Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What makes you happy? #4

Charles Wesley
Cover of Charles Wesley
It's been a long week.  More on that on Friday.

Do you want to see me cry tears of joy?

Take me to a church, preferably with an old pipe organ and a decent organist.

Be sure at least the choir is skilled at four-part harmony.  For greatest effect, find a congregation that is skilled at four-part harmony.

Check the hymnals. Are the harmonies written in?  Are the lyrics original?  Are there at least a handful of Charles Wesley hymns?

If we're lucky, and the hymn selection is just right, that's it.  I'm gone.

I grew up in a very musical church.  If the organist called in sick one week, we had a dozen people skilled enough on the piano to just pick up the hymnal and fake it. I was proud to be a member of the choir.

But, as happens with small churches, the old folks die off, the young folks move away, and new people just don't show up too often. The church closed down.

Sometimes I'm wistful for my roots.  Sometimes, I mourn my dream of being one of the old "legacy" families -- my parents were married in the church, my brother and I were baptized there, and in a perfect world, I'd have been married there, and someday, I'd bring my own kids down on special occasions.

That's never going to happen, now.  If I'm ever going to be a part of a "legacy" family at a church, I pretty much have to find one right now, and probably have kids in short order. Best case scenario is still a lot of work to reclaim what was an inch away from being my birthright.

I'm tearing up as I write this. Because it's truly joyous to hear those old hymns done the way I know they can be... and if it's a bittersweet joy, well, it's still joy.

Is there anything like that for you?
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