Recently I sang at a wedding for a young couple in my parish, an opportunity both thrilling and terrifying!
It’s such an honor to be asked to do that. At the same time, you don’t want to be the person whose Peter Brady moment destroys anyone’s dream nuptials.
I sang a total of six pieces before the ceremony even started, and I was just certain that one of them—“When I Said I Do,” by Clint Black—would be my musical Waterloo.
Fortunately, I’ve been blessed by the friendship and guidance of Steve Mason since I was in grade school. Steve is a supremely gifted musician and teacher, and he has helped me indulge my passion (and develop some talent) for singing despite the fact I’ve never been “technically” trained.
One of his mantras to our music ensemble is, “Make it beautiful.” Essentially: Yes, the notes are important. But if you miss a few, no worries. Just make it beautiful.
So as I prepared to do battle with Mr. Black’s lovely (but verbose!) duet with his wife, I remembered that instruction. Whatever you do, just make it beautiful.
And it worked! I certainly was not flawless on that daunting second verse, but I doubt anyone in the congregation had a clue. What’s more, I felt suddenly more confident—even inspired—and on the next piece, “When I Fall In Love,” I sang about as well, and beautifully, as I have in my life.
Please know, this isn’t me patting myself on the back. It’s just the realization that when we try to make things beautiful—when we stop focusing on all the little details and tricks and traps—good things happen.
So what if you miss a note? Whether it’s a B or a C, just make it beautiful.
Isn’t that all God asks of us, too? He knows we’re imperfect. Oh, how he knows it!
He just asks that we use our time alive in the world to make it beautiful, even if (and when) we make mistakes.
He’s always listening, yet he never minds when we get a little off-key.
So use your voice—use your life—and make a joyful noise to God.