Grace has been defined as the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul. ~William Hazlitt
Before the fire, I had a picture of Taylor, at age 18 months, banging on a banjo at his grandpa’s house. He’s been strumming on strings ever since I can remember and it’s one of things I miss most about him being away for college. When he started his band in high school, they would occasionally have Caiti sing with them, and then I could hardly contain my joy.
She knows exactly what note to sing and when to sing it. It’s almost like she’s reading his mind. They know each other so well and they’ve sung together so much that the harmony seems to come easy.
But. I’ve heard their practice sessions and oh, the bantering. She tells him it’s too high; he tells her it’s not. She tells him it’s too loud; he plays louder.
Harmony is not the absence of conflict, but instead the yielding of that conflict toward peace. The yielding is purposeful and smart. Yield too far and you lose the harmony. But refuse to yield and everything is off. God will make beautiful things of us, as we courageously seek to yield ourselves to each other in forgiveness, service and love.
We live in a world of discord and we can either participate in its chaos or seek to be gracious agents of harmony.
The word harmony comes from the Greek word, harmos, which means joint—implying a working together or a flexibility. That willingness to accomodate, to be flexible, to be agreeable, is something I saw everyday, growing up in the South—but it’s certainly not unique to Southerners. We all know it when we see it. We appreciate being around people who are easy to be with, who can blend themselves well with others—by laying down some of their own prejudices or strong opinions. When we create this kind of harmony in our little circle of influence, it ripples out much farther than we know.
Harmony doesn’t mean we’re all playing the same note. It specifically means we aren’t. Harmony does not imply weakness, but great strength and command of your gifts and faculties—knowing just what to sing and when to sing it. To bend and flex and yield to others is to show grace in the most tangible of ways.
The world is harsh enough. Chaos reigns. The conflict makes for bad music and our ears are all ringing from its discord.
There is a way to react to the friction—a perfect note to sing—that will dissolve so many of life’s struggles and conflicts. It takes work. It takes practice.
But, a life lived in harmony—yielded to others—will make beautiful music in a noisy, clanking world.
Day 6 Challenge: Identify a situation in your life where there is conflict, resentment, or discord. It could be in a friendship, family situation, or group you are a part of. Take an honest look at your own contribution and culpability to this particular situation, then think of one or two things you could do today to help resolve the conflict, ease the tension, or move towards reconciliation.
Be sure to read Ruth’s corresponding post, Less Discord.