Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My twenty-seventh slice-of-life story...

You know those moments where you feel like your soul is about to leap out of its tent and your heart handsprings around inside your chest?  The kind that connects you...in some strange way...to yourself?  I experienced this last weekend and I'm still smiling. 

Sunday morning's routine was, well, routine.  Drive to church, drop Reid off at the toddler class, traipse up to the balcony where we slide into 'our row' a few minutes late, greet others, sit down, sing hymns, listen to special music...but, this time, 'even keel' ended here.

A silver-haired soloist strutted up a few steps to the front and the orchestra began with jaunty, fancy chords.  {If I would've been playing "Name that Tune", I would've been in the finals on this one.}  "EVERY VALLEY SHALL BE EXALTED!!!" my very heart wailed with joy and even a little pride*.  (*yes, pride at church...)  The tenor, with depth and intensity, launched into a familiar chorus from "Messiah," the famous seventeenth century Handel oratorio. 

You know that moment when you might be mere seconds away from making a complete fool of yourself by blurting something embarrassing out in a quiet room?

Yep.  That's me.  I almost sang.  You see, I know all these lyrics.  I know where the soloist paints pictures by how he crafts each word of "the crooooooked straight and the rough places plain."  I know the piano accompaniment and how its mood matches the biblical text's content from Isaiah 40.  I know all these things because, growing up, my Mennonite church performed Handel's "Messiah" each December and I sat between my mom, my aunt, and my grandmother in the choir loft (because with years of experience they knew the ins and outs) as we'd appreciate the beauty of each solo number and rise to perform the many choral pieces.  These memories weave together my family, my faith, my love of music, and my ear for magical harmonies.

Sunday my heart swelled and my fingers tapped rhythmically with my toes as the soloist ended "Every Valley..." and transitioned into "And the Glory," which any "Messiah" maven knows is the first whole-choir number of the oratorio and begins exclusively with my beloved alto section.  Even though it's been a decade since I participated in my home churches' rendition, the four-part harmonies and lyrical scriptures are written on my heart like details of Reid's birth day or our wedding day.  They are me.  They are my past.  My present.  My future.  They're what I want to share with Reid as he grows his own musical memories.

Out of nowhere, my routine Sunday transcended time and space. And, I'll admit---it felt good to experience heart handsprings and it's still laughable how much energy I had to expend to control myself while enjoying these two numbers.  But, as my soul connected past to present and future, I felt love and joy.  I felt energized.  I felt grounded.

I felt like me.

Write on,


  1. From what you describe, I don't think I know it quite as well, but I sang the Messiah too when I was in choir a long time ago, high school & college. It is glorious, and I understand your excitement a bit. It's especially moving to hear your connection to the family that sat beside you. What a happy time, and gift to you!

  2. I love your last line. It's a keeper...and such a good feeling.


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