Years ago, when we moved from New York to Pittsburgh, I had two babies and no friends… no one close by, at least. So I pondered what I might do to feel like I was part of something, that I was not a pitiful loner, that I was useful for something besides changing diapers and feeding hungry mouths. I soon came up with an answer: I joined a choir. The Community College of Allegheny County Choir, to be exact. I didn’t read music (still don’t) and they didn’t care. That’s why we had practices.
On another note (pardon the pun) the news lately has been heavy on my mind. Last week U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia unexpectedly died. I am married to a judge, and am aware of the weight and power of the judiciary, especially on the Federal Supreme Court bench. Scalia was a conservative thinker, a Constitutional Originalist, and his moral bend was part of what kept the Supreme Court in balance, or at least leaning toward balance. With a left wing president in office, the concern for many is that the selection of a third justice by our current president, Barack Obama, will tip the balance of the court disproportionately to a liberal side. This news coupled with the excessive coverage of a rather bizarre presidential election year is just about driving me crazy! I shake my head at how drastically we seem to have become a house divided here in America.
Add to all this my daily visits to Facebook, where I have friends who are atheist publishing posts against religion, and religionists shouting Halleluiah back in their faces. Rainbow overlays on profile pictures, and various Go Fund Me pleadings…all worthy on some level, but most uncomfortably self-serving. So many options. So little brain space.
If I were a creature on some other planet, looking down on us in our present state, I think I’d shake my head in wonder. “Is there nothing on which they can agree?”
So, with that in mind, my HOPE for us, my suggestion, if you will, is to:
The thing about a choir is that you can have people of all shapes and sizes and colors, differing political and spiritual beliefs and varying levels of talent and skill; yet you all have one objective, and you’re working to create a nice blend, even though you do not all sing the same part or even the same words.
I personally think too many people believe they have to be a great singer to join a choir (which they don’t), so if singing is out of the question, then take a class, or join a team. Do something that unites you with other people in a common cause. And let that cause be apolitical.
That which unites us outweighs that which divides us.
Singing in a choir allows us to be rather anonymous, requires us to breathe deeply, which is healthy, and satisfies the aesthetic need for harmony. Singing in a choir demands physical participation with some level of passion, but you are rarely singled out or put on the spot. Singing in a good choir insists that you learn to listen to each other, to follow the lead of a conductor, and to blend with the variety of people that surround you. You will not need to over-think, but you will need to pay attention.
So my HOPE is this: if you can carry a tune, join a choir.
____________________________________________________During the season of Lent I make the personal commitment to write every day. I’ve done this for the past eight years, as a token of devotion and thanks to the Lord for giving me a brain that works (usually). I publish these writings here on my blog, unedited and splattered like wet paint, as a way to share them and to keep them for myself and for my posterity. This year I have decided to ruminate on thoughts, ideas, habits and miscellaneous personal practices I would like to put in a figurative HOPE CHEST to take with me into the rest of my life and the life beyond. Besides that, there are bits of advice I would like to tuck into the HOPE CHESTS of my kids and grandkids.