When I was a toddler and would hum the tune, “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat,” my parents couldn’t tell what song it was. I had no sense of pitch. My grandfather could have been a concert pianist and had amazing pitch…such a dramatic fall to his granddaughter! I grew up believing I couldn’t sing and still have trouble singing in front of people. What instrument did I want to play when elementary instrument sign ups came along?
You know, an instrument that you need to be able to tell when you’re out of tune in order to play! Generally speaking, when you hit the correct piano key, you get the correct note. Things are a little more nebulous on a stringed instrument. You need to be able to tell when your fingers have found the right place. Luckily, six or seven years of playing and private lessons had a big impact and my sense of pitch has been trained. It’s much better than when I was a toddler.
Welcome to the 2017 quote series. This is one of a series of abbreviated episodes happening before Labor Day where we’re taking a look at little bits of wisdom in the form of quotes. Today’s quote is from Dr. Maya Angelou and she said,
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song”
You have a song. You have a song that is particularly yours. It is shaped by who you have been made to be. But, as my actual voice was shaped by training my ear, yours has been shaped by circumstances as well.
The world has plenty of people who are more than willing to spout answers. Many of us have a nature that wants to solve problems. Solving problems makes us feel like we’re doing something. But, generally people just want our song. Or, to share their song with us.
I think I’m about to take Dr. Angelou’s quote in a direction that it wasn’t meant to go. But, I don’t think she’d argue.
Hurting people are all around us. You don’t need an answer to help them. Simply acknowledge their hurt and listen. Your attitude of caring, your listening, your willingness to hear them is your song. And that song penetrates hearts so much faster, so much deeper than answers.
You don’t need to have the answer.
Instead what if you sing? And what if you really listen to the songs of those around you?