Hi there! Hope everyone is doing well. It’s finally warmed up a bit here, and the weekend is supposed to be gorgeous. Arkansas daughter is in town for the weekend. So everybody grab whatever beverage you’re in the mood for (its after midnight so I’m drinking hot decaf tea to soothe a scratchy throat). Then grab a comfy spot. Ever had that ‘funny feeling’ that you should be doing something for no apparent reason? Ever had that feeling that something was about to happen but you didn’t know what? Ever had a ‘crazy’ desire to do something out of the ordinary? How did those things turn out?
I gotta tell you this has been a rough couple of weeks. I love my new position, but the transition is a bit difficult just because I went from complete structure to complete freedom. Sounds great in theory, but the practice is a bit different; I need structure. It will be built, but it takes time. Then last weekend, my beloved next door neighbor, Judy, died unexpectedly- and she had the nerve to leave earth on my birthday! I’m sure gonna miss those late night conversations from her deck to mine while our dogs were out ‘decorating’ our respective yards. I’m gonna miss those impromptu “let’s go to dinner – meet you out front in 10 minutes” nights.
There really is a tie-in with the title. A couple of weeks ago, I had an unexplainable but strong desire to learn to sing Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’. So, I got the sheet music and proceeded to listen to everyone who’d ever sung the song on YouTube. I pretty much learned it, and it took every bit of those two weeks. But it’s a beautiful song!
About a month ago, I overslept and had to go to late Mass. Not a big deal. My RCIA (Catholic instruction class) leaders attend that Mass, and I had a couple of questions anyway. I mentioned that after Easter, when I was an ‘official’ Catholic, I would see if they still needed singers at the early Sunday Mass. Donna said, “Easter? They need people now. You don’t even have to be Catholic to sing!” So, I began ‘cantoring’ at Mass. I had sung at one, and then my second one the day after Judy died. That second one was a bit rough, but still went pretty well.
I came to practice with the organist for Judy’s service, having been told I would only be singing “Amazing Grace”. My daughter would sing with me, but wouldn’t be in town in time to rehearse with us. I arrived at the church to meet the Music Director- who handed me a notebook with an entire Mass worth of music to sing. She also told me that someone else would be playing for us at the actual service. All together there were SIX pieces. One was the Ave Maria. And it was exactly like a regular Mass, but without Holy Communion. I’d sung one of the responses before, understood how to sing the Psalm. I knew two of the hymns, and knew the tune with different words to another song. My own parish Music Director had been very patient and very thorough. Thanks to her, I was able to see what and when I would be singing at the funeral service. In less than an hour, I had gone through everything I needed, the Music Director of the church for the funeral was happy. My daughter came in, much earlier than I had expected, and we were able to go over Amazing Grace, and add her to two others. What a wonderful privilege to sing with my daughter at Judy’s funeral.
Somehow things just kept ‘working out’ from these little things. If I hadn’t ‘just wanted’ to learn the Ave Maria, I would have had an awful lot to do and a very short time to do it – literally 17 hours from the time I met with the Music Director until the actual funeral. And 8 of those needed to be devoted to sleep! If I hadn’t overslept on that particular morning, I would have had no real idea of how to cantor at Mass.
Everything in life ties together nicely. If your life looks like a mess, though, and you don’t know what to do with it, find a pastor or priest and talk to them. They’ll be glad to help you figure it out.
In the meantime, I’m singing at Judy’s funeral tomorrow. Then in four short weeks, Easter will be here!