Nothing is this world has that type of spiritual connection quite like music. The very fact that we can express every known emotion of the human species is beyond comprehension. What is it about music that draws a person into ecstasy? The fact is, when we expresses ourselves through this form of liquid emotion, it is a very visceral and organic experience. No man can truly say he is without a song. Music, in any form, acts as a proverbial balm, an ointment which can soothe even the deepest of wounds. Without music, no human could survive. Even the deaf and mute have a song. We are bound together by this single thread—this need to express emotion so unnerving that it simply has no other form to emerge but through song and lyric; a language which needs no translation to understand. It’s almost as if expressing ourselves through music is an act of worship. With reverence, we hold onto every word, every note, and every breath as if our life depended on it. With Song being the only truthful master and we, its degenerate broken servant, we seek comfort in its presence. Our soul yearns for that single connection with which it can be elevated, provoked, understood and accepted. Music forces us to consider the more monotonous details of our lives that we so often overlook.
For me, music is spirituality. Our first act of worship was not the bending of the knee nor the raising of hands but rather, the lifting of our voices. The precious cry of a newborn is music to a mother’s ear because it is then that she acknowledges the culmination of months of both hope and fear; those moments which she eagerly awaits that tiny shrill signifies the start of something inexplicable. We lift our voice in song because we have this innate need to release the unutterable. As time progressed, so did our spiritual needs making music grow from naked cries to beautiful melodies and then to complex harmonies. Our childlike naïveté of happiness and joy were tainted with hatred and bitterness. Our otherwise perfect hymns have been tinged with sour notes, jarring with the tune of other hymns creating noise. The hymn that was once meant to be sung with perfect synchrony has been diluted with the cacophony that we call cynicism. Life, which was meant to be this beautiful melody, has been distorted and muted. We refuse to appreciate the complexities of those harmonies because often times we can never quite get them in tune with the melody. We fear the embarrassment of mistake and inevitably muffle our most effectual instrument.
I remember a day we had rehearsal and we were learning a new piece. The ungodly high and difficult measure to be sung with perfect pitch, tonal quality and resonance was indeed a daunting task and met with hesitance from our soprano section. When our choir director finally noticed our discomfort with singing a seemingly “impossible” piece of music, he simply looked at us and said “Don’t worry if you mess up. Just make loud mistakes”. If he only realized how true these words were. If we were going to sing it wrong, we might as well sing it wrong loudly. Right?
I suspect that the moment that pride was birthed was the very moment that we lost our song. Not because we consciously allowed it, but rather that we idly sat by and let it happen. Our notes became sharper, our voices flatter and our spirits lower. We continue to strive for that perfect harmony without ever realizing the need for the sometimes monotonous melody. We get lost in the hymns of others without ever focusing on our own true song. Somewhere along the road, we lost the desire to make love with our first love. This erotic, sensual, and very spiritual connection that our souls have with music is often times too overpowering and we lose ourselves within it. Not with our own song, no; rather, with the songs and hymns of others.
I look back and realize how much time I’ve missed living beneath my complacent reverie and stand in awe at the amazing opportunity before me to amplify my life with good mistakes. I can sing without fear of not quite hitting that high note because with practice comes perfection.
Laugh until you pee yourself. Have some more wine. Flirt with the waiter. Write something provocative. Sing badly. Do something that connects you on a spiritual level and allows you to learn from your mistakes. Life is too short to live with silent mistakes.