I recently discovered the beauty of uplifting music. Since being back from our missions, Zoe and I really have been trying to get back into I guess what most people would call “normal life”. Regular music, movies, computers weren’t really part of our usual routine. I’ve realized my taste in music has been refined over the years. I use to enjoy more upbeat, louder music, however somehow I find the calming, soft tones of slower beats more likable and comforting.
Music is very powerful. I can enjoy a good song but I can’t sing or play music very well. Growing up, all three of us were required to learn how to play the piano. I honestly hated it. Banging out keys and scales on the piano for hours was an ordeal. I made up my little mind that I was never going to be good at it.
Our mum made a deal with all 3 of us that we could quit right after Grade 7 exams (yes we do piano exams in HK). I remember walking into my last piano exam at age 16. I can still see the examiner’s face in my mind during the aural part of my exam (where I had to sing a tune back to her). Her face was blank after she heard me sing. She asked kindly if I wanted to try again. I could see it written all over her face. She obviously thought I was tone deaf. They word humiliation doesn’t even enough to describe how I felt. That is the story of my music career. Period.
Fast forward a few years. August 2014. I was sitting in the Visitor Centre in Palmyra New York. (In the church we have many visitor centers around the United States that everyone is welcome to into to understand the history and the basic beliefs of our church). I was a brand new missionary at that time. A man of Mexican descent dressed in black walked in. He asked for some water and we directed him to the fountains. He looked distressed. My companion, inspired, asked if he wanted a tour of our visitor center, since it was full of displays about our church. He declined. She went further to persuade him to just come to sit in the room with the statue of Jesus Christ. Upon entering the room, he just broke down. After a period of silence, he relayed the story of how he was planning to bike a couple hours away (on a HIGHWAY) to his uncle’s house. He had decided to leave his girlfriend and his children. He was done with all the fighting. The anger in his voice was apparent. However, the pain and regret was evident in his tears. Not knowing what to do, I felt a sudden impression to ask if we could sing for him.
Singing?! That was not me at all! I still remembered that humiliating aural exam experience years ago. I knew I was not born to sing. But at that moment I felt that father needed it. No matter how bad my previous experience was I knew this was what I needed to do. So pushing away all thoughts of worries, questions and insecurities, I prayed for confidence and for a miracle to happen.
Trying to forgetting lack of singing talent, me and my companion sang the well known, beautiful hymn “I need thee every hour”.
The next thing that happened was a miracle. As we sang, I watched tears flowing down the man’s cheek. I have never seen music touch someone so powerfully. When he was finally able to control his emotions, he sincerely thanked us for the music and left with a huge smile on his face. His whole demeanor had changed.
I was shocked.That was the power of music.
I don’t know what ever happened to this young father. But I will never forget him. I learnt an important lesson that day. No matter how terrible you are at singing, you can still touch someone’s heart if you sing with your whole heart. It isn’t about how angelically you can sing..in fact your musical ability doesn’t matter as long as you are sincere about it.
Ever since then, I realized with much regret how my hatred for music and my embarrassment prevented me from learning to appreciate it. No matter how bad I was, it was still something I could have had to share with others, and to bless the lives other people. Because the real beauty music comes from one’s heart. It is the sincerity of the heart of the person delivering the music that truly makes a song delightful to the audience.
Just like music, cooking isn’t so much about talent as it is about the heart’s intent. How good a dish tastes really depends on the cook. Time, effort and intent is really what makes a dish taste great. People can feel your love as they taste your dishes. And like music, this rather vibrant dish is comforting and warming for the soul and stomach. Never before have I thought beans, tomatoes and salmon would go together so perfectly – bites of salty, flaky salmon with crunchy green beans and a burst of sweetness from the tomatoes.
Adapted from Beyondkimchee
Ingredients – Serves 3
- 1 lb Salmon Fillet (450g)
- 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
- Black Pepper
- Dash of Paprika, Oregano
- 5 oz Green Beans (150g), trimmed
- 6 oz Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (add liberally)
- Pinch of salt
How to Make:
- Preheat oven to broil. Lay your salmon fillets on a baking tray. Season generously with salt, pepper, paprika and oregano. Rub in the spices with your hands.
- Broil for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Baking time will depend on the size of your salmon. Make sure its not overdone, in fact I prefer it slightly underdone because it will cook through when you mix everything together.
- While your salmon is cooking, Blanch your green beans in boiling water for 3 minutes until just soft.
- Break your salmon into bite size chunks (i liked it bigger so I sliced each fillet into 8 pieces)
- Heat a non-stick skillet on medium heat. When its hot enough, add in your garlic and green onions. Sauté for a minute. Add in your green beans. Season with salt and sauce for 1-2 minutes.
- Add in your tomatoes and sweet chili sauce (feel free to add in more). Mix well and let it soften for 1 minute. Add in your salmon.
- Allow the mixture to heat through and make sure it is all cooked through. Adjust seasonings according to taste. Serve with rice or noodles!
Gluten Free: Make sure your Thai Sweet chili sauce is Gluten Free or you can make your own!
Grain Free: You can make your own that doesn’t use rice vinegar!
Paleo: Green bean lies in the grey area but if you feel uncomfortable using it you may substitute with other vegetables – try use one that has more of a crunch texture to it like broccoli.