Despite their ten-plus-year difference in age, my two sons agree on a couple of topics, one of them being that they hate my singing. Oh, and my taste in car music.
I think I have a fairly good voice. It’s at least standard. There’s no way I could rival my youngest sister, trained as an opera singer, or even my closest-in-age sister, a former member of her college choir. But still. There are worse voices. Tweetie the bird comes to mind, as does Bob Dylan, who made a lot of money in the profession anyway.
United they stand, however, that mom does not have a palatable voice and that worse, she has no sense of musical taste. In fact, their most recent argument was about who has suffered the greatest number of “decibel injuries” in his lifetime through exposure to Delilah, a DJ with a campy, corny taste in love music. Michael, age 20, insisted that he’s been the most damaged, as he had to listen through most of his teenage years, while Gabe, age 9 _, argued that he had sustained the most severe disadvantage, as the music has populated his vulnerable early years.
On my own behalf, I was trained as a classical violin player and can proudly distinguish between Bach, Beethoven, and Haydn with some alacrity. A childhood Lutheran, I’m also fairly rehearsed in what I call the “weary hymns,” the songs that have at least five stanzas and take forever to sing and of course, must be sung standing up. (Ever try singing “Rock of Ages” with a church full of elderly Norwegian parishioners, whose criteria for going to heaven corresponds to how long you can stand upright without swaying?) Then there are the developmental compositions that suggest my age and true mental acuity—but a decided improvement with age—ranging from David Cassidy and the Partridge Family to Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty”, a title that means more now than it did then. (I like to point out to my oldest that some of mom’s “lame taste” is still popular today. Will the Rolling Stones really ever lose their cool?)
All the same, I believe that we are all called to “sing our song” to the world, whether in the privacy of our shower or standing in the middle of New York City. Better yet, we’re all called to live our song—our individual, unique way of thinking, being, and expressing, in everything that we do.
Recently, I came out with an intuitive training DVD called “The Songbird Series.” The title was provided by one of the DVD producers, and it got me thinking—about singing, obviously—and about “voice.” Technically, a songbird is a bird with a musical call—perhaps even a magical call. I believe that each and every one of us is a songbird, someone with a one-of-a-kind gift to share with the world; a spiritual mission that only we can fulfill.
There are a lot of people on this planet at this time. Are we all called to “sing our song?” To enhance our individuality for a higher purpose? We certainly are. To accomplish this goal, we must first compose ourselves. We must figure out who we are, why we are here, and how to succeed at our independent destiny. Our individual self is not the point of it all, however. We’re here for community, to truly enhance the lives of each other.
In the natural world, songbirds sing for various reasons. Through their trills, whistles, and tunes, they speak to each other. They deliver warnings, attract a mate, and reassure their chicks. Some researchers, however, believe that their sounds achieve greater ends. Studies in bird sounds have shown that certain tones aid in plant growth and harmonize relationships between all life forms.
Your gifts—wrapped in your exclusive and extraordinary song—are needed to help the rest of the world transform into the peaceful and joyous place it’s supposed to be. As a people, we are capable of so much more than we’ve ever done. We can stretch—and touch—stars we’ve only imagined existing. We can feed all people—not only the wealthy or connected. And we can become what we are supposed to be, if and only if, we are willing to reach out and use our gifts for others and our own well-being.
It is said that angels have wings. Well, so do songbirds. When we unfasten our gifts, we also open our wings, and we then embrace the world. May you sing your song in all beauty and grace (even if your kids think it’s a little out-of-tune or obsolete).