I have built a life around music. Whether it be sitting at home listening to classical music, dancing and screaming the lyrics to Frozen with my ten month old daughter, or directing some of the choirs at St. Edward’s, music has infected every aspect of my life. While in church, it is often music that moves me to new heights of joy or allows my soul to rest and reflect on the glorious power of God. It is the music ministry community that I have the honor of being a part of, built around the power and love of God and music, that allows me to feel more connected with God than anything in my life. Each Monday and Wednesday night I come together and get to make music with different people from all stages of life, all of whom bring their own joys and burdens before God in the gift of music they offer up to Him. While our ability to come together physically to worship has been taken away, so has my ability to sync my heartbeat with thirty other people, become one voice, and offer up our gratitude for the gift of our lives and the music I hold so dear.
With that being said, it is easy to understand how I have run to music to try and find comfort these last few weeks. In my search for understanding and peace, a choral piece I sang in high school has been in my head and I can’t seem to shake it. The piece is called “The Awakening” by Joseph Martin.
The piece opens:
I dreamed a dream, a silent dream, of a land not far away, where no birds sang, no steeples rang, and tear drops fell like rain.
I can say with a fair bit of certainty that many of you reading this have never experienced anything like these past few weeks. Many of us have experience fear and uncertainty in our lives. However, this time everything seems to be uncertain. Everything seems to bring about some level of fear. Fear about the safety and health of family and loved ones. Fear about jobs. Fear about coming within twenty feet of another person. Fear about children keeping up with schoolwork. Fear, fear, fear, fear… Then on top of all of this, one place closes that many of us come to for comfort and support. Church. No steeples rang, and tear drops fell like rain…
A little bit further down in the piece:
No alleluia, not one hosanna, no song of love, no lullaby. And no choir sang to change the world. No pipers played; no dancers twirled. I dreamed a dream, a silent dream.
I sang these lines over and over in my head throughout Holy Week. How could we find the meaning in this Sacred week? How could my mind and soul fully come to know the depth of God’s love if I couldn’t see that cross raised above the heads of our RCIA members as the choir sang with all their hearts, “Behold, the Wood?” How could I find the joy in my heart sitting in an empty church on Easter Sunday without an overflowing congregation and a massive choir joyfully proclaiming “Alleluia!” for the first time in forty days? How…when so much is closed and the place I go for comfort and rest has closed their doors?
I know at this point many of you are reading this saying, “Andrew, how does this piece help you find peace? It’s really bring me down.” Thankfully, in the piece, just like in life, there is always hope. God is always there…