In an interview with Krista Tippett, cellist Yo-Yo Ma reflects on the transitions inherent in life while quoting Isaac Stern: “The music happens between the notes.”
“What does this mean?” Yo-Yo Ma pauses to ask. “How do you get from A to B? Do you glide into the next note, is it a smooth transfer, or do you have to reach—physically, mentally or effortfully to go from one note to the next? Could the next note be part of the first note? Or could the next note be a different universe? Have you just crossed some amazing boundary and suddenly the next note is a revelation?”
Making music is infinitely complex. It takes mental and emotional and spiritual investment. A meaningful life requires the same.
As much as we would like it to, life never stands still. I am halfway through a summer where I have spent some blessed downtime focusing on my first book project. The thought of the academic year beginning in a few short weeks makes my heart heavy. But Yo-Yo Ma has made me pause here to ask, “How do I move from one note of life to the next?”
In Psalm 98 the Israelites are encouraged to “sing a new song” while living in exile. They were far from home, living in a foreign land with strange new foreign ways. It was a painful, uncomfortable time. Yet the psalmist encouraged them to sing. Find your way to the next note, I imagine the Psalmist advising, and, find the way your notes connect to make your song.
According to the psalmist, we each have a song to sing. Knowing this can be a comfort in the in between times when we find ourselves stretched, uncomfortable, depressed, or grieved. Our lives have meaning and purpose, but how we make our way from one note of life to the next determines the melody we make. It would serve us well, then, to lean in and listen; to be intentional in the in between times; to find our way with purpose, confident that our notes will eventually connect in a song that only we are meant to sing.
[Feature Image: Pogo1]