A friend of mine bought me a harmonica. It was somewhat intended to be a joke, for an upcoming camping trip. It’s no secret this glamour girl isn’t the most outdoorsy wilderness lover, but I find a sweet calm and swell of romance whenever my husband is leading us through the deep green forest or building a fire to cook our dinner. There’s nostalgic freedom about going back to basics in mother nature with just me and the man I love. Camping has become my re-set button when I need to detach from the world and we try to escape to the serenity of the woodlands as often as possible.
When my friend handed me my present, I laughed and commented that I would be playing “Home on the Range” in no time. Like a child on Christmas, I examined the small silver rectangle. Pressing the cold tin to my lips, and expecting it to sing like Blue’s Traveler, I exhaled. A quick and very sharp hum reverberated through the small device and shot out the other end. I moved my lips farther down the keys, and repeated the breath again. Two things were made very clear to me: my lung capacity wasn’t that great, and that it was going to take a lot of work to sound anything like Blue’s Traveler.
After a few more minutes, I began to get the hang of it, allowing my lips to glide back and forth over the mouth piece. I was pretending I knew what I was doing, simultaneously covering some holes and blowing in others, all the while sounding like a second grader with a recorder quickly running out of breath. Without thinking, between pushes, I took a deep inhale. To my surprise, the harmonica serenaded a sweet and soft chord, and I realized sound comes out both by blowing in the instrument and sucking in as well. Apparently, playing the harmonica would be the harmony between breathing, both in and out, both actions needed to create the delicious harp sound.
I found the Harmony in the in-between.
I got to thinking about my life. I am a do-er, a pusher, full of effort and always exhaling. I am the one trying to make things happen by taking charge of my hopes, dreams and ambitions. I can be impatient, anxious and controlling. Trying to keep time in my pocket, I want it my way and I want it now. My efforts are as tiresome as my exhale.
In the milliseconds between gasps, my body’s natural instinct was to take care of itself and gather some oxygen. If I am always pushing and putting in effort, I will die, suffocated by my own selfish desires. Some of the most beautiful moments in my life have occurred when I am resting, waiting and taking care of me, while making other plans. I may think I know how things will go, but I know my higher power is laughing. The wail of the notes beg forgiveness to rests in the score. On my inhale, I am humble, I am quiet, listening, honest and willing. On the inhale, I am myself. I am enough.
My heart will only really be able to sing, when I am not trying to write the chorus.
The next time I am sitting around the campfire, I will pull out my harmonica. I will breathe in and out until I hear something like the tune. Eventually, I know I will have to exhale, to move, to try again, but I will cherish the beauty that evolves in the in-between and listen to the wisdom of the fate’s melody as long as the song will play, and the skies are not cloudy all day.