Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

1 Chronicles 16:8-10:

O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples. Sing to him, sing praises to him, tell of all his wonderful works. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

Every few years, the Peking Acrobats come to Kirksville as part of the Truman State University Lyceum series. Even though I am enthralled with their stunts, what really sticks out in my mind is this: They always give a "Children, don't try this at home," disclaimer. I laugh at the disclaimer and realize if I had seen these folks as a kid, there wouldn't have been an intact dish in the house after I had gotten done trying all the stunts--especially the "balancing dishes on sticks" ones.

Well, Saturday I attended something that would have been the equivalent of "Children, don't try this at home," in the "High church music" world--a Handel's Messiah sing-along.

The Trinity choir and our "next door neighbors" at First Christian Church set up this sing-along. As many of you know, I am not a choir person, but when we have special services like Taizé I will show up and sing tenor. Some of the choir folks convinced me to come along and participate.

Just before it started, I was looking through the score and thinking, "Oh, swell. I know like three pieces in this thing, and that's including the Hallelujah Chorus. I know a little of "The Glory of the Lord," and "Unto Us a Child is Born," and that's about it, and I certainly don't know much beyond the melody."

In my mind's eye, I could see broken dishes everywhere.

But as it turns out, I had fun.

Believe me, I fluffed entire sections. But the parts I was on, I was all over it, and loud and joyful. Yeah, there were broken dishes all over the place. But I wasn't the only one breaking them...and we didn't make nearly the mess I thought would happen. I continue to learn wonderful lessons in the presumptuousness of my taking "hyper-responsibility" for messes.

As I drove home, I thought about how "singing to no one in particular" is a common pastime of mine. I sing to myself when I am sitting out by my chiminea fire, or taking the dogs on a potty run, or in the shower. I sing when I am doing errands, or when I'm bored. Actually, I sing a lot. It's just far from professional.

I also thought about the times in my life when--literally--I stopped singing. I simply didn't do my ordinary habit of singing. Something had crept in and I wasn't singing anymore. The more I thought of it, the more I was reminded of a time when I used to cry about the things that hurt me, and one day I just stopped crying. Just like that. Said to myself, "Crying doesn't change it," and I stopped.

Stopping singing was a little different. I don't remember, in those stressful periods, ever consciously deciding to stop. I just noticed months later that I wasn't singing.

What I consciously decided to do, though, was to START singing again. As the 12-step folks will tell you, "Fake it until you make it."

I thought to myself, "The most powerful moment in the movie Casablanca is when everyone in Rick's Cafe starts singing La Marseillaise over the singing of the Germans. If it worked for them, it can work for me."

The amazing thing was, it worked!

Yes, the Peking Acrobats can keep all the dishes in the air--and guess what? We can't.

But we can sing. We can sing glorious songs of praise for having an abundance of dishes to break. We don't have to worry about whether they are the everyday dishes or our grandmother's china. There are always more dishes, as long as we wake up and draw breath on this earth. Count on it.


The last singing I really did was Messiah about 10 years ago. now I just don't sing, although once in a while, if I'm alone or in church, I try. Odd, as I was a voice major in college and I loved choirs more than anything else.

Also, I don't cry (except for 2 minutes about every 10 years or so). I was taught not to cry as a child and it stuck.

Thanks for reminding me I'm not alone.



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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