There's my sweet little Addi at 17 months. Her older sister introduced her to ipods and ear-buds already, under strict sibling supervision of course, and Addi likes to dance standing next to big sis.
What a sweetie. But Addi the Sweet earned herself another nickname this year, a name given to her from frequent moments she creates in our home such as this:
Addi does not like things in baskets, things in drawers, things in stacks or things in rows. She does not like them here, she does not like them there, she does not like them anywhere.
Kid Chaos does not like it when the room grows too quiet or the adults get too serious. If she senses a state of concentration, a semblance of order, settling into her habitat--she springs into motion, banging, clanging, pulling, pushing. . .or running to that magnetic refrigerator Leap Frog toy of madness:
The goal of the toy is to help babies make matches, learn their animals, pick up the tunes of some familiar kids songs and manipulate chunky puzzle pieces with their chubby little knuckle-less hands. The name of the toy is not Farmer Tad. That's the name we gave it because most times when you push the main button he yells at a decibel level usually reserved for jet planes: "HI! I'M FARMER TAD!" in an electronic voice supposedly simulating the dialect known as "redneck baby animal."
Push the button again and the toy begins to play such classics as The Farmer in the Dell and She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain, again at teenage garage band levels, but now in a synthesized banjo sound which could feature in the computer-animated version of the movie Deliverance.
Addi, aka Kid Chaos, tends to park herself in front of Farmer Tad right when older sister Micah is trying to do her math or when I'm cooking in the evening. . .
When I cook, I like to put on some music and make the whole process an enjoyable, and I don't mind saying, worshipful experience. It's the end of the day, the family is home, God is gracious and food shared around the table is one of life's greatest blessings. . .
I usually don't put on overtly Christian music (sorry Churchfolk) but something singer-songwriter oriented or a band that plays their own instruments and writes their own songs, something with no auto-tune or no sounds coming from a setting on a fancy keyboard.
I had some Avett Brothers on the other night and I was particularly excited about the evening's meal though now I forget what it was. . .and the music was playing, I was chopping and dicing. . .the night was good and full of potential. . .
Then sweet little Addi, the Chaos Spinner, ran to Farmer Tad and camped there, pushing the button repeatedly, sending out one after the other of demonic banjo kid's classics.
Have you ever tried to concentrate when there are two songs playing in the room at the same time? I'm lucky I didn't lose a finger. It's not that there weren't distinct melodies being played, it was that there were two melodies being played, chosen by two very different DJs with opposing agendas.
The dissonance in my kitchen from the competing songs is something I believe many of us live with relationally every day.
It may be with our spouses, with other family members, with co-workers, or with God.
We have a song, a melody we want to play--that we demand to be heard! Our instrument will trumpet out its tune and it will be up to everyone else to get in line and play our song! I picture us, and myself in my pride, living our lives as one-person bands, strapped all over with many instruments, playing a solo of our own choosing (not unlike our friend Bert) and forcing everyone else to stand in the shadows with their little triangles, permitting them to strike the one note on the triangle whenever we deem best. . .
When good singers sing together, or good instrumentalists play together, they don’t all sing the same notes, but they sing the right notes: it’s what we call harmony.
One of the ways I like to view God is as The Great Conductor, conducting a Symphony of Redemption in the world. . .His wand of Patience and Sovereignty wooing all of our melodies to submit to being part of the music, showing us how we're all really called to be harmonies of the whole rather than solo melodies sending more chaos into the world.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Romans 12:16
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers and sisters, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8
The relational dissonance with God or with others often comes from a lack of submission of our "voices" and "instruments" to the Great Conductor. The attitude that others are "lower than us" or their melodies are not as important is not the way of humility and compassion. . .and not the way of those excited to play in the Grand Symphony of Redemption.
As we've said before here on the blog: We must love people for who they are and not for who we want them to be. You have to appreciate others' melodies and allow them to be that, trusting God with the rest. Don’t put expectations on them to be something they are not, do not demand a flute to sound like the saxophone you may be. (This paragraph is crucial for us married folks.)
If we keep our eyes on the Conductor, the notes we sound out won't be the same notes as everyone else, but they will be the right notes. He can masterfully weave our melodies into a myriad of wonderful harmonies. I like the sound of that much better than the mind-numbing chaos of a loony tunes kitchen full of competing songs.