Wednesday afternoons, back there in the woody hillside autumn days of my Pennsylvania childhood, we scurried through the fallen leaves, home from school.
Today, as I led the Primary children in our little rock church here in Farmington, in their annual Primary program, I found myself channeling Emma Lou Patton. I felt her with me. I’ve been leading Primary music, this time around, for well over four years. Today the children spoke, and sang, and testified with their inherent purity and charm. I stood there in front of them, planted strategically in the third row of the congregation so the kids could all see me from the stand, and gave my young friends the beat to follow, my lips mouthing the words in an overtly animated way, hoping to trigger their memories to prevail over their nerves.I stood there and bounced my hand to the exact beat of each song as my flappy underarms flew like water balloons underneath, always behind the beat. Just like my own Primary music teacher. The prideful part of me cringed at the thought of it, but the child in me rejoiced in it. I thought of holding my arms snug to my side and just moving my wrist. But, thankfully, age and experience have released me from the steely grip of excessive pride and I held my arms out wide, like I was preparing for a massive group hug, and off my underarms went, dancing unfettered. I don’t think the kids minded, though no doubt they have noted my excesses. They sing with all their hearts, and they speak the language of the Gods, forgiving my flaws. (Love often works that way.)
Today I am thankful for arms that can move, and children who are willing to follow them. And I am thankful for the power of music to bind us, to heal us, and inspire.