Monday, March 21, 2011


By the time I was my daughter's age, I'd been singing in a choir for at least six years. I contemplate this as I watch her make corporate music with her classmates today—praying that similar seeds of interest and affection would likewise get lodged deep within her ready heart and take root.

Their voices are sweet, innocent, self-conscious. How long until she learns to sing with abandon, I wonder? How long until she discovers the thrill of giving herself over to the experience? How long until her joy in the glorious moment overpowers her fear of what other people think?

I flash back to my weekend—singing love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all, with my college choir Saturday night—full heart, full voice, full volume. Complete abandon. Complete accord. Complete joy.

I try to tell Beth about it at breakfast. About how alumni of the Chorale always get to join the choir in the singing of this piece at every concert. About my director and the significant role he played in that very significant time in my life. About how I've never been so happy as when singing with a choir of that caliber. But I can't tell her. Not without tears. Not today.

The Chorale sang—

What can purge my heart
Of the long And the sadness?
What can purge my heart
But the song Of the sadness?
What can purge my heart 

Of the sadness
Of the song?

("Song for Billie Holiday," Poem by Langston Hughes)

This sadness cannot be purged by any other means. Song is the remedy. Song is the therapy. Song is the salvation.

There will come a time when Song will be restored in my life. All is healed, all is health… Hearts all whole. ("Sure on This Shining Night," James Agee) I eagerly await that day—when my heart is once again whole. Until then, I merely listen, missing pieces of that which is most essentially me.

My thoughts come back to the 6th graders before me—fresh-faced, fledgling voices lifted up together in praise. I smile, fighting back tears for the second time today. I pray for their song to purge my sadness. And I listen with eager excitement, awaiting with baited breath the moment when they, too, learn the fullness of joy that comes from abandoning one's self to the music. Until they, too, know what it feels like to be Complete.

No comments: