On the Importance of Knowing Our Joys

I met my dear friend Darlene when we were both assigned to the 2nd soprano section in our high school choir. We have remained the closest friends ever since, in spite of always living in different cities. Darlene has continued to sing in community choirs, whereas my singing has been limited to humming while I go about my chores. When our church recently hired a new music director, his friendly energy made me think I was ready to join a choir. Thus, I found myself on a recent Thursday evening dashing off, after a quick dinner, to my first choir rehearsal in 35 years. I made some wonderful and unexpected discoveries.

Discovery #1:
I love singing alto so much more than 2nd soprano. The lower range makes me feel grounded.

Discovery #2:
The warm-up exercises are liberating. You move your arms while singing silly words like “fluff-fluff-fluff” or “voo-voo-voo” or “ha-ha-ha.” I think I should do the voice exercises each day; they’re fun and funny, and humor is good for our health.

Discovery #3:
I enjoy reading music, which is like knowing a foreign language.

When I got home, though, I couldn’t go to sleep right away. I was too invigorated. I had to drink tea and read on my own.  By the time I got to sleep it was close to midnight. I knew it would be a little hard to get up the next morning at 6:30, but I did fine until 10 am when I began to feel groggy and grumpy. I knew why I felt groggy, but I wasn’t sure why I felt grumpy. Nonetheless, I found myself humming one of the songs:

Sing to the power of the joy within.
Sing to the power of the joy within.
Lift up your voice.
Be not afraid.
Sing to the power of the joy within.

And then I made Discovery #4:
Pay attention to what truly gives me joy. Joy is sharing a delicious and leisurely dinner with William and Natalie, when we talk over our days. Joy is being able to read a good book next to Natalie at the end of a busy day. Joy is Thursday evenings when Natalie has her piano lesson and William and I flirt the entire time.

As enjoyable as choir rehearsal had been, I realized I wouldn’t be able to “sing to the power of the joy within” if I was giving up three of my joys. There will be another time when choir will fall into place perfectly. For now, I will be thankful to the choir for the beautiful sound they make each Sunday morning and for reminding me how important it is to pay attention to what gives me joy. For I know that only by experiencing joy am I able to give joy.

This decision led to a discovery Natalie and I made a few weeks later, which I’ll write about in my next blog.


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