Harmony isn't one of those everyday words for us Aussies. 'Come to the barbie this weekend, bring some beer and some harmony'. Nobody says that.
We hear the word mostly when someone is persuading us about their virtuous, non-profit cause.. Not for our actual lives.
Today I turned up to an aged care home in Melbourne, to hear some harmony. My sister recently joined a choir, and I wanted to be moved and inspired.
They performed there, and it was proper choir glory, just as I hoped. 4 different yet related sounds, melding into something that makes you dissolve a bit when you hear it.
What I want to know is, how do we create harmony where we really need it, when people are annoying us, the house is in disarray, and things aren't working.
I remember seeing the Chinese Olympics, with those mass performers, all the same shape an size doing the same thing, and talking of harmony. No guys, thats not harmony, thats monoculture and conformity. Its costly, all that forced erasing of difference, and no fun.
Harmony is when you get people who are different from each other, staying true to their own natures, and making each other look good. Or sound good. Or be good. The blend sets of something that enchants.
So there I was listing to angels start up, and I was not feeling the love. I was distracted and upset. The reason was the powerfully noisy old lady behind me. She was in her wheelchair, a classic tuck-shop lady, having a gleeful complaining session to her friend, and with no signs of stopping.
What do I do?
I decide connection is the best defence. I turn around and offer her my songbook, help her find the pages, as the choir created their miracles. She doesn't sing, but quietens down. When I accidentally dropped my camera lens cover, she and her equally creaky wheelchair buddy bent down, to pick it up and pass them over the seat to me. 'I saw it first!' She assured me, in her booming voice. 'Im helpful' she may as well have said, and that interpretation suddenly makes her cute. Annoying fades away.
When the event was done, she called out asking me to come closer. She sounded just like the witch that make Hansel and Gretel's candy house, but I pulled closer. 'Your bra strap is showing, she said, and made a big production of tucking it under for me, all the way around. I liked her sudden tenderness and attentiveness.I went all still, like when a cat gets patted. We were in a grooming relationship, this tuck-shop old lady and myself. Us furry primates like us are designed to for cohesiveness. We made harmony!
Connect. Ask favours. Re-interpret in a better light. Find a useful place for difference. Every character trait has a niche it can actually be helpful, and when we find these niches for the people around us, its glorious.