Humming a Whistle

As I was picking my youngest out of a carseat the other day, she grabbed a soccer-shaped whistle from her proud sister and began to blow on it. She had seen her older sisters make loud, attention-grabbing noises with the whistle and, as in much of her life right now, wanted to be able to do what the older girls are doing. She discovered rapidly that her attempts to blow the whistle resulted in no substantial noise. So she created a solution that would work for her: she began to hum, the whistle perched in her lips. I was amused and impressed at her persistence and ingenuity. Somehow, though, that image struck me as communicating something true about grace and the atonement. If you’ll pardon a sustained and not particularly polished metaphor, it seems to me that our salvation, the making of something truly godly out of each of us, is like getting the whistle to sound. We provide the breath, but the music (such as it is; the metaphor is imperfect) comes from the whistle. It seems to me that some of us (and perhaps most of us at some time) believe that if we cannot hear something from the whistle, we will create it from our own throats, we will mimic the whistle with our vocal cords or pursed lips. But that noise is a poor imitation of the sound (think of the whistle as a wind instrument now) that can be made by Jesus.

May our heavenly choruses ring loud and true, and may the voice that issues from us be God’s.


  1. Beautiful stuff, Sam.

  2. The Right Trousers says:

    Nicely done. There are a lot of ways to express this, and I’m of a mind to start collecting them, starting with yours. :) I like to point out that Alma talks about *receiving* Christ’s image in your countenance, not chiseling at your own face until you think it resembles his. Same idea, slightly more morbid form…

    I wonder, though, if a little humming isn’t good for us. It could both show us the futility of doing it (if we’re paying attention) and show God that we’re willing to try. Or maybe that’s the blowing part. Or maybe I’ve discovered one of this analogy’s breaking points.

  3. Very nice thoughts Sam. Thank you.

  4. As they say in AA, sometimes you need to “fake it til you make it.”

  5. Very nice.

  6. fake it til you make it.

    But it will get you fired from the Apprentice (Martha Stewart version).

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