Sunday, December 5, 2010

Of music and choirs

(I hope this all makes sense)

Sometimes I have a thought that begins with "If I went to church, I'd..."

And then it stops. Because I wouldn't.

These thoughts happen when I think of the one church I've been to that I liked. You know, comparatively. It happens when I watch Christmas shows, like this morning with Home Alone, that features statuesque Catholic churches, featuring soft but powerful choirs, It happens when I hear "O Little Town of Bethlehem" sung in just the right way (the LDS Hymns way, btw)

It happens sometimes, but in the end, the thought comes to a halt. Because I wouldn't. I don't. I can't.

Sometimes I think about what I'd do if I believed, but I don't believe enough. Or at all. And sometimes I wish I did, but even if I did I'm not sure the world would have a place for me. Perhaps a group of people would be my support but outside I'd still be shunned.

It happens to a lot of people. But the fear of being shunned is not why I don't nurture what sliver of belief may be inside me. I've spent my entire life being different in some way, of not belonging. If I try to belong it is short-lived. In the end, that is not who I want to be. Catch-22, I suppose.

I know it was Home Alone but the choir was still amazing. I still love Christmas songs. I know and don't disrespect those who choose to use Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus--I know that is part of it. I love some of those songs, if not for nostalgia than for the hope of what inherent potential is present in beginnings.

Just yesterday a friend of mine on FB asked for some Christmas song recommendations, and one of my absolute favorites is InsideOut's "Silent Night" (you can find it on iTunes by searching for "InsideOut Reverence")--but it isn't just that song. The entire "Reverence" album, with one or two exceptions, is amazing. One of those songs, "Heaven's Gift (Silence)," is the song Eric and I listened to on the way to the temple to be married--even though now listening to it reminds me it is of being unworthy, I don't know. I can't let it go. It's the music. And I'm a lyrics girl.

Then there is, of course, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Some love the Southern Baptist choirs--I prefer something quiet. At least I do today. Tomorrow may be different. Today I need to be carried away so  my thoughts become nothing.

So seeing, hearing that absolutely stunning choir in that stunning church--I wanted to be there. I wanted that hope, even if being there didn't make that hope any more able to convert to reality. Hope is powerful. It saves lives.

The fact that there are churches out there, open for anyone who feels a need--whatever need--to come meditate, is something to admire, to aspire to. I've felt this need often but either cannot or do not seek it actively.

Sometimes I just want to feel small, a humbling that transcends unworthiness--a feeling I have felt far too often lately (and not in a spiritual sense, to any faithful lurkers).

Sometimes I want to know I'm ultimately not alone, that I'm in someone else's hands. Being a grown up is so much better to me than being a child, but sometimes I want to be a child. Sometimes the burden is too much. Sometimes I just need to feel as if someone is there, wherever. Even if just for the briefest moment before I realize that there's probably not. Even an abandonment of any knowledge--just to have somewhere to rest my burden. I have none here. I am unable to unburden myself anymore. I am trapped.

I'm not in someone else's hands. I am not a child. This is not a bad thing--I've had great need to grow up for such a long time. To find my own strength. I've spent my entire life relying on the strength of others. But perhaps that's not good, either. And, upon thought, perhaps I'm too strong for myself in some ways. After all, I don't talk. But I'll be there for anyone else because I do feel unworthy to ask for anyone else's touch, for their ear.

So I watched that scene, a place where few people went to find mercy and forgiveness, and wanted to be there. Makes me very much want to visit our local parish, even though I know enough about the Catholic church, about most of religion in general, to vote with my feet. But there are times we love and grant chances even when we shouldn't. And I don't know why.

Still. Maybe it's the history. Maybe it's the greatness. The idealism of God. The suspension of knowledge. If nothing else, I've learned that knowledge, while powerful, is heavy. And I'm as of yet not quite strong enough.

Maybe it was just the idea of empty silence where nobody bothers me.

And, maybe, when one suspends knowledge, beauty can be magnified. It's not required, but it helps. I see too much ugliness these days. I could use a little beauty.

I don't quite know how to wrap my head around that.


  1. you're so smart and lovely, lisa. there is a spot just for you in this world. and there's totally a spot for you in MY world.

  2. It's like reading my own thoughts, but from a different perspective. Neat.

  3. Sometimes it IS too much. I too love being an adult and in my brain I would never want to go back in time, but there are instances when something very primitive (not in a bad sense) inside me needs some larger assurance. I think this is true of most people, particularly people who have experienced religion as something very important to their lives.

    One of my favorite quotations is, "Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom".

  4. I think many people feel the exact same way. Can't quite let go of that "sliver of belief", but are honest enough with themselves to come out and say they just don't know. And does it matter? Really? My take on life now is to continue to live my life honestly and authentically, and do unto others... If we have a belief or not shouldn't matter because NO ONE knows for sure. Even Christians who claim they know, don't. It's purely belief and nothing else.

  5. This makes me think of being outdoors in nature, somewhere quiet and beautiful, and Thomas Paine's quote, "My mind is my own church."