Harmonies of the Spirit


by Rev. Margret A. O’Neall

Music has been woven into the fabric of my being from my earliest days.  Throughout my life, music seems to bubble up in me all the time.  It was part of my family life – my father often accompanied his daily tasks with humming or singing, often making up new random verses for old tunes (which sometimes irritated his literal-minded daughter, though I have more sympathy now).  Singing with my father, melody and harmony, was a joy of connection, and I remember those times fondly.

Melody and harmony, sometimes with words, sometimes not . . . for years I assumed that everyone had their own music ringing inside them.  But when I noticed my mother’s musical silence and I asked why she did not sing, she told me a story of her childhood, and her own father’s comment that her singing “sounded like a broken record.”  That was, she said, the moment her music stopped; it is one of the saddest stories I ever knew.  I cannot imagine life without music inside me.

And so I have sung:  in choruses and choirs; in the shower and along with the car radio; in musical theater and in churches; occasionally solo, more often in the ranks of altos.  I find love and connection in song.   My spirit lifts in melody and harmony, in the blending and rising of voices, joined in breath and tone – community and spirituality woven into a seamless fabric of sound.

Harmony creates the fabric of life, weaving the larger patterns of existence.  Harmony results not from a single sound, color or rhythm, but from a blend of tones creating their unique best way to fit together, giving rise to something new.   We all need harmony in our lives – tones and colors that join to create a sense of peace and wellbeing, the rhythm of hearts beating together, the rise and fall of wave forms, the parade of light and darkness, sound and silence across the cosmos …. or as the poet tells us, a human connection of comfort, reassurance and love.

We each do our part to bring harmony into life – our own music is part of a larger pattern that nourishes and sustains.  May new delights continue to emerge in the harmonics that rise from our daily living, as we sing our way through the world.