Duets more complicated than solos

By Curtis K. Shelburne: CNJ religion columnist

Well, my oldest son is now officially engaged. This is the young man who not that many moons ago allowed as how he sort of doubted he’d ever be much interested in marriage. I don’t remember exactly the way he phrased it, but I took him to mean that folks of the female persuasion just tended, in his estimation, to be far too much of an impediment and a serious complication to life and happiness. Generally speaking, he considered them to be disturbers of the peace. His peace.

Chris is now singing a much different tune and it happens to be a duet with a beautiful young lady named Shayla. It seems to me that right now the only thing about Shayla that disturbs his peace is being away from her. I couldn’t tell that it bothered him at all to go to the trouble of scoping out a nice spot at the serene little lake at MediPark in Amarillo and planning the fairly elaborate ruse necessary to get Shayla out there without raising her suspicions as they went for a walk down the path around the lake and came up on a white picnic cloth covered with rose petals and featuring chocolate strawberries under glass, with Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable” in the background, one red candle burning, two glasses, a dozen roses, and a loaf of bread waiting to be fed to attentive ducks once the ring was on her finger.

No, it just didn’t seem to be too much trouble at all to plan that whole thing. The ease and appeal of singing solo has faded. The duet has wonderfully begun.

Now, it doesn’t take a lot of deep thought to realize that duets are in many ways more complicated than solos. It’s easier for one singer to learn a song than it is for two. In the sort of duet we have in mind here, the singers will both need to know both the melody and the harmony, and they’ll need to be wise enough together to know when the time is right for which one to sing which part. And they’ll need to know, most of all, that the really important thing is that they sing together and that uppermost in their minds is that the music of their duet  is blended with and orchestrated by the Conductor to whom they both swear allegiance.

No doubt about it. Duets are more complicated than solos. But I think they also tend to be a lot more beautiful.

One of these singers is headed to Africa in a few weeks for a long stay. The other is working hard to complete a very demanding degree. I’m quite sure there will be some tears in their eyes that wouldn’t have been there if this beautiful song hadn’t been begun. Beauty and tears are no strangers. But I’m also sure that as they are committed to following the lead of the Conductor, some of the most beautiful music of their lives has already begun.

Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at ckshel@aol.com