Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sound (My Sacred Life, Sunday)


It's so simple an element of our lives that we may miss the influence, the immense power that sound has. From the alarm clock which many of us use to startle us into the beginning of our work days to the gentle lullaby we use to soothe a babe to sleep at night, sound is with us all the time.

In fact, it is a cliché of the scary movie genre that, right before the monster/bad guy/alien appears, someone says, "It's too quiet out there." So, at times, we notice the absence of sound more than we do sound, itself.

Sound as we specialize it becomes even more precious. Music...can you imagine your life void of music? Most people have a soundtrack they can pull from in their heads: the song that was playing the first time you danced with someone, the song which you considered "our song" in your first romance, the song you remember hearing right after your first breakup.

The tune you walked down the aisle to (or heard as you stood at the altar, watching your bride-to-be approach), your first child's favorite nursery song, the music your deceased parent asked to have played at their memorial service...all are part of us, as we pass these milestones, in a way we could never forget.

Even people who become unfamiliar with their own relatives as they fall into dementia often can recall and sing the words to favorite songs. Sound is that much at the core of who we are, who we want to be, and who we become.

For me, and what brought the topic to mind this morning, there is nothing to compare with the uncontrolled giggle of a little baby. At least in my family, one of the days we mark is when a new member of the family first smiles (no, you curmudgeons, you! It is *not* gas!), and then, a few weeks later, finds life entertaining enough to provoke laughter.

My youngest is now learning to drive, so it has been a long time since I was able to hear my own offspring giggle in that way that only a baby can do it. So, I substitute by making faces at the babies people bring in to show their coworkers in my office. My faces, well-practiced on dozens of little ones, usually work. I have no desire to hold the baby or coo to the baby or otherwise interact. I just want to hear them giggle. Yes, selfish of me, but everyone (including the baby) seems to enjoy it as much as I do.

Today, my Sacred Life Sunday is filled with memories of the sounds of my kids laughing...first, as tiny babies almost unable to stop giggling, they enjoyed it so, and later the belly laughs we shared for the silliest of reasons, and now, as they are young women making their way each in their own fashion, we share more smiles than loud laughter. Yet, behind those smiles are all those many times we shared our love for one another through all the kinds of laughter there is. And, for me today, it's exactly enough.


Olivia said...

Beautiful, Rick! Peace and joy, O

Sylvain said...

I always remember a loved ones laughter. I keep it with me. I can hear Kelly's in my head right now, and I am blessed to know I will hear it again soon. But I can hear my fathers and my mothers, my sisters, and my close friends. It's something I enjoy and I am pretty good at making it happen. And I hold on to it dearly.