I have been a terrible blogger this week – not posting anything since Monday – and not keeping up with my spiritual discipline. There are many things to be grateful for, especially as full as this week has been for me.
Let me just tell you about the last few days, and you’ll get a feel for the pace I’ve been keeping. On Thursday, I attended the funeral of a friend, at a very large parish in Norfolk. I learned that there were over 600 attendees, and somehow with four communion stations, we still got through pretty quickly. The liturgy was lovely, as I had expected; the homily was stirring and funny, which was very appropriate; the music was beautiful and engaging. The final hymn was For All the Saints – all eight verses. I don’t think I’ve ever sung all eight verses before – whew! As much as I love that hymn, by the end of the eighth verse, I was pretty much ready for it to be over.
As we all walked out to the courtyard for the interment in the columbarium, the lady next to whom I’d been sitting edged over to me and said, “I just have to say thank you for sitting next to me today. Your voice is lovely, and it was so wonderful to hear you sing. Thank you!” I was floored. I love to sing, and I sing all the time, and I’m not terrible at it. But my voice? I know I don’t have a great voice, and I’ve gotten this feedback many times before. It works just fine in a choir, but… just me? Just my voice? Nah… And yet, this was at least the third time in the last month or so that someone has made a point of telling me I have a lovely voice. I’m sensing a pattern here, and I’m thankful for it.
Thursday also happened to be the Feast of the Ascension, and my home parish had a solemn choral evensong to celebrate. We sang some wonderful music – pretty hymns, a nice setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, not to mention, of course, chanting the psalm and prayers – and the orison we sang was a heavenly song by John Rutter. It was transporting, and as tired as I already had been, I’m so glad I went.
Friday afternoon, I had a wedding rehearsal in Nags Head, North Carolina, about two hours from home. The church was a pretty, intimate space, very bright and uplifting. I was the only musician there, and I filled the space pretty well with my flute. The bride’s family had paid for my hotel room, and I had a second-floor room with a balcony and an ocean view. This morning, I opened my curtains very early so that I could watch the sun rise over the ocean and the dunes. It was beautiful. I had to check out of my room by 11 this morning, but the wedding was not until 4. This meant I had to be all dressed and ready, but then amuse myself for several hours without getting dirty or sweaty or tired. I relaxed and read and enjoyed the sunshine and the breezes, and at about 3, I headed back to the church to get set up and ready to play music while the guests arrived and got settled. The ceremony was simple and lovely, modeled on evening prayer. But as much as I enjoy playing music at weddings, I was ready to get back on the road headed home.
Sunday morning, I’m singing in the choir, and have a volunteer shift with my daughter at the Norfolk Botanical Garden right after church. I think it will feel restful to get back to the office on Monday, though I already have, quite literally, a dozen items on my to-do list.
So between all the busy-ness, I know that there is much to be thankful for and happy about – singing, playing my flute, worshiping (four times in four days, no less!), having a change of scenery for a day, watching a young couple embark on a new journey together, seeing the community come together to bid farewell to a wonderful man, returning home to rest and peace. Thanks be to God, Alleluia, Alleluia!