To Sing is to Pray

I joined the small but mighty choir at All Saints a couple weeks ago.  I was hesitant to do so, what with my hearing and my aging voice and brain–but I am so happy I decided to jump  in.  I relish the work I find myself doing to keep up.

I managed to find my voice recorder in one of the boxes I had not yet unpacked from my recent move, and even found the extra supply of batteries.  So I brought it with me to choir practice  last Wednesday evening.  The recorder is a helpmate for my Tetris-like thought and memory process.

In case you are not familiar with the computer game, Tetris:  The game involves a series different shaped blocks floating from the top to the bottom of the screen, and the object of the game is to fit them together properly before it’s too late.

I can almost physically see my thoughts and ideas working their way down to where they belong these days.  Mostly it is just a matter of time, and they do get there eventually; but sometimes “eventually” is a little out of sync with the immediate need.

At any rate, I took out my trusty recorder and the sheet music and worked on it all this morning, and it gave me so much pleasure to sing these hymns and feel any missing links fall into place.

Singing was my most natural expression of joy at an early age.  My favorite pass-time was swinging in the backyard while I sang at the top of my lungs.  Whenever we were on family trips or “Sunday drives”  I opened the window and sang with the wind blowing my voice back into my face.

I am told that the first time my mom took me to Mass, I jumped up and started singing “Too-t00-tootsie, Good-bye”  when the bells were rung during Consecration.

I guess singing has always been something like a prayer to me, no matter what words were coming out.

At choir practice, we were working on mostly classical and traditional hymns, but one of the songs was contemporary.  It was clear that this was a digression from the usual choices for this choir.  I have to say, I love singing the more difficult work but bursting out with the simpler hymn is also a joy.

It seems that when we work hard on creating a beautiful and complicated piece to present during the service  we hope to show how deeply we respect and honor God.  But when we sing something simple, we are showing our vulnerability, admitting that we are but naked, helpless children before God.

Both approaches are valid recognition of God and our relationship with him.

This thought also rings true to me in regard to traditional worship services and churches versus the new modern Christian churches in their various contemporary forms.`

How I spent election day

I am very tired and I haven’t finished setting up this blog site, but I wanted to get some words in.  I will try to keep this short–in fact I will try to keep all my entries short.  (Being prone to rambling on in journals, we will see how that claim goes.)

I woke up around 7:30.  I had left myself a note on the refrigerator to go vote, but I had not forgotten.  I made a cup of Irish Breakfast tea, got dressed, tucked a zip-locked gluten-free blueberry scone into my purse and headed out into the drizzly morning.  It was pleasant going into the local Park and Recreations building a few blocks off the town square, standing in line a short time, exchanging smiling hellos, casting my ballot electronically.  I confess to not knowing most of the locals, but I punched  in anyone not republican everywhere I could and hoped for the best.

I had promised myself a real cup of coffee as a reward for performing my civic duty, so before going back to my car I walked looking for the little coffee house I knew I had seen around there somewhere.  After some meandering about the nearby alleys, I located the little shop and went in.  Beautiful  place, enlarged photos of Guatemala on the walls .  The proprietor enthusiastically described his different ways of brewing coffee available and I had him make me a latte (no flavor added).  “Ah, coffee flavored, ” he said approvingly.  I wandered about looking at the pictures and masks and other Guatemalan items and he told me about an upcoming film and Mayan dance presentation.  I asked if he minded if I ate my gluten free scone there, and he said no problem .

When I finished my treat, I spotted some prints for sale, and went over to browse the large collection of note-sized photography prints.  I selected one that appeared to be a table set for The Day of the Dead, and I asked him if they had a similar celebration as the Mexican one I knew a little about. He told me they had this amazing tradition of flying kites and took out his laptop to show me pictures.

Wow!  These kites are huge, taking five or six people to launch them.  Many are round, though there were other shapes.  They remind me of  mandala designs.  Apparently whole families work together making these kites for months before the Nov 1 celebration.  The kites are to honor their loved ones and ancestors, the idea being that the string connects the earth and the heavens.  At the end of the ceremonies, they set the kite free.  This whole thing just tugged at my heartstrings (sorry).  They put in all that work and then let it go.  Like sand paintings.  Like life.  Amazing.

Anyway, my coffee house visit took me to a better place than election day.

Now I am back home after work and dinner and shower watching the election results with very little sound and the closed captioning traveling across the screen,  It is later than I thought and I haven’t really been paying attention.  It’s beginning to look like Trump is winning.  This is so surreal it is giving me a stomach ache.  I think I will let the final results play out without me.

God bless America.  Really.  Please.

Goodnight for now

First blog post

Now that I took the plunge and was received into the Episcopal Church last Sunday, I can’t get over myself.  Part of me feels relieved, as if I have come to rest after a long and convoluted journey.  The rest of me says, not so fast.  You did not come here to rest.  You joined this gang of  misfits because you need them and they need you–the authentic you.   There is a lot of work to do.

Scary stuff for me.  Commitments.  Trust.  Confidence that I have something to offer.

O God, come to my assistance.  O Lord, make haste to help me.

We’ll talk again.