I live across the street from Chardon High School. During football season, Friday nights around here are pretty exciting—and pretty loud. When Chardon has a home game, hundreds of cars pack into our church parking lot. Hordes of people stream toward the brightly lit stadium. And before, during, and after the game, the marching bands play with precision and gusto. These bands got me to thinking: life is a lot like being in a marching band.
For example, as long as you are in the marching band, you will never see the overall pattern of your movements. From your perspective, things can look confused or even chaotic. But that’s okay. Take your eight steps this way, your twelve steps that way, and mark time if you are asked to do so. Trust the band director who sees the overall beautiful designs your movements are making.
While in the band, you will never hear the overall sound of the band either. If you play the trumpet, you will hear mostly trumpet. If you’re marching near the drums, you will hear mostly drum. But trust the director who hears the full sound of the band. Just follow the director’s instructions and tempo.
Be content to play your part and play it well, even when you don’t carry the melody. Cherish your instrument. If it’s a clarinet, fine; a flute, great; a horn, wonderful. Remember each instrument has a unique contribution to make to the music—even the lowly piccolo. If you find yourself envying another’s instrument, just ask yourself, “Who wants a band of all flutes, all clarinets, or all tubas? If you are tempted to become too proud of the part you play, remind yourself that it is the harmony of the other instruments that makes you sound so good.
And finally, dare to play all kinds of music suggested by the band director. Say not, “I play only Sousa.” Rather dare to try Gershwin, Hammerstein, Copeland, and Mozart even! Often the band director’s selection of music will elicit from you talents and strengths you never knew you had.
Are there other ways life is like being in a marching band?
What instrument and/or what kind of music are you playing right now with your life?