The Sound of Music
Told you I was going to be posting a lot…
You want to know a silly thing that that I miss?
Of course you do, else why would you be reading?
A few years ago, when I was at a Promise Keeper’s conference, the all-male choir wore T-shirts that read “Real Men Sing Real Loud.” I thought that was sort of cool. In the Army, not “sounding off” loud enough while singing a cadence was sufficient grounds for a myriad of creative punishments administered by loud drill sergeants intent on breaking us before molding us.
I am not a good singer. I am also not a bad singer. I can carry a melody in two different octaves. Or two different voices, as it were. I’m okay with being good enough to blend in but not good enough to carry a solo. Arwyn is also not a good singer, but better than she thinks. She often sang our boys to sleep when they were babies, and they liked it.
Prior to my military days, I was often too self-conscious about singing in church. I would maybe sing quietly or simply lip-synch. After all, as a teenager, every guy who has experienced that most inharmonic cracking voice couldn’t help but subdue it. And there was a bit of the sissy factor, thinking only sissies sang. It was the military that taught me to sing out loud as well as the value that singing could have on morale. Also, no matter how bad an individual sounds, you get 150 young men singing in perfect cadence and it sounds good. And loud. And those hard-as-nails drill sergeants had no problems belting their songs out.
I enjoy singing hymns in church, since the melodies are mostly fairly simple and lend themselves to good singing by people who may or may not be good at it. Sometimes the tunes are catchy, like “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” or touching as in “Softly and Tenderly” or “Just as I Am” which is sung at every Billy Graham crusade. Even some contemporary tunes like “Awesome God” lend themselves to some good rousing singing. Of course, even heathen readers will be familiar with the various Christmas hymns like “Joy to the World,” “Away in a Manger,” and “The First Noel.”
All of these especially lend themselves to the blending of voices. And I find myself missing that, since Arwyn never sings out. Not a lot of guys seem disposed to singing out although my Dad was. It wasn’t uncommon to hear him belting out in song from the barn as he was finishing the chores. It was quite awhile until I appreciated how his voice blended with Mom’s while we were in church. We usually sit up in the balcony, out of view from most others in order to keep our sometimes rambunctious kids from stealing the show. So I often find that my singing is sort of cast out there to intermingle with the masses. This is fine, for the most part.
But occasionally, from beside, in front of or behind, I’ll catch the high, strong pitch of a female voice. I will incline my ear and blend and harmonize with that voice. And it feels like such a wonderfully intimate thing to me. The blending, intertwining and mingling of two voices resonating together. The molecules of air dancing about on compression waves; kinetic energy generated by the lips, tongues and breath of a man and a woman interlocked together in the interplay of musical notes. Separate and distinct, yet joined together as one.
Age or attractiveness is not an issue in this, at least for me. I am simply happy to revel in this admittedly odd way of gleaning some form of intimacy. The spiritual nature of the music and atmosphere adds a unique flavor to this seemingly irreverent way of participating in worship. I’m not sure how irreverent or sinful it is, but hope God is understanding of where I am and where I’m coming from. It’s only been over the last year or so that this has become an issue. Well, not really an issue the same way finances or sex is an issue. The music is probably more of a metaphor for the physical and emotional melding, blending and interplay I often long for.