I try not to get too mushy and sentimental on here. It’s just not who I am. I tend to look at life a bit sarcastically and work on finding some humor because it makes the whole thing a bit easier. But I can’t walk away from saying this.
Last night my church sponsored a musicale, a musical review showcasing the many talents of its congregation. Instruments were played including an amazing cello and piano piece by a mom and daughter duo, and a concertina, which is a small accordian. There was an appearance by the Blues Brothers and the mysterious musician Clyde Waterloo who claims to live in the boiler room. There were silly songs and the return of a young lady with a beautiful voice, who inspired my daughter yet again with her singing. It was such fun, complemented by and MC who wasn’t afraid to laugh at himself and scrumptious desserts. If the music began to overwhelm you, a silent auction was going on in the room next door, where you could bid on everything from beautiful knit and embroidered pieces, a handmade quilt, dinners (including a gourmet feast), a sailing excursion, and riding lessons. It was a pretty incredible spread.
Why did this fill my heart, cause me to get all gooey inside? Because I had always wanted the chance to bid for my husband to sponsor a spring clean up in our yard? No, it was the kids. The kids I have had the privilege of spending time with for many years. The kids the church community entrusted to me all those years ago when they asked me to step in on a temporary basis. Nine years later, that temporary position has become one of the most important pieces of my world. Last night they were in the spotlight. The proceeds from the evening were being donated to their summer mission trip. As always, my co-coordinator Karen put together a brilliant musical performance with them, and Don documented the experience. They tell me I do things too, but I am not always sure that I give as much as I get. The songs the kids sang, Short People and You’ve Got a Friend in Me by Randy Newman prompted discussion about first impressions and stereotypes, then showed how a bit of understand can change everything. The Honorable Judge played an impressive rendition of the first song on his tiny pipe and the audience loved it. But this wasn’t where I lost it.
There was a moment in the program to share what the mission trip was and why we were doing it. We hadn’t thought about this piece and we certainly didn’t practice anything. In fact, we had forgotten about this piece until intermission. I huddled with groups of kids as they manned the dessert table and came up with a plan. If they would just follow directions, I would do all the talking. The moment came and I was alone on the stage. Bit by bit, I brought them to the stage. Soon it was full and I stepped off. This wasn’t about me, it was about them. At one point, I looked over toward the dessert table where one of our newest members was standing and smiled as I watched him bounce with excitement, waiting for his chance to join us. Did I say much about the mission trip? Probably not as much as I should have. Did I say what was in my heart about the kids? Absolutely.
They brighten my day, they gave me a purpose at a time when I felt like I didn’t have one. They are always up for any crazy scheme we throw their way. They ad-lib during the Christmas pageant and give sermons after being up all night for a lock-in. They sing and play instruments while eating package after package of Oreos. They care deeply about each other and pretend to help clean up. They play and laugh with each other. And it makes me smile. It brings me joy. It fills my heart.