Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 94- Hymns

One common thread I have begun to notice throughout these past 94 days is music (clearly family/friends, food, and my job are others).  Even though I can't sing a tune to save my life, and even though I never practiced piano enough to win Miss America with my talent, music plays an important role in my life.  I love the ability that music has to make me really feel.  I can use some songs to cheer me up and others when I need to let out a good cry.  Music has helped me feel like an empowered, strong woman.  It has also helped me feel like a silly little kid again.  My tastes have varied drastically over the years, and I can appreciate a great variety of different styles and flavors at this point in my life.  One thing that has remained constant for as long as I can remember is my love of hymns.

Many of the songs I remember from my childhood were learned from Mr. Glazer (I may be spelling that wrong)-- a man with unnaturally long and always tapping fingers who taught music at CCD (Catholic Sunday school type classes).  What he lacked in charisma and talent, he more than made up for with his access to the best musical content of all... hymns.  I have such fond memories of the freedom of being a child in music class.  I think being able to sing hymns at the top of my lungs, free from the self-consciousness and awareness of an adult with a sub par voice, was one of the most freeing and joyful things I could do for my soul. 

As I got older and joined the adults in church, I discovered that, for many, singing in church was a more polite and restrained act.  I learned to mouth along with the words like everyone else in order to avoid the embarrassment of others giggling at me.  Then I went to college.

When I was in college, my parents would come every Sunday to take me to church.  This practice started when my sister was at U of M, and I think my parents were excited to get an opportunity to attend St. Mary's Student Chapel again.  This place holds many special memories for them, but that's a story for another day.  I quickly realized five minutes into the first mass that this was a special place.  Instead of a dusty old choir taken from the opening scenes of Sister Act, the music was led by people with strong, powerful, wonderful voices.  The traditional hymns that I had come to love so much were turned into musical masterpieces.  The music was loud, which meant our voices, however bad they were, could be loud too.  I could sing my heart out but still blend, and I forgot to worry about what other people would think of it all.  When my cousin Lauren joined us at U of M, she joined us at church too.  We'd often joke about "raising our voices unto the Lord," and we'd grin as we belted out our hymns each week.  Holler, Jesus.

Yesterday I sang some of my favorite hymns as we said goodbye to my grandpa.  Today I was thankful to have these hymns on my iPod.  I listened to them on repeat and let myself feel sad.  Then, I took the time to really listen to them.  Once again, I was amazed at what was right there in front of me when I took the time to look and to listen.

"How Great Thou Art"

When Christ shall come,
With shouts of acclamation,
And take me home,
What joy shall fill my heart!

Then I shall bow
In humble adoration
And there proclaim,
"My God, how great Thou art!"

Then sings my soul,
My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art!

"I Am the Bread of Life"

I am the resurrection, I am the life
He who believes in me,
Even if he dies, he shall live forever.

And I will raise him up,
and I will raise him up,
And I will raise him up on the last day.


Some people only pray quietly, internally, when no one else is looking.  That's just not me.  For the first time in a long time, I sang at the top of my lungs and let my heart feel every single thing that it wanted to feel. 

Thank you, hymns, you made my day.

1 comments:

Lisa said...

How Great Thou Art came on my Ipod today as well. I loved our catholic revival on Monroe and I love you and your family.