Make a Joyful Noise

Screen Shot 2015-10-18 at 8.31.24 PMRecently, My Friend’s Mom died.
I was very sad to receive this news.
She was a great Lady and I Loved her.
I wanted to write something, and amidst the hundred million commitments between receiving the news on Sunday and the Funeral Service on Tuesday Evening, I did.
It was neither as fleshed out nor as Poetic nor as Deeply Expressive as I wished it to be.
But it was what I had.

I arrived at the Funeral Home and told my friend,
“I wrote something.
I am happy to read it.
And I am happy to not read it.
It’s not very good.
I am also happy just to give it to you.”

She shrugged, and said empathetically, “I don’t know.”

 I told her, “Whatever you decide is fine. No pressure. I just wanted you to know.”
A short while later, she said to me, “I asked my Dad, and he said it’s OK to read what you wrote.”

The service was simple, yet Beautiful.
Photographs and Verses.
I learned things about this woman I never knew — like that she was married by proxy when she was a girl in Cuba — So her Wedding Photo was of her standing alone, as her husband was already in Florida, waiting for her.
Incredible and So Courageous.

My Friend gave a Moving and Eloquent Eulogy for her Mom.
Then, her son spoke, so Beautifully about his Grandma.
Not a dry eye in the House!
Then, anyone who wanted to say something was invited to get up.

I stood and read these words.
My Friend’s Mom

It was simply an expression of how much this woman and my experiences with her in Life meant to me.
No one else chose to speak.
After a short while, My Friend’s Dad got up.
He said that he had not been planning to speak. But he now felt the urge to say something. When my friend talked with him about planning the service, they went for something very simple, as she was an only child, and it was just them.
“But,” he continued, “being here today and listening made me realize that our Family is much bigger than I thought…”
“You are All My Family,” he cried with Joy.
It occurred to me that my words may have acted as the catalyst that made him change his mind about speaking that evening.
No doubt, the Love he felt from so many people present,
and talking with them for an hour or so beforehand,
were a big part of what he was feeling.
Did my Courage to Speak and share something that was in my mind very much an unfinished draft, help give him the Courage to speak from his heart?
Perhaps it did.
Perhaps it had nothing to do with it.

But it made me think about the power of Words.
What you write
or what you say
doesn’t even need to be very Good.
It just needs to be an Honest and Truthful Expression.
And it will matter in ways that you cannot predict
Cannot even Imagine
The concentric circles
Ripples in an ocean created by the simple act of tossing in a pebble…
Expanding forever outward
Words to Feelings
Feelings to Words
More Words…
Deeper Feelings…
All it takes is the Courage to Speak
To Say what you have in you to Say
To Share Your Heart
Doesn’t Matter whether or not it’s Very Good, Whatever that Means.
Doesn’t Matter if others approve or would like to hear it.
It only Matters that you Speak your Truth
That you Open Yourself
That you Open Your Mouth
And Make a Joyful Noise
The Bible tells us “Make a Joyful Noise”
There’s nothing in there about “Make a Joyful Noise that is Eloquent and Well Crafted.”
Nor anything about, “Make a Speech you think people will expect and appreciate.”
It says, “MAKE NOISE!”

So, whatever it is you may be sitting on
Or thinking isn’t Good enough
Or that anyone else might not want to hear…
If it is your Truth, SPEAK IT!
Write It!
Sing It!
Draw It!
Craft It!
Express it!

It may be Exactly the thing that Awakens in Someone Else that small quiet Realization which they need to bridge them over through a difficult time.

Your Words have the Power to HEAL
To Propel Us Along our next 365 Day Rotation around the Sun.

You may not get to see the result.
You may not get paid.
You may not reach Celebrity status
Or a hundred thousand Twitter Followers overnight.

But you might just affect that one place in that one person,
A small and subtle shift though it may be,
That makes All the Difference.

Speak Up!
Make a Difference!


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  1. Something to emblazon on all our walls, internal and external. An anthem to the beauty of our truths. Thank you, Arnold.

  2. Rose Ann Sausto Harrigan

     /  October 20, 2015

    About twenty years ago, I admitted to myself that if I had my life to live over again I would have chosen to be a writer. When I shared this “hindsight parading as regret” with friends, the usual response was the standard advice that it is never too late. But there were children to raise, a law practice to look after, a husband to honor and obey and later divorce, a new relationship, a second marriage, the addition of a stepdaughter, and thousands of “things I had to do,” most of which I don’t recall, that took precedence over this dream. Still, I did not repress my longing to write – I kept a journal, typed emails (remember those) recounting the latest tale of my life to people on my contact list, and I sought opportunities to write letters, cards, and notes to friends and family in order to satisfy my need to express myself in writing. I don’t know that everything I’d written resulted in giving joy to the reader, but it did bring me joy to be able to pass my written creations on to an audience. Currently, I am engaged in a project of sorts which could result in my longest written work to date, or it could be just a way for me to pass time that does not involve posting, or tweeting, or instagramming, or some other spontaneous expression to a medium that was not available two decades ago. I have those days when I read part of my partially written draft and do not feel it is very good, very worthy, and I fear disapproval. But once again Arnold, your blog has been an inspiration. I am reminded that like the Carpenters had once sung “don’t matter if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear,” or in my case to read, just do it. Please continue to share your joyful noises with us. They are beautiful music to my eyes.

  3. Thank you, Arnold, for this — it’s testament to the beauty that’s in our truth, however expressed.


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