Indulge me a moment while I plagiarize a paragraph (or more) from a book that I am currently reading. I’m not really stealing it, but merely borrowing the words of the author and passing to you something that speaks for me what I might not have been able to put into words myself. So without copyright permission, without prior authorization, (I hope I don’t get sued) without so much as written correspondence asking permission, I attribute the following words and message from author, Anne Lamott, from her book Traveling Mercies, to be a truly beautiful and powerful description of how music and singing helped her to find the Holy Spirit within her.

Before I get into the meat of this story, I would like to set the background. Ms. Lamott is an exceptionally truthful writer who exposes the most private and intimate facets of her life; capturing her journey from her eclectic childhood and teen years, her relationship with drugs and alcohol, to the discovery of her spiritual center and her belief in God and Jesus Christ.

With the back ground set, come along and experience the profound impact that music has had in the author’s life.  Nod your head knowingly at the connection between sharing your gift and love of music and the potential outcome music may have on another’s life; a collective chorus of voices finding those who search for something more…

Anne is in her thirties, pregnant,  and most of the time high under the influence of drugs and alcohol; sick and searching. While on her  walks through the weekend flea market in Marin City, Ca,  she expresses that she is beckoned into the doorway of a church, St. Andrew Presbyterian, which she describes as a homely, impoverished, ramshackle building. But the music wafting out was so pretty that she would stop and listen.

She recalls her first association with the church as this, “I began stopping in at St. Andrew from time to time, standing in the doorway to listen to the songs. I couldn’t believe how run-down it was, with terrible linoleum that was brown and over shined, and plastic stained-glass windows. But it had a choir of five black women and one rather Amish-looking white man making all that glorious noise, and a congregation of thirty people or so, radiating kindness and warmth.”

“I went back to St. Andrew about once a month. No one tried to con me into sitting down or staying.”…and every other week they brought huge tubs of great food for the homeless families living at the shelter near the canal to the north. I loved this. But it was the singing that pulled me in and split me wide open.”

“Pulled me in and split me wide open”…Wow, what an awesome transformation for a human being…”Split me wide open”. The singing split her wide open!

She continues, “I could sing better here than I ever had before. As part of these people, even though I stayed in the doorway, I did not recognize my voice or know where it was coming from, but sometimes I felt like I could sing forever.”

“Eventually, a few months after I started coming, I took a seat in one of the folding chairs, off by myself. Then the singing enveloped me. It was furry and resonant, coming from everyone’s heart. There was no sense of performance or judgment, only that the music was breath and food.”  “Something inside me that was stiff and rotting would feel soft and tender. Somehow the singing wore down all the boundaries and distinctions that kept me so isolated. Sitting there, standing with them (the congregation) to sing, sometimes so shaky and sick that I felt like I might tip over, I felt bigger than myself, like I was being taken care of, tricked into coming back to life.”

So there it is; one person’s account of how music and singing made her feel and drew her to her new church family. It didn’t matter the quality of the voices, the number of people in the pews or sitting on folding, plastic chairs, the wealth or lack of it of the congregation, the décor or condition of the building; it was the singing that brought this soul to its final destination with its creator. It simply brought her home and brought her healing.

I will leave it alone here for you to contemplate.  Your voice can be the voice that brings a soul back from the brink of death into the light of life; breath and food, a voice that nudges a stiff and rotting flesh into something soft and tender; wearing down all boundaries that keep it isolated.

We’ll never know who is lurking in the doorway, or watching us from a distance. We’ll never know if our voice will be the one that makes the difference, allowing another to find her voice, so keep singing my friends, keep singing…

God’s blessings to all,



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Suzanne Vosbikian
    Mar 14, 2012 @ 17:31:22

    I too love Ann Lamont. Read “Bird by Bird” if you haven’t already. Nice post. I found you on Stage of Life.


  2. Barb Roberts
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 18:56:26

    Glad you found this post and your way to Universal Women. I hope you continue to follow “The Quest” as she sails around the world, and feel free to stop in and comment from time to time! I will look for the book you suggested….Dreama.


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