Sunday, October 14, 2007

Make a Joyful Noise,But Not You

Some children wish for wealth. Some children wish for beauty. I'm told some children even wish for world peace. Every birthday, every Christmas, every shooting star I wished for the same thing. I wished that I could sing.

On weekends my family would make a two hour drive to the shore to hang out on Daddy's boat, the Jams. My father would set the radio to the bluegrass station and sing along to his favorite tunes. After a while I would join in and my sisters would begin sighing and rolling their eyes. About halfway through, my mother would always say, "It's such a lovely afternoon. Why don't we turn off the radio and just enjoy the countryside?"

I loved singing in the children's choir at church. I noticed though that every time there was a big program at church, I was slated to be the acolyte. They said it was because I was their best acolyte.

In school we'd begin every morning with chapel. I adored raising my voice in my very high pitched vibrato and letting loose with "Onward Christian Soldiers" and " I Sing a Song of the Saints of God". After chapel one morning I overheard Fr. Brown tell one of the teachers that he was worried about the stained glass windows shattering.

Every year I'd practice with the school choir for the Christmas pageant. Every year I'd be selected to read the Christmas story from Luke.

Things didn't improve much in High School and College. I joined the drama clubs and tried out for school plays. They always cast me as the screwball friend, wise-cracking secretary or the intimidating dowager except in the musicals. When it was a musical, I always seemed to be chosen to work the crew. I wonder if Eve Arden had the same problem.

The other day, our new choir director at church approached me. "We are looking for some fresh faces in the choir and I noticed that whenever we sing a hymn your face always lights up with the most beautiful smile. Would you consider coming to sing with us?" Would I? Oh, the temptation was so great! After a double take, I regained my senses and regretfully informed him that I am unable to carry a tune. No really, my voice could make the ears on the statues of the saints bleed. He didn't seem to understand, so I let him on my little secret.

Every time the congregation sings, I open my hymnal, mouth the words and imagine that I am singing like Maria Callas for the Lord. They tell me that when we get to heaven we are all beautiful. I don't care about all that. I just want to know, when I get to Heaven will I be able to sing?