28 February 2011
I KNOW THAT VOICE
Decades ago, when I was a freshman in college, I had the privilege of singing in a choral group called Blessed Peace, under the direction of Mervyn Warren and Mark Kibble, now famous for being founding members of the gospel phenomenon known as Take 6. Kibble and I developed a special relationship and years later, when their first album was released, even dated for a while. Kibble taught me almost everything I truly know about music – how to listen to it – eyes closed under headphones, listening for every nuance of the music; introduced me to artists I would otherwise be unfamiliar with (and some, even in person) ; and encouraged me to find (and use) my voice when I was quite content to be just another second soprano/first alto in a group of other voices. I think his biggest disappointment in me was when I stopped singing in venues other than my shower, bedroom and car.
On the flip side, because we spent a lot of our time in the realm of the musical world, I am very tuned in to his musicality and voice. Even after we were no longer dating, and he became the Grammy award winning vocalist, producer, and arranger that he is today – if I bought an album, CD, whatever – not knowing that he had anything to do with it – as I played it and a song came on that he’d touched in any way, I’d go to the liner notes, read them, and upon seeing his name in the credits, smile and say, “I knew I knew that voice (or style)”. And depending on where I was or knew he was, I’d call him and say, “Hey, I just heard your work on the Stephanie Mills/Donnie McClurkin/CeCe Winans project” and then give him my critique. (As if, I was an expert music critic – hahaha) He always listened patiently and sometimes, would even call me and ask my opinion about something he’d done. And I was always honest in my opinions…much to his chagrin. But that kind of knowledge and honesty only comes with relationships that are nurtured and cared for over time. They don’t happen overnight. Today, Mark and I live very different lives and sometimes we go months without speaking with each other. However, if I call him or he calls me, even without caller ID, the recognition of the other’s voice is instantaneous.
There is another voice that I pray I know just as intimately – and that is the voice of my Heavenly Father. The Bible tells us, in the 10th chapter of John, that God’s sheep (or followers) know His voice and follow Him. It has been my experience that God talks to me in various ways – sometimes it is the clear “Kristina, get off your duff and do this”; sometimes it’s the fleeting thought that maybe I should take another route in traffic – or the constant urging to reach out to a long-lost friend. Sometimes, the voice is loud and distinct – other times, a little soft and muffled. But I am learning to listen, learning to act when I hear it. Getting to KNOW that voice. The greatest thing that voice will ever say to me will be: Well done, my good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of Thy Lord. Don’t you want to hear him say that to you?
© 2011 Kristina E. Smith
Sunday, February 27, 2011