Harmony

Is  there anything more beautiful to the ears than voices raised in harmony?  When music is done well,  it can raise our spirits and hope quotient like nothing else. But harmony doesn’t come easily. It takes lots of practice. 

I believe there are four principles that relate to musical harmony and life in general. 

1. We have to find our own voice.

Often the easiest part to learn is your own. It takes work but your range and vocal dynamics begin to emerge as a soloist. 

It is the addition of a other voices where we begin to experience difficulty.

FInding the right blend and balance between the voices is exponentially harder as other voices are added to the mix.

It takes effort to sing with others.  For example,  consider a duet.

2. We have to listen to ourselves and someone else at the same time.

It goes against our basic nature to focus on others more than ourselves.

But a sucessful duet will not happen without both parties listening intently to the other. 

But harmony becomes even harder when a third voice is added. 

Everyone has to breathe in the right places and use the same phrasing.

One voice cannot overpower the others or the harmony is lost. 

And if someone sings off key everyone is affected. 

3. We have to blend and find space for others to be heard also.

It takes work to find the blend and balance in a trio. But it is a beautiful thing to listen to. 

But it is the addition of the fourth voice that is really interesting. Often this fourth voice will bring a sound of conflict that makes your ear yearn for resolution in a chord. 

4. We have to understand there is a place for conflict or dissonance that leads to resolution.

These musical principles of harmony can be used in personal relationships, marriage, and in business. 

1. We have to find our own voice. Our opinions do matter.  We need to be heard also. 

2. We have to listen to ourselves and someone else at the same time. Listening is hard work.  It takes practice. But in listening to others you earn the right to be heard. 

3. We have to blend and find space for others to be heard also. What a beautiful opportunity we have to interact with God’s creation mankind.

4. We have to understand there is a place for conflict or dissonance that leads to resolution. We have to learn to disagree civilly and work toward a common good. 

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Marriage is Hard Work

Marriage is like a concert,  a play, or  a ballet,  when it is done well it seems effortless. 

But the reality is that every concert,  play or ballet requires an intense amount of vision, cooperation, and activity.

Someone has to have a vision of what could be.

Someone has to cooperate and share that vision.

Someone has to generate the activity to make that  vision a reality.

A healthy marriage requires an intense amount of vision, cooperation, and activity by both parties to be sucessful. It is hard work, but it is worth it.

PDA

Public displays of affection (within reason) don’t make me uncomfortable. I highly encourage it.

PDA shows that you are not ashamed of your relationship.

PDA affirms the inherent value of the recipient.

PDA models for others that it is okay to express feelings.

When I’m Lost

As a young man, I had a poor sense of direction and I was to proud to stop and ask for assistance. I quickly discovered three questions that would help me when I got lost.

1. Where did I come from?
2. Where am I now?
3. Where do I want to go?

1. Where did I come from?
When i was lost I would retrace my steps and regain my bearings. I would start from a place that I knew and move forward.

*No one wants to go backwards, but sometimes it’s the only way to move forward.

2. Where am I now?
Often I’d gotten lost because I was not where I thought I was. The ‘you are here’ arrows on mall maps were written for people like me.

*Taking an inventory of where you are is an absolute necessity to arrive at the right destination.

3.Where do I want to go?
Driving in circles brings you back to where you started with no real progress being made.

*Settling on a destination because you are to exhausted to continue will lead to frustration.

There have been occasions when these three questions were not enough. I still had to stop and ask for help.

*I have discovered there is a benefit to asking someone with experience for assistance.

These three questions can apply to the pursuit of  your career, your goals, and  your passions.

1. Where did you come from?
2. Where are you now?
3. Where do you want to go?

Hope

The NFL Draft is a great picture of what hope looks like. 

Many of the players have worked hard in pursuit of a dream, a better life for themselves and their families.

When they are selected they shed tears of joy as hope as become reality.

The fans of the teams are hopeful that their team has improved their personnel.

Maybe their team has obtained the last piece of the puzzle needed to earn that championship.

Hope is a wonderful thing.

But some of the players are not selected. Some of them will not even be invited as a free agent to any camp.

For some the dream will end.

Everyday we work with, and encounter people, who have lost hope.

Life is not what they expected.

They desperately need someone to believe in them, to affirm their worth, and to help them change their circumstances.

That person could, and should, be you.