Just as a literally tonedeaf person is unable to comprehend the differences between musical notes, a metaphorically tonedeaf person is unable to comprehend the different facets/nuances of a given situation. A statement such a person makes might also be described as tonedeaf. Jun 12, 2014

If you were fortunate enough to be raised with music you understand this title well. Two decades of hearing angelic family voices around me equipped my pitch-finding path. Those musically-inclined might credit their talent as learned and honed. Granted, I feel fortunate to have had great teachers, I view my ability to harmonize or find pitch as a gift from God. Admittedly, I have been tone-deaf too.

You know the scene. You’re either watching a contestant on a singing show (one of a zillion) warbling out words causing you to think of the expression, “can’t carry a tune in a bucket.”, or you’re standing next to someone~anywhere~that might be humming a tune that may sound a bit…unpleasant.

A friend of mine would say, “All God’s children have a place in the choir!” We’d laugh. Yet, seriously and with sensitivity, it explained that no matter who you are or what you did, you were accepted.

Being tone-deaf doesn’t necessarily mean you have a bad voice. On the contrary, I know I lot of people that might not get the pitch, but have a great voice.

Sadly, beyond the scales of the pages and the music we sing, many are becoming tone-deaf to the world around them~OUR WORLD. Conceivably, tone-deaf to the situations in their own homes. It seems so easy for some to zombie away their humanity~numbly existing with little or no regard to anyone or anything around them? They’ll join in a round just because the lead singer is the loudest.

Do you hear it? Can you hear the voices? Are we on pitch? I’m riddled with guilt when I become tone-deaf (posting or saying something insensitive that is in direct contrast to the current topic or situation). It isn’t about ignorance. Are we truly aware? Are we paying attention? Don’t we all sing at times (and loudly might I add) and immediately declare, “I just put my foot in my mouth WHILE singing off-key?”

Witnessing the hate and deliberate tone-deaf messages are distressing. To appreciate our similarities and respect our differences has been echoed. It sounds repetitive; much easier to speak than do. Can we call a truce? Can we declare a ceasefire?

It’s ok if you’re a little off-key, we all are. There’s hope because we can train our voices. For some the music is deafening; others have turned a deaf ear. Despite tone-deaf sounds, I choose to hear the good.

When we hear the music around us can’t we all strike its chord? Because the underlying melody in all of us is beautiful. Amidst the clanging of communication, the ringing of the rhetoric, the muddling of the meaning, and the music of mockery, may those of us who choose to hear and use our voices for civil create a symphony of solidarity.

K.L. Hale
Have faith 💚

Humor Me…

How many times have you heard “If I don’t laugh I’ll cry”? Shared again just this morning, it hit me that I hadn’t had a good belly laugh in a few days. You know the ones…your side hurts, a snort might sneak out, and you laugh again later just thinking about it.

Like my faith~deeply rooted~humor has provided soft landings for hard falls. I’m native to a giggling homeland. My youngest son once said “I love how our family can laugh-even during hard times.” That hit me right between my heart chambers.

It was 1988~My wombmate (a.k.a. twin) and I were singing for the Chamber Choir of Southwest Missouri State University. Humor did not have a place at any practice. Dr. Guy Webb, choir director, was an amazing talent. He was demanding and picky~and not what I would describe as “humorous” by a long-shot. And you had better not “scoop”. To “scoop” meant you would start at a note and slide up to the note you SHOULD be singing. Simultaneously, the two of us scooped (very loudly) to a….wrong note. “Oops-a-daisy!” Things spiraled quickly. “Do not look at me!” I thought to myself. And we did it. We made eye contact with one another. NO, it wasn’t with Dr. Webb (had it been things probably would’ve remained dignified). Instead, our twin eyes caught one another and it began. IT ALWAYS begins with just a tiny giggle. And when the shoulders start to dance, it’s never a quiet outcome. Needless to say the practice had a small intermission (I’m sure other singers might agree it was needed).

Perhaps I could write a memoir titled “Times I laughed when I shouldn’t have laughed and most people would not laugh, but the weird ones like me would get it.” (WAYYYY TOOOO LOONNNGGG of a title anyway).

You see, I had to (have to) laugh. In every situation, whether sad, frustrating, horrific, unbelievable, or even catastrophic, there lies deep in my soul a pint-sized risible region. And also, residing there, is the ability to understand irony. This developed at a very young age. As a child (and now) I remember learning to understand others. And humor played a huge role.

Without diving into brain research on child development, my experiences as an educator guided me to help students develop imaginations and spot incongruities. I understood students who “got” the joke~and also those who didn’t. We all process different. Brains process humor differently. Disney and Pixar movies are loaded with humor that we, as adults, understand (and some young ones do too). It’s a joy to watch little people develop their humor.

“Having a humorous outlook on life is a good coping strategy. It helps people better manage stress and adversity. More negative humour styles, such as sarcasm, ridicule, and self-defeating humour, do not offer the same benefits. Instead, they tend to alienate people and are more associated with depressed mood and aggression….And neurobiology shows that laughter can lead to brain changes, which may explain the link between humour and intelligence.

Sadly, there are some that can’t laugh. Maybe due to a physical or biological reason. Or because they are in despair and find no reason to smile or even laugh. I’ve been there. I understand.

There’s nothing funny about the turmoil I see in our world. It doesn’t “tickle” me to witness loss of laughter in some, illness in others, hate spewing from a few or a pew, and people tearing one another down because of their own inability to love others with an open mind and no judgement. To let go of the perceived knowledge that EVERY person should think like YOU, be like YOU, dress like YOU, love like YOU, believe like YOU, walk like YOU, talk like YOU, and laugh like YOU.

There are many situations in my life that have brought tears. And when I have laughed so hard I cry,….well, those are the tears I hope we can ALL shed as much as possible. Try to make someone smile. In this complicated, and sometimes dark times, I pray you find a reason~any reason, to laugh. In contrast to my “brittle” bones, requiring much faith and attention, my funny bone seems to be more resistant to fracture. And my backbone stays strong too. Humor me…even if I’m not funny, I’ll still choose happy.

Have faith💚

Just for giggles…