God catches me in the moments between songs.

He’s fast like that. A brief juncture of something that doesn’t quite amount to silence supplies a broad expanse of time for one who happens to personify omnipotence. Typically, this happens in the car. Somebody had probably either finished screaming or rapping and the song came to a conclusion. The shuffle function on my iphone didn’t need a full second to line up and start the next melody but in the time that it took to do this, I heard singing coming from the car next to me.

A girl’s voice chirped through the six feet between us. A dainty arm draped out the open window tapped on the car door. Wanting to hear more, I paused my music and prayed that the light would stay red a little longer. Beyonce and my neighbor sang something about seeing another person’s halo, halo, halo. There were more words. I couldn’t tell you what they were and frankly, even if they were the best lyrics on earth, I doubt they’d add much to this story, or any other.

My singing friend wasn’t alone in this car. She was in the front passenger seat with two more of her compatriots in the back and a driver at the wheel. I add this because  even though she was only carrying a tune with our radio diva, she was entirely off key. This girl could not sing. She was tone deaf. She kept going at it and none of her friends said a thing about it.

I was nominally troubled by the disconcerting performance that I only had to endure for about twenty seconds. I got to turn my music back up and probably made sure it was something obnoxious enough to cover her whacked out warbling. I couldn’t imagine having to suffer through the entire performance and more as an audience, captive in the small sedan. I would probably have to ask her to calm down and keep it to herself, regardless of how moved she felt by a song about some dude’s halo, halo, halo.

Trying to avoid looking like a creeper, I attempted to watch her friends using as much periphery as I could manage. Every now and again, I directly glanced over. None of them seemed to say anything. They all just sat there, looking excessively complacent for a situation that called for a rude awakening to a performer that should never have opened her mouth. I realize that’s a rough statement, but we’ve all been around someone who can’t sing. They find and sit behind us in church all the time. It’s mostly alright then because at least those unfortunate individuals find themselves in the process of worshiping Jesus and their voices can’t jump out too much against the other hundreds of intonations working on the same tune. Worshipful, unanimous recitations of songs are acceptable. This was not.

I’ve never pushed unity. I’ve always held questioning and truth-seeking as more valuable than agreeing with people. Why would it matter if people concurred with each other, if they were all wrong? Erroneous thoughts probably love company as much as misery does, but misguidedness in a group context makes everyone look dumb.

Unfortunately, one person being off-kilter from the rest can make everyone miserable. If they can’t metaphorically sing in tune with everyone else and nobody says anything, the suffering party, no matter how large, deserves to feel the pain. Sacrifices need to come about to help everyone be in key- the right key, making amazing harmonies or something ridiculously cheesy like that. So even if it’s difficult or awkward, be willing to bring people into harmony with each other. Everyone benefits, as long as the right sacrifices are made.