November 2, 2011

Hope I Remember the Words

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to sing. I sing in the shower. I sing in the kitchen. I sing every week with our local Choral Union rehearsing for our concerts. I sing with our wonderful church choir of dedicated singers who learn a song on Wednesday and sing it with all their hearts the following Sunday. I sing in a trio of women as worship song leaders. I sing in the open spaces of nature when I think no one can hear me. I sing, well, you get the idea.

A few years ago I had the privilege of landscaping a very old church in a community nearby that predates Wisconsin statehood. The church is nearly that old, too, and I truly felt I was working on sacred ground.

close up of white star magnolia blossom Stock Photo - 867013We planted a beautiful little magnolia tree as a memorial.  My crew did the heavy work, and  as I tucked the tree into its new home in the earth, I silently breathed a prayer for the one who had passed. I prayed, too, that the tree would flourish and grow. Can you imagine a memorial tree dying? That would be very bad indeed. Thankfully, the magnolia tree still flowers beautifully each Spring .

As I prepared the shrubs for planting, I sang a favorite hymn, “Fairest Lord Jesus” which I knew by heart. I enjoyed singing about God and nature while I was in the midst of both.

Stained glass window in St. Vitus´ Cathedral, Prague Castle, Prague, Czech Republic Stock Photo - 7551832Several weeks after we completed the  project, the church held a dedication for the new landscaping, and I offered to sing for them. Of course I chose to sing “Fairest Lord Jesus”.

The day of the dedication service I had minimal time to practice with the organist before the service started. When it came time for me to sing, I took my place by the organist.  I had no music in front of me because of course I knew the song very well, so I was confident.

But I hadn’t counted on stage fright. The organist began, and paused, waiting for me to sing. I panicked! I couldn’t remember the first line to the song. The song “Fairest Lord Jesus” which begins “Fairest Lord Jesus…” Snap! It came back to me in a flash and I began to sing. My knees were knocking but hopefully no one noticed. Somehow I made it through and I learned a valuable lesson. Always have the music in front of you even if you don’t think you need it!

I still get nervous when I sing solos. But I make myself do it to face my fear. Now I can sing in front of my congregation and share a song sung from my heart. I prayed for God to help me face this giant in my life. I knew I had to face it or be perpetually defeated .  

With God’s help, I can face my fear of stage fright. It is still a challenge, but using slow-breathing techniques prior to singing helps. And prayer. Lots of prayer. It’s the only way I can get through any trial, even singing solo.

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