i found a note the other day, tucked inside a book. it was a jotting-down-of-a-memory and was a quote from The Boy. he was five and he said, “look at how i can snap (my fingers). at 5 years old!! i could become a snap teacher and teach everyone how to snap!” never too young to dream.
jen is zealous. she is reallyyyy zealous. i don’t think i have known anyone who is as zealous a learner as jen. it is invigorating and inspiring to be around someone who embraces all she does not know with questions and a hope for understanding, as opposed to resistance or suspicion. she actively seeks out ways to learn the new, the unknown, wholeheartedly jumping in and swimming. she knows that vitality comes with opening yourself to new things.
pantene recently ran a new video series. it’s referencing the holidays and in it transgender people talk about what it’s like to go home. it’s breathtakingly sad the number of LGBTQ women and men who are not welcomed at home because someone cannot learn, ask questions, try to understand. instead, resistance and suspicion and a whole lot of judgement fiercely reign and the dream of being all together celebrating is devastatingly dashed. squelching another’s dreams is not the ultimate job of our job as humankind.
yesterday i conducted a christmas cantata. ahead of time, i had, for hours and hours on end, researched songs to find the pieces i felt would resonate with people, the pieces that would be generously bestowing of spirit and not off-putting. i looked for the language i thought would tug at their hearts and remind them of the light, the miracle of the season. when one song didn’t quite fit for me after i had chosen it, i wrote a new one. they were labeled ‘contemporary’ songs, with melodies, rhythm, chords, years of copyright differing from the hymns in the hymnals. over thirty people participated: a choir, a ukulele band, a worship band, a violinist, a violist. the result was truly beautiful, the message clear and the music gorgeous. our little church – a church that proudly purports to be reconciling and all-embracing – had moments truly holy in that service.
h is 93. every week at rehearsal he is ready and willing to learn something. he is steeped in traditional – after all, he is 93, his year of copyright long ago. and yet, those new melodies, harmony, challenging rhythms he has learned to sing have brought a freshness of life to him. never too old to dream. he knows that vitality comes with opening yourself to new things.
but back to yesterday. i remain unfulfilled in one way. because the sad part about yesterday? all the work and time that these dedicated volunteers had put into this cantata – with my careful choices based on over thirty years as a minister of music – was not seen by the first service folks. the word ‘contemporary’ made it unfathomable for that service to host without complaint, relegating it only to the second service. the spirit of camaraderie, the support of the efforts of others in their own church, the truly beautiful music that was made was lost on this first service. i try to understand their dedication to traditional music, to choice, and i heartedly honor it in selecting music for every other week of the church year. but i fail to understand their unwillingness to even try to embrace something else, something ‘new’. i fail to understand any reinforcement of ‘different’, of divisiveness. especially as simply one day and a festive community celebration of the holiday. especially when churches are constantly looking for relevancy and vitality is one of the necessary ingredients. they do not know what they missed. closing off. what they are missing.
jen and h would like each other. they both openly embrace new. they both openly embrace others. they both dream dreams, happily engaging in life, snapping. what a gift to be around.