Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Wing and a Song

A bit ago, my sister urged me to change the name of my blog.  "A Lonely Bird" was more than fitting for the last several years, but in the wake of all the good that was finally coming my way it seemed a bit morose.  She provided some much need inspiriation and I quickly settled on one quote, which if you're reading directly from my blog you can see under the header.  For those of you who are reading through feedly or some other reader program, here's the quote:

"Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings." - Victor Hugo

What struck me so powerfully about this gorgeous quote was what ended up as the new title of the blog, "and yet [she] sings..."

Singing is a big deal for my family.  Both of my parents are trained - my mother a lyric soprano and my father a baritone.  My sister sang alto in no few school choirs and my brother went to a peforming arts high school for his incredible bass voice.  My extended family were all raised Church of Christ, which means that every single member of my family knows how to read music and sing in parts.  Every holiday I can remember has involved singing in some way - singing the prayer before a meal, singing as a family at nursing homes, singing Carols at home on Christmas Eve.  At my Ordination, my parents and siblings sang "Be Thou My Vision" in four part harmony.  I even dragooned my surprised family into singing the Benediction at my Installation service.  

I took one semester of choir.  And then did theatre for the next 10 years.  And then went to Seminary.  I can sort-of read music; mostly I can follow the direction of notes and I have a good memory for tunes.  I sing recreationally, I sing with family, I sing to my son at bedtime, I don't sing in public.  I refuse to do karaoke, I don't join choirs, I have no real training.

And yet, I sing now.  

My tiny church can't afford a choir/music director, so I find myself in the position of being the music leader.  Which really just means I pick all the hymns (the ones I know) and I stand at the front and sing loudly, hoping my congregation members sing along.  This is a rather harrowing experience for me every Sunday.  I'm confident in my ability to pray and speak and do children's sermons and preach.  But singing?  It uncovers my deep-seated insecurities about my voice, it brings to mind my feelings of inadequacies in comparison to my better-trained family members.  Sunday morning, though, are no time to wallow in personal doubt, so I put on my big-girl pants and sing anyway.  Every Sunday morning feels like a leap off of boughs too fragile to bear, hoping that the Spirit will bolster my voice for one more worship.  The Spirit provides me the wings each and every time.  I am afraid, and yet I sing.

Hugo's bird feels like an appropriate symbol for me (and for this blog) because I know what it feels like to balance upon the boughs of life which seem ready to slip away from beneath me.  But it is only recently that I remembered that I have wings, that I have the strength and ability to soar up from the fragile circumstances which I live within.  It is only recently that I remembered this and it is this truth about myself which opens up the voice of my soul and helps me to sing again.  

Despite what has been lost...
Despite what could be lost...
Despite the tenuousness of all the good which I take joy in...

I have wings.
So now, I sing.

(But I still refuse to do karaoke.  A girl has to have standards.)

1 comment:

Erma Ripley said...

Beautiful as are you. Love, G'm R