While The Sands of Life Shall Run

        I know I was going wax eloquent on the 'sins' of modern Christian bands this time around, but a recent turn of events led to my decision to leave that one in my arsenal for the present and look at something different.

          Those of you who know me well enough have heard me complain about the fact that I rarely, if ever, get the opportunity to make music with others. This fact really started getting to me over the course of the past year, and it became an obsession of mine. In March I started going up to Louisburg to participate in an informal bluegrass jamming session. It was really fun, there were a lot of talented musicians present and I've learned so much from them, but this was fiddle and I wanted to use my talents as a classical violinist somehow, someway in consort with others. Singing bugged me too. I was in a home school choir for a small amount of time but I was the best  singer in the group and none of the songs challenged me. Though not the best singer in the seminary choir I joined a year ago, it was the same, a small group singing simple songs which were a piece of cake for me. After my senior recital, I experienced a new thing, a lack of desire to sing.

     This summer, I would start to sing and then drop it because it had lost its flavor for me somehow....I blamed it on the fact that I didn't have anyone to sing with. Singing was no fun for me this summer, and I think I hit an all time record low in time spent singing this past season.

      Without realizing it, I began to blame God for it. Why do I always have to walk the same old boring park trails everyday, singing the same songs with the same lonely company? I asked bitterly. It all seemed to go hand in hand. I was spending all my spare time working on school. While everyone else was having fun with his friends over the weekend, I was sitting in the seminary library writing seven page papers, or organizing and scanning in theory homework pages for my portfolio. All in all I was upset with God because I felt he'd left me hanging all by myself.

I studied alone, played alone, sang alone, walked alone. Why would God do that to me?

Well, over the past month, God answered my my questions in a couple of ways. Besides helping me realize that more social engagements would only have distracted me from the school work I so desperately desired to finish up, God  showed me just how wrong I was about being alone.

    I took a walk one day, an hour or so before sunset, down main street and across an empty field to an old, falling down gazebo just behind the eye-clinic and the animal daycare places in town and, after a brief moment of prayer I was inspired to forget about the fancy Italian, French, German, Latin and English art songs I'd learned over the past two years. I left behind the bouncy folk tunes, rip-roaring Scottish ballads and romantic airs I'd been so fond of singing since I started taking voice lessons. I forgot about who might be listening or what anyone might think of me, and sang the hymns I'd learned since before I could talk. I sang at the top of my lungs for over two hours....hymn after hymn, every single verse, the hundreds of hymns I'd learned by heart during the years when hymns made up one-hundred percent of my vocal repertoire. It was an experience I'll never forget. It wasn't one of those breath-taking mountain top moments, just quiet, and restful, and for the first time, really, since I'd started taking voice lessons, I remembered, truly remembered why I loved to sing.

         I realized I'd gotten so caught up in the technical, social aspect of it all that I'd lost the music of it all. What a gift music is to us.

 It doesn't matter so much whether I sing with others or by myself, if I'm singing for the right reason.

       Don't mistake my meaning, voice training is good, singing with others is still something I love doing, but these things can't be the reason I sing. Singing hymns out there in the ramshackle gazebo that late summer evening taught me that I don't need musical instruments or other people to experience absolute pleasure when singing, if I'm truly singing for God and just God, then no matter what's going on around me, whether it's musical instruments, voices in harmony or just cars whizzing past on the the busy main street of my little town, singing can be just as wonderful and just as fulfilling.

          Now, not long before, this, I got into both an orchestra, and a relatively prestigious choir. However, God used these door openings to show me not just a truth, but His absolutely sufficient mercy and abounding love for each of us, no matter how faltering and ungrateful. My Saturdays may not be free yet. I may not have made a circle of local friends I can do things with, but I have God, and He's worth the whole package and more beside.....what a friend we have in Jesus!

          The song I'm going to share with you to close this post is one of those hymns I found so meaningful that insightful evening. In a world with so much noisy music and catchy rhythms meant to pull you in immediately the song can seem a little plodding and dull, but hang in there and maybe listen to it twice...not only does its message capture the heart of what I've been trying to say in this post, but the simple beauty of this Medieval hymn grants the rest and peace our noisy world is hard pressed to come by.

      What do you think?

      Is there something in your life that you've lost the beauty of?
      How has God shown you recently that He loves you?

Take a moment.    Sit back in your chair.    Forget about the two-hundred tasks on your to-do list. Turn on this song and think about God's blessings.   While the sands of life shall run and beyond, His love will go on.

    ~ Christianna