When my classmates and I were measured for musical aptitude in 5th grade, I came up short. Unable to play a note or carry a tune, I do nonetheless enjoy music very much.
I discovered a video (below) that makes some important points about music … and life.
The tall bald man playing alone in the plaza at the beginning is making as much noise as he is music. Then, as others and their instruments join in, they blend into a famous tune and a song sung in many tongues around the world.
Each musician adds his or her aptitude and instrument.
Those who can’t play watch, smile, dance or sing. Look at their faces; the anticipation of something special unfolding before them and their joy at being part of it.
The point is that every person has something to contribute. When each of us plays the part we have the aptitude to play, beautiful things happen. Not everyone can be an electrician, nor can everyone be a brain surgeon. But we need both and more than ever, we need each other.
We are all too willing today – even eager – to sacrifice our individuality at the altar of conformity. Doing so makes us all poorer, robs us of the melody of our lives and disrupts the rhythm of our souls.
It doesn’t have to be that way. It wasn’t meant to be that way. We weren’t created by a cookie cutter. Why, then, are we content to squander the gifts and qualities that make us unique?
The video was made in Spain on an evening in May 2012. You know the tune – “Ode to Joy.” It is a poem by Friedrich Schiller that was later adapted by Henry Van Dyke, and is also a tune that is part of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
The words from Van Dyke’s adaptation are below. In any language, they are powerful and poetic. Take a few minutes to watch the video, raise the roof as you sing the song and feel God bless you this Easter.
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
Op’ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!
All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee.
Thou art giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Wellspring of the joy of living,
Ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother,
All who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.
Mortals, join the happy chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us,
Brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward
In the triumph song of life.