Monday, June 20, 2011

That where there is discord, I may bring harmony

The other translated line of this prayer reads "unity" instead of harmony. I will stick with the version of the prayer I have been using until this point. The word "discord" has multiple meanings according to the dictionary, a lack of agreement between people or ideas, quarreling, or in musical terns, dissonance, or lack of harmony. This English major loves it when phrases are open for interpretation, people are unique, what's wrong with individual interpretations of literature? To digress for a moment with a story, I had an English Professor that insisted that his interpretation of a short story to be the author's intended meaning. I had another reading and was curious, so I wrote the writer, who answered me promptly. The professor was wrong. Which brings me to my concept of internal discord. Why, years later, do I delight in the fact that this pompous man was wrong? Clearly I have a wee bit of internal discord. See a previous entry for my attempts at forgiveness. Saint Francis, 1182 - 1226, was a monk who founded the order of Franciscans, and whose basilica stands today at Assisi, in Umbria Italy. For a great book on the life of Saint Francis, read Valerie Martin's Salvation: Scenes from the Life of St. Francis. He is believed to have studied with the Troubadours (a composer and performer of Occitan lyric poetry in the High Middle Ages.) Saint Francis loved to sing and it is fitting that one of the most famous images of the monk is a scene of the Preaching to the Birds. In musical terms the prayer might ask for harmony where one finds dissonance. This might be the answer to a complex issue, that of, how can we as individuals bring harmony to a world filled with chaos, cruelty and abuse? I cannot end world hunger, stop wars, or cure disease. It is hard for me to hold my temper during high volume traffic let alone bring peace to warn torn countries. Maybe the answer is to add a little music to one's life, a little harmony, something to uplift the spirit. Certain studies have shown that certain types of music actually alter the cells in our bodies, making them healthier, music such as Pachelbel Canon in D for instance. Stop, breathe, listen, and bring harmony where there has been discord, just for today, just for you.

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