It's interesting to rediscover common threads of our humanity. Take music for example. If I were to examine every human, I know I would discover that each of us connects with particular sound waves that drive certain emotions. Music makes us feel.

I went to an Arcade Fire concert once. I hope to have the opportunity to go again because to this day, it was the closest I’ve ever felt to God through music. They consist of about 9 musicians who pump out sounds as full as an orchestra. Slowly, masterfully building songs, the musicians will occasionally step up to the microphone to join the lead singer and chant. Not just any chant either, I could visually see each and every one of them pulling out of their depths an emotion so strongly connected with the song it sent chills down my spine. Since I was already well acquainted with their songs I, in return, tilted my head back looking towards the rafters and sang/screamed as loud as I could in the chorus of 6,000 other people. You know when you hit a note and actually harmonize (doesn’t happen very often with me so I love when it happens) with a lot of people? It feels as if your voice just latched onto a sound train steamrolling by and you get to ride it as long as you have air in your lungs. This is the rib vibrating ecstasy I was experiencing. And there, right then, something happened. I felt like I went primal, tribal even.

Over and over for the rest of the concert, I united with something so much more than myself, something that for thousands of years people of every tribe and nation finds connection with: the Japanese with taiko drumming, the aborigines with the didgeridoo, the Celtic people with their bagpipes, mountain folk with banjos, and now me through shouts and screams barely distinguishable over the mounting wall of orchestral sound in the amphitheatre. Now this was music, this mattered. I was alive. Like fire burning through me alive. The whole time I was praising God with thanksgiving. I was just so thankful to be there, in that moment, connected to something. The whole world seemed to disappear and there was just me and God and music.

This brings me too yesterday. A bunch of women in the village gathered right outside our house and started singing at 8am and didn’t stop til about 11:30am. It seemed like they warmed up until they found the rhythm of the heart beat. And once they did, they sang, hummed, and clapped with alternating inflictions and intensities. I began to feel these poetic sounds penetrate my skin and connect with my soul. So, I went outside and sat on the tower and felt the cool breeze bring their song and chant right through me. I looked down to see shirtless men in rolled up jeans and hoses working the field to the rhythm of the claps of the women. Again, here I was connected with something that was beyond me.

Even in the deep brokenness of Haiti, these vibrant parades of melodies seem, even for a moment, to drown out the cries of hopelessness. I understand praising God can do that, for everyone, even the most hopeless, even me. The louder they sing, the faster they clap, the closer I feel to Heaven. What will a chorus of angels sound like? It’s all a beautiful reminder that I am a soul confined to this temporary skin on loan for my earthbound days yet God finds me where I am, trapped and desperate, giving me glimpses of music, glimpses of meaning, glimpses of hope that foreshadow the day I return home.
K. (Givens) Smith
3/19/2010 06:16:40 am

Absolutely beautiful!

3/19/2010 10:32:56 am

that's the way to bring the noise--dude rapper

3/20/2010 03:08:04 am


3/20/2010 05:24:42 am

oh. yesssss

3/22/2010 10:19:04 pm

wow, wow, wow!

3/24/2010 05:56:00 am

i can't wait to come. see the boys. see you guys. feel haiti's love again.

3/24/2010 05:56:55 am

oops. i meant for that comment to go with the previous blog post. the one about you arriving. sorry, jerm.

4/1/2010 12:12:25 am

jer, thankful for your heart that is so alive. you are feeling lots of feelings. freeeeeeing!

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1/1/2011 04:58:20 pm

Happy new year

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