Thursday, September 10, 2009

on re-placing and becoming

the “trick” to blogging, as it were, or at least to this blog according to this blogger, is to write something that anyone can read and understand and appreciate and learn from. but, as at least one of my blogger friends agrees, a really good post must simultaneously be available and rewarding to anyone but revealing and comprehensible on a whole nother level to those who know the blogger and her story. (let it be known that i here officially launch my campaign for “a whole nother” to be validated as good and true and right english. and this from a die hard traditionalist king’s english type. it‘s just such a useful phrase that even i, the exceptionless one, here call for an exception.)

the other “trick” to this blog, if you can call it a trick, is to explore the extra-ordinary implications of the ordinary. not extraordinary in the frequent connotative sense, that is, wonderful or amazing or fabulous. but extra-ordinary as it is defined, that is, beyond or outside the ordinary. like this post or this one or this one. i think that there’s usually more to the everyday ordinary occurrences in our lives than meets the eye. at least that's how i think.

new to my blog? well, now you know.


i've always sung soprano. that is, whenever i have sung, it has been as a soprano. the thing is, until about this time last year, i hadn't sung in a long time. i mean a long time, like since the days when everyone--even the boys--was a soprano. so when i joined our church's fledgling choir about a year ago, i signed on as a soprano. as musically un-talented (to say the least) as i am, this made the most sense: i would almost always sing the melody, and i knew i could at least swing that, at least most of the time.

the problem is that i'm not a soprano anymore.

i could hang with it most of the time, except for the really high notes. i was challenged enough by the music to be relieved to sing the melody, sure as i was that if i had tried to sing another part, i would never have succeeded. but my voice had changed in those ahem-many years since middle school chorus. plus, i had no wind anymore! it was challenging: fun and rewarding and life-giving, but a struggle to fit many weeks, no doubt.

i could blame some of it on months and months of very poor health. i could blame some of it on years and years of sleep deprivation. later, i could blame some of it on days and days of mourning and grief. but, when it came down to it, i could blame just about all of it on not being a soprano. i just wasn't.

so i finished out the year as a soprano and really loved it. the music was beautiful (especially the melody), the fellowship even more so. and then we took the summer off. i think i speak for all of us when i say that we were itching to get back at it tonight. i was for sure, but there was just one thing: i was getting back at an alto.

i had my reservations. could i keep up with the music if i wasn't singing the melody? my music-reading skills are rusty at very best. would it be any fun? everyone knows the alto part tends to be sort of dirge-ish. would i enjoy making music that just doesn't sound all that good?

so i rehearsed as an alto for the first time tonight. i was surrounded by good, solid altos who dragged me along as we learned our new music, and i sometimes found the right notes and other times laughed when i didn't. the thing is, it's not beautiful and it's not easy, but it's not so hard as i thought; in fact, it's not so hard as singing soprano. i can reach all the notes, and, lo and behold, i have some wind after all. when our choir director asked me tonight how i thought it went as an alto, i answered, "it doesn't hurt me, and i can breathe."

it doesn't hurt me, and i can breathe.


there's something to finding a place that gives you comfortable room to breathe. finding a new place when the old one doesn't fit anymore and only takes your breath away. there's the extra-ordinary in the ordinary: being willing and able to find a new place, as challenging and unattractive as it may be. and the thing is that it might not be beautiful on its own. but the thing about the alto line is that it makes the soprano line that much more beautiful. and the thing about a new place, then, may be that, while it's not beautiful in and of itself, it can point to something more beautiful, enhance the beauty of someone or something else. and i'm pretty sure that if i can do something that encourages or contributes to true beauty, mundane or lifeless as it may be on its own, i'm happy to do it. it certainly doesn't hurt me, and i can breathe.

Fear not, for I am with you.
Fear not, for I have redeemed you and loved you, blessed you and called you by name;
You are mine.
Fear not.
Fear not the threat of the fire.
Fear not the threat of the water.
Fear not when troubles surround you and trials confound you.
Be not afraid.
I am your God.
Fear not, for I am the Lord God.
My love will surround you and hold you; for you are precious to me, dear to me.
I have called you by name, called you by name,
Most precious child, you are mine,
I am the Lord God.
I am yours.
You are mine.

"Fear Not", Carl J. Nygard, Jr. (the music we learned tonight, from Isaiah 43:1-4)

1 comment:

Patricia Berman said... made me think! (surprise!) Isn't that what Eliza did-made so many people "more beautiful!"