Finding a Major Key

Last week, as I prepared a snack basket for a friend’s family to enjoy following a celebration of life, I listened to Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor. It was what happened to be playing on Symphony Hall that day at that time.

Although I’d heard the piece before, I suddenly noticed many sections end in a major key. You’ll probably think I’m a little crazy, but that realization brought tears to my eyes. In a world fraught with uncertainty, senseless cruelty, war, deception, and personal struggles, funeral music written hundreds of years ago grabbed my heart because, even though it is a dirge, sections end in a major key. That transition from a minor key to a major key is the uplift in otherwise mournful, solemn music.

We can experience the same by adding an up note, a positive forward motion perspective, to difficult circumstances.

Following are ways to find a major key when everything around us seems to swirl in a minor key:

Appreciate Simple Joys

Almost 40 years ago, a coworker gave me a cutting from the gigantic Christmas cactus in her office. The plant began as a cutting from her mother’s plant. Now, in March, my Christmas cactus is happily blooming in the light of our dining room window. Seeing those blooms and knowing the plant’s history bring me joy.

It’s common for us to focus on the negative aspects in our lives. They loom large and occupy our thoughts. It may take effort but looking for simple joys and appreciating them brings “major key” moments to the difficulties of life.

Recognize the Beauty and Lessons of History

Had my parents still been alive, they would have celebrated their 75th anniversary last week. When I look at the picture taken on their wedding day, I see the love and radiant joy on their faces. They didn’t know the difficulties that were ahead—years of infertility, cancer, financial stress—yet they faced those challenges with love, commitment, and faith.

My recent reading list has included World War II novels. Several of the novels focus on the bombing of London. The Nazi bombing raids were intense, nightly, and relentless. People spent all night squeezed into dank shelters, listening to the explosions, and wondering if anything would be left of their homes and businesses when they staggered out of the shelter the next morning. They made the best of a frightening uncomfortable situation by forming friendships, singing, and telling stories.

Most of us can’t imagine the hardships of rationing, nightly bombing raids, and catastrophic loss of life, but if we learn anything from this time in history, it’s the fortitude and resolve of the people to find a “major key” despite the devastation.

Savor Unexpected Blessings

Last week, I learned my book, Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well, and a devotion I wrote for, are finalists in the 2022 Selah Awards. I’ve entered this contest before, many times, but never reached the finals until this year.

I relish this unexpected blessing. It comes at a time in my writing life when I need a boost, an affirmation that my writing is worthy and makes a difference to readers. Even if I don’t win, being named a finalist is an encouragement to me.

Perhaps your unexpected blessing comes in the form of a refund check, a thinking-of-you note, a surprise visit, or the opportunity to encourage someone. Look for unexpected blessings, savor them, and give thanks for gifts that end or begin your day in a major key.

Hold on to Hope

Watching the people of Ukraine flee their country and hearing them beg for help is heartbreaking. Their overwhelming cry for rescue and peace is the cry of all our hearts.

So much in life is unsettling and anxiety-producing, but in the words of a recent devotional, “Dear friend, do not fear the future. Jesus holds the title deed. He knows what is coming, and He has you in his hands.” *

Today, pray for a “major key” upturn in your personal struggles and in the devastating situations of the people of the world. Hold on to hope.

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT).

*From Heaven, Life, and the Resurrection ©Thomas Nelson 2021


Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including:,,,,, Focus on the Family,,, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

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