Very Important Matters

On the drive home, the kids and I talk about our day. E is still under the impression that I lie around and spend most of my time channel surfing. For that matter, so is his father. However, clean clothes and full bellies tell a tale, one that doesn’t involve laundry fairies and grocery laden leprechauns. In the car I listen, mostly between the lines. Today, we skip over the inevitable tattling on one another, and launch straight into Very Important Matters. These almost always center around which classmate had a cookie in their lunchbox or who said a naughty word in class.

My boy tells me that they are learning a new song in band class. Band consists of nearly every fourth grade student, each toting an instrument bigger than their head, and one lone, loud band teacher. God bless her. She managed to get them all playing the same piece, with the delightful command to ‘Play it faster’; always a crowd pleaser amongst the fourth grade set. According to E, the trumpet players mistook faster for louder and in their excitement drowned out the rest of their bandmates. He said with a sigh that it became too hard to keep up. He finally quit trying, his horn drowned out by the noise of the others.

I sighed too because who better to understand this than his mama? I know what it is to fear being drowned out by the louder, better, stronger, more talented among us. Don’t you? There is always someone who will be heard above the cacophony of noise, one who will play with more passion, one whose talent will rise and seemingly drown ours out. There is always someone whose music will shame us into putting away our instrument.

Too often we let them. We allow their music to drown out our own, until we are silence instead of a symphony. I tried to tell this to my boy, feeling a lot like the pot talking to the kettle, but I know he needed to hear it and so did I. Maybe you do too. Maybe you need to be reminded that you are an essential part of the piece. The song isn’t the same without you. You are not silence, you are a part of a symphony. It’s time to pick up your horn and play.