Harmonically Excursive (Psalms 119:73)

Being a physician, one may assume that the most enjoyable class I took in college was a science class, but it was not, it was a music theory class. However, it was not the expected music theory class for music majors who were required to have proficiency with the piano, nor was it a music theory class for students who had absolutely no musical background. This class required all students to be able to read music and be proficient in any musical instrument but did not fulfill the rigorous requirements expected of a music major. Since I played guitar and violin and read music, it was the perfect music theory class for me.

I loved the class! Each homework assignment analyzed a great work of classical music: piano sonatas by Beethoven, string quartet pieces from Mozart, and so on. I learned the nuances of the melodic and harmonic underpinnings that established these composers as geniuses. The semester sped by and we were given our final examination assignment. We were to submit an original musical composition and were given no restrictions. I dove into the task with gusto.

Building upon my background in classical and jazz music, I composed a complex piece that could be performed on guitar. While following a traditional framework of most songs, I utilized harmonies and rhythmic devices that stretched my usual boundaries of music. I was quite proud of my work and was elated when my professor praised my work and wrote in bold red letters on the composition, “Excellent job! Harmonically excursive!” I successfully built upon the lessons I learned in the class to create a new direction in my music. 

You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands. 

Psalms 119:73 (NLT)

All successful entrepreneurs, artists, and musicians must learn the rules first before breaking them. Instead, for much of my youth, I placed the cart before the horse, paying lip service to traditions, thinking my creativity would be superior to hundreds of years of tradition in any endeavor I encountered. Religion was no different. I eschewed traditional religions and believed I could create a superior faith, unfettered by the trappings of institutions. In my sophomore year in college, God gave me the sense I was lacking and showed me how I needed to learn the commands that He issued from the beginning of creation. I learned that I was not a random and fortuitous collection of molecules that evolved from simple sugars and amino acids to become the complex being that I am. God created me in His image and my purpose was to follow His commands so that I would thrive and prosper under His rule, not mine. 

I still seek to be excursive in everything I do, yet, I now do so completely grounded in God’s teachings. He sets the rules so that I do not break them!

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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