When I first surfed across the idea of choosing a theme word for the year, I immediately knew it was something I wanted to do. It was the one idea that inspired me to follow through with some sort of newness resolve for 2009. I started my word search with a question: What do I want to be different about my life this year? In the space of about ten minutes, the theme word for my year fluttered into focus.
The last few years of our lives have been ones of unprecedented joy, springing largely from the birth of three glorious gifts that have so impacted my heart of hearts. But, these last few years have also been ones of unprecedented change, and change is challenging. I came into 2009 feeling tired and disjointed. The fragments: the push and pull of being a working mother, the ups and downs of starting a small business, the yeses and nos of raising toddlers, the outs and ins of ordering a bulging home, the gives and takes of nurturing relationships, the blacks and whites of growing a God-pleasing heart, and all the grays and middle grounds and maybes in between. Like playing with one of Squiggle’s favorite shape sorters, I’ve found myself shuffling this handful of disjointed life parts, looking for ways to piece them all together–to make them all into a kinder, gentler, greater, better whole.
Don’t get me wrong. All my wonderful “parts” continue to bring joy, and I’ve been able to maintain a fragile, but consistent peace. But, if I’m honest, it’s not enough. I want more than tenuous contentment. I want more than sanity on the verge. I want more than barely under control. I want more than a fragile peace. I want to give my family more than a fragile peace.
So, I started thinking about harmony. And what kind of peace it brings.
My handy dictionary.com defines harmony in these ways:
1. agreement; accord; harmonious relations.
2. a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.
3. in music
a. any simultaneous combination of tones.
b. the simultaneous combination of tones, esp. when blended into chords pleasing to the ear; chordal structure, as distinguished from melody and rhythm.
c. the science of the structure, relations, and practical combination of chords.
4. an arrangement of the contents of the Gospels, either of all four or of the first three, designed to show their parallelism, mutual relations, and differences.
In keeping with what I learned about my 252 approach, harmony is a noun–a state of being, not doing. When I think of harmony in music, I think of a blending of beautiful sounds that creates an even more beautiful sound, a sound that is richer than the sum of its individual notes. Hmmm. Harmony brings stability and strength and agreement and melody to my fragile peace. It becomes peace plus. Peace beyond. Beyond just acceptance. Beyond just contentment. Beyond just existence. Harmony is a peace that embraces. A non-begrudging peace. An open-hearted peace. A peace that sings.
Sounds good. So, how do I get it? Where do I even start? Dictionary.com’s quickie etymology lesson, gave me an idea. The word harmony stems, in part, from a greek word for “joining” or a “joint” and “shoulder”–for me, a body analogy for fitting together in such a way that allows a full and productive range of motion. A fit that can bear weight. The greek word (harmos) shows up in this verse from Scripture:
“the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (hebrews 4:12)
So, that’s my starting place–God’s word, again. The source of all truth and understanding. The depths of where soul and spirit are divided, it can penetrate. Where joints and marrow are disconnected, it can reach. It can pierce the most disparate of dividing lines and weave clarity and unity. It is the only foundation of a peace that sings, the starting place for Harmony.