Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Personal music

I needed some music for a programme I was producing and so I headed to the music department at Vatican Radio. Partway through my request, my colleague stopped and stood, transfixed, in the middle of the room. “Isn’t that perfect?” she asked. I listened. It was awful! I like music, but the particular piece that was playing was so heavy it would have driven me crazy to listen to it for any length of time. Yet my colleague obviously enjoyed every note.

She reminded me of a story about the young David, when he was a boy in the court of King Saul.

Saul had a very beautiful harp that stood in one corner in the palace. Many musicians had tried to play it and had failed.

One day, David approached Saul and asked if he could attempt to play the harp. Saul laughed derisively. “The finest musicians have made the same request. Do you honestly think that you can succeed where they could not?”

David picked up the harp and gently ran his fingers over the strings. Suddenly the instrument laughed and cried. It sang of running streams and sighing breezes, bird song and mountaintops. The music was so beautiful that Saul and his courtiers were reduced to tears.

“How could you bring forth music from this harp?” he whispered, his voice still caught up in the depths of his emotional experience.

David looked at him. “Your Majesty. The musicians all tried to play their music upon this instrument. That is why they failed. I merely asked the strings to play their own tunes. That is why I succeeded.”

We each have our own music. Our lives are a special song, uniquely beautiful, composed by the experiences we encounter each day. Some people’s songs are sad, others happy, but each life is still an unrepeatable melody. God asks us to help each other to play their own canticle. There might be harmony. There might be some discord. It is still uniquely precious.

God bless,
Sr. Janet