measuring rod for all of our choices. This is the only way to live in transcendence of the individual notes we have to sing. A transformational harmony.
In addition to harmony within ourselves, our choices sound best when they are in harmony with others. We are so used to comparison and competition that it muffles the beauty for this world. Harmony is about We over Me.
Everything in life is a setting and opportunity. Our relationships are the stage. Our circumstances are the scenery. But the thing that brings life to living is the choices we make. It is the instrument we use to make music. The song we sing.