By Miles Jaye
Have you ever pulled up to a red light and noticed the driver of the car beside you singing their heart out? I bet you couldn’t help smiling. Someone was clearly in their own world enjoying the music, enjoying the moment. The car provides freedom to express yourself and requires no level of proficiency—just sing.
Have you ever been in your own car singing your heart out? Did it matter that you didn’t know all of the words to the song? Interestingly, knowing all the words to a song does not make you a singer any more than having expensive pro tennis rackets makes you play like Venus or Serena or owning a great set of golf clubs make you play like Tiger. The seclusion of your car, like your shower, provides you with the freedom to sing loudly requiring no level of proficiency, talent, training or intonation. You just sing.
What is it about singing that makes us all join in with the radio, the band, or the choir? My mom sang while she was cleaning—no radio, no stereo, she just sang. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling a good portion of the world and trust me, everyone sings. It’s simple! Singing is part of the human experience that somehow makes us all feel good. When we don’t know the words—we sing. If we don’t possess a beautiful voice-- we sing. If we have a flat-out bad voice that makes dogs bark and babies cry, we sing. It just makes us feel good.
I found myself thinking of all the things we avoid because we’re not good at it, or because it does not make us feel good. There are things we may need to do but do not because we’re not feeling it, we’re not in the mood, we don’t have time, so we never get to it. We don’t have to decide to sing, or plan to sing, we just do it, it comes naturally. We sing in the morning, when we drive, when we clean, or when we shower.
Imagine if prayer and meditation made us feel good, the way singing makes us feel. We might turn down the radio, slow our breathing, quiet our minds, and speak to God at that red light. Even with open eyes, we can thank Him for grace and mercy. Even with our eyes open at a red light we can meditate on His goodness.
Imagine if a conversation with God, however brief, made us feel good. We would just do it. I’ve heard people say, I’m not good at prayer, I can never find the right words. You don’t worry about ruining the song with the wrong words, you just sing. So, just pray.
Imagine if forgiving made us feel good, like singing makes us feel. Maybe we would pick up our phone at the red light and call someone we need to forgive-- someone needing forgiveness. “Hey, it’s me. I was stopped at this red light and thought, what better time to call you and tell you I forgive you.” I wish forgiving came as naturally as singing, but sometimes is a simple matter of finding the right words. If forgiving came as naturally as destroying an Earth, Wind and Fire song, there would be no way for beefs to last. The same goes for apologies. Just forgive, just apologize, just sing, in spite of the words.
Imagine if loving another human being made us feel as good as singing. We would go out of our way to be loving. I don’t mean love of friends and family members, it’s easy to love a loved-one. You’re expected to love your husband or wife—your boyfriend or girlfriend. Of course, that love, like singing, makes us feel good. What’s difficult is loving an enemy, a nemesis, a bad neighbor, an annoying coworker, a racist boss, someone who’s lied on you or to you.
The highest form or level of love is loving he or she you believe is not deserving of your love. Tragically, words of love have been replaced with words of hate, discrimination, racism and xenophobia. Perhaps, we don’t pray, meditate, forgive, or love, because we’ve been convinced that we’re not good at it. Somehow, we’ve learned that prayer, meditation, forgiving, and lovingare difficult, we don’t know the right words, they don’t make us feel good, therefore, we avoid them. The answer is simple; just sing! Struggle through the words for now, you’ll get better over time, or you’ll find, the right words don’t really matter as long as you SING.