Joyful Noise

I love to sing, but I’m not a singer.

Perhaps I make that distinction because I’m from Chicago and was exposed to excellent singing from a young age. I’ve designated myself a “choir” or “background” singer because for years, whenever I sang alone, I couldn’t be counted on to stay on key. No, seriously. I have awful memories of me with a microphone. But that’s a story for another day.

Remember the phrase ‘singing the same old song?’ You run into an old acquaintance you haven’t seen in years, and they’re talking about the same thing they were the last time you saw them. It can be discouraging.

Nothing fresh. Nothing new.

Or what about that person who rarely has anything positive to say? How exciting is it to talk to them?

It’s like they’re singing in the wrong key.

Just like in the choir and on the microphone, I’ve been guilty of speaking “noise.” The sound coming out of me was ‘off’ because it emerged from a place in my heart and mind that remained bruised.

One of my personal goals is to share my story and my experiences from a place of wholeness, so I might encourage others in their own journey. Moving toward that goal took a lot of practice. I had to learn lots of new lyrics!

As a divorcee,  I went through stages before I settled on embracing my responsibility in the breakdown of the relationship. My storytelling shifted over the years. At one point, I was angry. At another, I was victim. At my worst, I was a self-righteous martyr. It wasn’t until my focus rested in the mirror that I traveled full circle in the direction of truth.

In other words, I sang off-key for years. My friends endured my lopsided stories. They were lacking; not disclosing major pieces of truth. It took time for me to learn to prioritize the whole truth. For example: truthfully, all his statements concerning how he experienced our relationship weren’t completely off. There was some accuracy in his perceptions, though they opposed mine.

Finally, I decided to honor the truth of the one who no longer loved me. I outgrew my need to be right. I didn’t have to agree with his interpretation, but I had to accept his right to have one. Healing had begun.

Today, my story has me as its main character. I’m no longer exposing the Big Bad Wolf of my version of events. It took time, effort and processing to get me to sing a new song. I just needed to find the right tune; one that wasn’t negatively influenced by my belting out words in the wrong key!

I get joy out of sharing my story these days. Sure, my future looks brighter and my days are filled with more sunshine than rain. But, I believe my days changed when my story changed. I hadn’t recognized how much my former account of what occurred fueled my shame and postponed my forward movement. The lesson: My mouth was the gatekeeper to the joy I sought, and now enjoy.

How do you share your story? Are you helping someone maintain their hope by your joyful melodies? There are ways to tell it beyond singing the blues. Determine that you will sing a ballad that will make others believe again!

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