Friday, September 25, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Normally, my mail doesn't make me cry. Normally. But today's mail was an exception. Today's mail contained the season brochure for The Toledo Masterworks Chorale, and it pressed on a tender spot in my spirit I have gone to great lengths to avoid over the past several years. This blog began as an effort to avoid that tender spot. And I'd done pretty well, as of late. But tender spots always seem to be found, somehow. Someone presses on them by mentioning the unmentionable, asking the unaskable, or mailing you a brochure that gets delivered right into your hands and says, "Hey—pay attention to me now, would you?"
We moved here nine years ago, leaving behind this fine group of semi-professional musicians with whom we had developed deep friendships and made incredible music for eight years. It was the first time since kindergarten that I had not been a part of a choir. I am still, nine years later, choir-less, and today, in particular, that makes me very, very sad.
In a season of life within which women already tend to feel every shred of their identity is laid on the altar of motherhood, it was particularly excruciating to take this part of my heart and lay it down, not knowing when or if it would ever be restored to me. Singing was not just a part of my identity, it was the entirety of who I thought myself to be. I loved singing choral music with a passion that nothing else—nothing else—in my life has ever even come close to. Passion deferred, I am discovering, makes the spirit sick.
Singing with the Chorale was a source of joy, of emotional outlet, of pride. It connected me with God and with others in a way few other things can. I ache for that, and there is nothing I can do about it. There is still, nine years later, no ram in the bush to spare this offering. And so today, thanks to the Chorale's 38th season, I am sitting here at my computer wiping tears and grieving this empty, achy place in my spirit that cannot be comforted by anything less than being a part of that glorious sound again, and again, and again.
Best wishes to the MWC for a fabulous season. Looks like fun. Wish I could be there.
Sing loud, old friends. Sing loud.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Friday, September 04, 2009
Just finished reading Angry Conversations With God: A Snarky But Authentic Spiritual Memoir, by Susan E. Isaacs, within which a disgruntled spiritual spouse decides to take God, whom she has been told all her single life will be her husband, to couples counseling.
Near the beginning, Susan imagines, after having heard about the very popular Conversations With God, what a conversation with the God she currently is "married" to would sound like. It goes something like this:
Susan: God, what the **** are you doing?
God: Shut the **** up or I'll kill you or something.
Of course, this is not what God really sounds like. And, of course, she and God reconcile in the end. But I found the book intriguing, as both a counselor and fellow conversant, and began to imagine my own conversations.
Mine goes something like this:
(I see God across the room, standing alone, looking around at the crowd.)
Me: (Approaching him because he doesn't make eye contact with me.) Hello? God? Do you remember me?
God: Oh! (His eyes register a blank look, but he smiles and shakes my hand.) Sure. I remember you. What was your name again?
(I smile awkwardly, embarrassed that I've remembered his name but he's not remembered mine. Happens all the time.)
Me: It's Lorie. Remember? We grew up together. I go to your church.
God: Oh, yeah! That's right! I thought you looked familiar. How is Scott? (He looks around the room again, scanning faces. He waves at someone.)
Me: Tom. (I smile another politely strained smile, embarrassed all the more.) My husband's name is Tom.
God: That's right—good ol' Scott. (His hand is on my arm, but he's already moving toward someone else.) Hey, listen—I'd love to chat, but I need to go shower blessings on people and heal some stuff and get to know some folks for a while, so, I'll catch you 'round, okay? Good talkin' with you, Leslie! Don't be a stranger!
I stand there, smarting, as he makes a bee-line for a beautiful couple with the right clothes and the right hair and the right stuff and embraces them warmly. I overhear him:
God: Hey guys! Great to see you again—last night was great, wasn't it? Hey—did you get that new job I sent you? Oh, good! And how about the tuition payment? Yes? Great. And how are the kids enjoying the new pool? Fabulous. Just wanted to bless you guys—love to love on ya! We'll get together again tomorrow night, okay?
The sting grows warm, spreading, a stupid don't-you-dare-cry smile plastered to my bewildered face, as I watch God go from person to person, working the room. I observe with jealousy, with hurt, with anger. And I wonder why, after 35 years of trying to get his attention, he still doesn't notice me. As I turn to escape, I hear him laughing, see him embracing others, observe him gaze deeply, affectionately into their eyes.
I walk out into the parking lot, the cool fall air mixing with my tears, soothing my red cheeks but little else. A life-time of trying, in my own insecure, imperfect way, to try to get to know this man, and he still doesn't really know I exist, much less give me the time of day. Why do I continue to pursue him?
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Wrote this over the summer on a long, sunny drive. Thought it was fitting for today.
Green upon green upon blue upon green,
Spreading wide and long and high and deep.
What touches the earth, reaches the sky,
Bringing heaven within reach.
Spreading wide and long and high and deep—
Fruited branches ride the breeze,
Bringing heaven within reach,
Rooting peace in the soil of my soul.
Fruited branches ride the breeze—
What touches the earth, touches the sky,
Rooting peace in the soil of my soul…
Green upon green upon blue upon green.