For 19 years life had revolved around my son, with me doing all of the usual things that moms do, but now my nest was empty. Kevin had taken flight and gone off to college, and suddenly life was very different—no more boys draped all over the sofas where they’d finally fallen asleep in the wee hours of the morning; no more shopping for enough food to feed an army; no more school activities to attend—it was suddenly very quiet, and my husband and I rattled around in our big, empty house. Ironically, just a year or so before, Kevin had commented, “Mom, you’d better get a life—I won’t be around forever.” And he was right, and here I was.
Then my husband saw an ad in a paper inviting women to come and participate in a Christmas music program with the Santa Monica Sweet Adelines. Knowing how much I enjoy singing he suggested that I go and check it out so I did, and immediately fell in love with the barbershop sound. Soon I joined the chorus and harmony began filling the empty spots in my schedule. I had always loved singing in church choirs, and the melodies of the old four-part gospel hymns never failed to bring a thrill deep within my heart that went far beyond words. Now, with the Sweet Adelines, I was learning vocal techniques that enhanced my voice as it blended with and complimented those around me, and my appreciation of perfect harmony jumped to a new level.
Sweet Adelines regularly compete amongst themselves in quartet and choir contests, always striving to get every aspect of a tune exactly right—word perfect, note perfect, timing perfect—so that the blend of voices singing four different notes comes together in such unity that the music literally sends shivers down your spine. Every once in a while we would hit that perfect chord and produce a unique sound called an overtone in which a fifth note, sometimes called a fifth voice, is clearly heard. When this occurred it would not be unusual for us to stand in silence when the song was finished, awestruck by the beauty of the harmony, with tears of emotion flooding our eyes.
One special evening my son was at home and the two of us went to a late night showing of The Lord of the Rings at an IMAX theater. On the way there I had been trying to explain to Kevin how thrilling the experience of perfect harmony is to me and had demonstrated with a cut from a song on a CD—one that I could play repeatedly and never tire of; but it just didn’t seem to mean much to him. Later, as we were exiting the theater, Kevin said to me, “Mom, you know how harmony affects you? Well, that’s the way I feel right now, but it’s the incredible cinematography that touches me that way.” (No surprise that he’s now a video editor!)
And so I realized that as every person is perfectly and uniquely created by God, so also is He able to speak to each one through different aspects of life; thrilling our souls with nothing less than personalized gifts from God. When such moments occur I know that my heart is really rejoicing because I have had a taste of His glory, and I recall the words of an old hymn, “All that thrills my soul is Jesus; He is more than life to me…”
All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:3)