If you were to ask me what was the #1 thing I’ve learned in life in the past 2 years, I would tell you it would be learning how to work with my sisters. Up until our big move across the country to Ohio, I had a best friend at Church who I relied on for companionship, and my relationship with my sisters wasn’t that strong. Although we loved each other (what siblings don’t?), and played an awful lot together, we weren’t forced to be best friends with each other, if you know what I mean.
That all changed when we moved to a new State; in reality, a new life. We girls really had no one to cling to, except each other. We just so happened to move when Jess was just entering her teens, so it was a transitional period in our lives. Yes, we made friends, and it was a blessing just how quickly those friendships came about. But it just wasn’t the same. Things had changed in our girl’s hearts, and it was each other that we began to confide in, laugh, talk, and just overall learn about and befriend more. The rough spots were hugely apparent, though. Oh boy. There was (was? is!) never a day that goes by without some argument that resulted in raised voices and angry hearts. I know that this isn’t special to our family: everyone goes through it. But that doesn’t excuse the sin that is the root of the conflict. The big problem was, however, that we girls began to immune ourselves to the ugliness of the arguments. Raising our voices and getting angry at each other was just a part of everyday life. If our lives at that time were to be played like a song, we would have sounded something like a three year old randomly slamming down on the keys of a piano, with an occasional good note.
The arguments and ugliness of our relationship epitomized when we girls began singing together in a trio shortly after our move. There was a reason why I was so apprehensive about such an arrangement. It took me a long while to understand that singing together wasn’t about me. I was especially bitter about singing with my two sisters because I was the alto, the lowest part. That role really took its toll on me and my pride, resulting in a couple episodes of me breaking down in tears at our voice teacher’s house. Yeah… awkward. I dreaded every practice, every performance, everything. I hated and was hugely bitter about my role in our trio, which probably didn’t help much in our girls’ everyday relationship.
However, as we girls continued learning about tuning chords and using our voices to blend with each other, it became apparent to all of us that singing together wasn’t about each of us individually and how our individual parts sound on their own. Rather, we learned that when we sing together, we become as one, complementing each other’s voice, blending, adjusting, bending to make the others sound good. We learned to do this by technique and training our ears to listen for what was in tune and what wasn’t.
This is what you call harmony: when a musical chord is played or sung, all the parts being played in sync and in tune, blending to complement the rest of the parts. Harmony is not a single note, ringing out all on its own. There is a special power bound up in the layers of a chord that has so much more impact and strength. When done right, it sounds beautiful, and gives an overall wholeness that can’t be achieved by a single note.
I’ve often heard about books, talks, and all the rest regarding sibling rivalry, relationships, etc. I always shrugged off sibling harmony as being something that just wasn’t for us girls. We just don’t work that way. We fight, yes, but still love each other through the hate, right? Right? We’ll all grow up soon, start families of our own, and all the rivalry, hate, and disagreements will fade out of sight…
I finally realize that God has placed the beautiful gift of musical family harmony with my sisters in my life for a greater purpose than just giving joy to the ears and hearts of others. I have, in my very hands, my very life, the most perfect example of just how breathtaking relational family harmony can be. We always get the amazed remarks from fans and friends after an impressive song about just how impeccable our girls’ vocal harmony is. Can you imagine just how much more beautiful we girls could be if that musical harmony translated into our relationship? Like I mentioned above, in order to tune a chord and keep in tune, we girls instinctively bend, soften, louden, and tweak our voices. We have trained our voices to implement this technique… now what if we could use that same technique in our hearts? How beautiful would our speech, actions and communication be if we let the mistakes slide and bend our schedules, thoughts, words, activities, and all the rest, to be in tune with each others? Letting go of our individual importance, what if we put the overall “sound” of our harmony of our relationship first?
This is my prayer, for myself: that I learn to put my sisters first. That I not be the one to put the chord out of tune… and when I am, I learn to take the correction with a smile, and bend myself a little extra… even when it’s hard.
I love you, Jessica and Brigid. I want to sound beautiful with you. My life is not about me. It’s about how I interact with those whom God places in my life. It wouldn’t be any fun on my own. I take too little time to realize your individual beauties and imperfections that make our chord as sisters beautiful and unique. It is my prayer that I learn to take the extra step to make your day better, serve you, and make the chords we sing in life more in tune.