Hearing the Music

Lately I’ve been thinking of music as a metaphor for life. Literature contains a symphony of musical references and the score music plays in the sacramental life. For example, in his moving book titled Morning Sun on a White Piano, Robin R. Myers melodically writes, “The next time you go to hear live music, consider that time before the concert, when the musicians are tuning up, to be very much like the work of the soul. It is all noisy, cranky cacophony until joined in the service of harmony.”

It was John Ruskin who so eloquently stated, “Not without design does God write the music of our lives. Be it ours to learn the time and not be discouraged at the rests. They are not to be omitted, not to destroy the melody, not to change the keynote. If we look up, God Himself will beat the time for us. With the eye on Him, we shall strike the next note full and clear, because we rested. There is no music in a ‘rest,’ but there is the making of music in it. People are always missing that part of the life melody.”

Timothy Jones also chimes in with his own note on the metaphor of music: “Music is beautiful not only for its notes but also its pauses; percussion gives rhythm only with the alternation of sound and silence. So with our days.”

And it was Oliver Wendell Holmes who challenged, “Don’t die with the music still in you.” From my perspective, part of the trouble with living in modern times is that often we allow the busyness of life to choke out our dreams and destinies, not to mention the sanctity and sacredness of daily living. Sadly, many of us settle for being an echo of someone else instead of the unique voice that God created us to be.

I am reminded of the wisdom of Phillips Brooks, who once wrote, “The great danger facing all of us is…that some day we may wake up and find that always we have been busy with the…trappings of life—and have really missed life itself.” As we play our parts in the orchestra of life, let us each strive to make the concert a sublime one.