The Missing Chord

I awoke one morning after a restless night sleep, plagued with dreams which focused on unsolved problems and a merry-go-round of failed attempts to resolve them. Getting up and falling into routine morning tasks, I noticed the bubbles on my hand as I washed them. The light played on them in a way that made them look different. Perfectly round, many different sizes, some seemed to reflect little rainbows. My hands almost sparkled.

Adelaide Proctor wrote a poem titled: “A Lost Chord”. It was read by a queen, turned into a song, used by a famous inventor when he presented the phonograph, and used by others as well. I think it describes something we all seek.

What is that missing chord in our lives? A joy we see for a moment but quickly fades? Can you remember the time of greatest joy in your life? Mine came with the birth of my first child. I greatly anticipated this moment but when it came, the joy was so overwhelming, I just sobbed. The beauty of a baby, of a new life. I wasn’t thinking of any dreams I had for her or of future events in her life. I was overwhelmed with a joy I could not describe, and have difficulty even now. It seemed beyond anything I had ever felt or could have imagined. It was as if the love in my heart for her had exploded beyond my ability to contain it. It could have filled the universe.

But if joy comes only in those once-in-a-lifetime moments, we are to be greatly pitied. What about a normal day filled with routine, sometimes even boring tasks. How about those times we find ourselves stuck in traffic on a busy day, or trying to find time (or inspiration) to fix a healthy meal for ourselves and our family, or just trying to relax after a difficult day at work or after a difficult conversation with your child or a friend. Perhaps it’s easier just to distract ourselves with Netflix, to shove the uneasy feelings deep within our subconscious mind. Yet ….

There will always be dust in the corners, clothes to be mended, and a list of undone tasks, but there will also always be beauty in soap bubbles, light filtering through a window, and the gift of a smile. There will always be problems, but also a Problem-solver. Pain may try to intrude, but joy is always there for those who seek it. It may come as a surprise from others, but is best nurtured in our wandering through the everydayness of life. It is best found in thanksgiving. Can we find it? People are drawn to those with joy. Can we find that and give it away?

Can we find that missing chord?

“A Lost Chord” by Adelaide Proctor

Seated one day at the organ,
I was weary and ill at ease,
And my fingers wandered idly
Over the noisy keys.

I do not know what I was playing,
Or what I was dreaming then;
But I struck one chord of music,
Like the sound of a great Amen.

It flooded the crimson twilight,
Like the close of an angel’s psalm,
And it lay on my fevered spirit
With a touch of infinite calm.

It quieted pain and sorrow,
Like love overcoming strife;
It seemed the harmonious echo
From our discordant life.

It linked all perplexed meanings
Into one perfect peace,
And trembled away into silence
As if it were loath to cease.

I have sought, but I seek it vainly,
That one lost chord divine,
Which came from the soul of the Organ,
And entered into mine.

It may be that Death’s bright angel
Will speak in that chord again,
It may be that only in Heaven
I shall hear that grand Amen.[1]


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