This is a modern day ‘parable’ I wrote for a Religious Class all about the joy of music.
There was once a young woman who loved to sing. When she learned that her community was starting their own choir and was holding auditions, she quickly raced down to try out for a position. She was so excited when she was accepted into the group and was handed the music that they would be performing for their first concert. She spent the next week pouring over the music, listening to it and trying to make it so that her part in the choir would be perfect.
When the first practice came, she arrived early excited to sing with everyone and worked to make sure that the choir would bring joy to the audience when it was time for the concert. When the young woman joined the choir though, she noticed that she was standing next to a young girl. The young girl seemed sweet and kind and so the young woman grew to like her. But, as the practice soon started, the young woman began to change her first thoughts.
The young girl sang too loud, practically yelling the words they were trying to sing. She moved about often, not able to stay still. Even more, often she would go off tune or stumble in her words as she sang, yet she did all of this with a big smile on her face as if there was nothing wrong. In an effort to be kind, when practice was over, the young woman sat with the girl during break and tried to help her better learn the tune and words.
During the next scheduled practice, the young woman saw that this action had worked well, yet the young girl still occasionally went off tune. This was ok, but the fact that she sang so loud made the mistakes stand out over the other voices of the rest of the choir. Practice after practice, the young women tried and tried to help the young girl fix her mistakes, trying to convince her to sing quieter so as to blend with the choir members around her. The young girl took all the young woman’s words to heart, nodding obediently, yet she still sang at the same volume each practice, moved about often, and seemed ignorant of the small mistakes she was making every now and then.
Finally the first performance was upon them and the young woman was a nervous wreck. She worried over the young girl’s performance, about her little mistakes and her too loud singing. The young girl herself was oblivious to this fact, though, and was dancing around the back room of the stage, twirling in her pretty dress and exclaiming how excited she was to share their music with everyone. As the performance started, the young woman watched as the girl sang at an even louder volume than she did during practice and was now practically dancing at her side, leading to her breathlessly singing the words and going out of tune every now and then, all while beaming at the audience.
The young woman despaired at this fact, worried that her actions were distracting the audience from the true meaning and music of the songs they were singing. The performance concluded and they all left the stage to blend with the audience where some of their family and friends were. The young woman looked around and suddenly stopped as she noticed the young girl in the crowd.
The young girl who couldn’t stop dancing throughout the performance, who sang too loud, and who breathlessly exclaimed all the words was positively surrounded by audience member after audience member, all of whom were singing her praises. The young woman was mystified at this fact, having worried so much that the young girl’s actions would have ruined the performance. When she reached her own mother and brought this fact up, her mother just smiled at her.
“The songs that you all sang truly were beautiful and impressive, amazing the audience entirely. But that little girl, even though she made mistakes, brought such a powerful feeling of joy to the performance that it overwhelmed all who heard it, allowing them to feel joyous as well.” The young woman sat quietly as she pondered on her mother’s words and just what they meant. Over the next week, the young woman continued to try to understand her mother’s explanation.
All that mattered in a choir performance was the music being shared, right? That’s what she had always thought- that choir members were there to be instruments through which the music shone, they were not to shine themselves or it would block the light of the songs. But, the faces of the various audience members kept coming to her mind. When the new music arrived for the next concert, the young woman learned the music and prepared well. She focused on trying to understand why the young girl felt so joyous while singing the songs. But, by the first practice, she still didn’t see it.
As the practice started, the young woman looked down at the young girl and decided to try to match the young girl’s enthusiasm. As she began to sing the songs as loud as she could, moving about, and smiling as the young girl did beside her. As she acted this way, a powerful feeling of joy and happiness filled her heart and it suddenly made sense, completely changing the young woman’s understanding of the music she sang. This was what her mother meant and why the young girl acted so each practice and performance.
From then on, the young woman stood side by side with the young girl, both singing as loud, swaying or even dancing, and beaming out at the audience. And if they made a few mistakes along the way, it no longer mattered to the young woman. Because the joy that she had found in the performance of the music was what truly mattered in the end and made all the difference. For music is a thing of the heart and soul, able to reach in and touch each soul if one only allows themselves to let go of their worries and sing with joy and love.