"Some days there won't be a song in your heart. Sing anyway." ~Emory Austin
When you are called to be an inspiration, how do you answer?
Today, I had the good fortune to sing for a funeral mass.
Good fortune? you say. What could be fortunate about singing, and for a funeral no less?
One of my creative everyday pursuits is to offer my gift of song to my church community. I have been blessed to be able to carry a tune, and since blessings are meant to be shared, I have an obligation to raise my voice in song to help the prayers of the congregation. But never more than today did I really feel that calling.
Last week, my daughter made her First Reconciliation in our Catholic parish. For those of you not familiar with what that entails, it is simply a prayer service aimed at giving voice to those shortcomings we each experience and finding a prayerful way to atone for these faults. It was a moving experience for our whole family to participate in and is a big step in the faith development of our daughter. The penance that was offered gave us a positive means of doing good. One of the choices was to attend and pray during a celebration of mass outside of the usual Sunday fare. The day after I received this penance, a man in our church died. And I was asked to be the cantor for the mass. Although I had many other things to do, God apparently had other plans.
Now, I normally have to work my "day job", so it is difficult for me to attend a weekday funeral mass. But something told me this was different. I knew the family, but not well, and I don't believe that I had ever personally met the man. Nonetheless, I knew that this was a divine intervention that was calling me to be present.
When I arrived this morning at church, I sought out the wife and daughters of the man to offer my condolences. Their faces lit up with joy when they saw me, which really surprised me. Despite the grief at their loss, here they were so happy to see me. They were all so excited that I had been able to make this funeral. Didn't I know that the man had requested me to be the cantor for his funeral mass before he died? I didn't know that. They further explained that their father and husband had frequently commented to them that he really enjoyed my singing and that I sounded like an angel.
This revelation touched me deeply.
This revelation made my heart sing.
This revelation made my song my inspiration.
I realized that I was not just offering a sung prayer nor performing a necessary function to carry out the service. I was offering comfort and hope. I was entrusted with bringing this family through their grief, lifting them up.
I was to be an inspiration.
I realized that I had been called to be there at that moment. That there was no place else that could have been more important than that moment. There were a million and one reasons for me to excuse myself from this event. But I am so glad that I chose to say yes.
I believe that there are doors of opportunity opening all around us every day. But I don't think that we take the time to see them. They are there. But they might not always be obvious to us. I believe that the blessings we send out into the world to help others will return to us ten-fold. This funeral was an opportunity for me...to be an inspiration to others...to be inspired myself...to feel connected to a higher calling...to slow down and take stock of all that I am so grateful for... and I am so glad that I took the time to open that door.
What doors are opening to you, calling you? How will you respond?
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Enjoy the day!