I resisted delivering my message at Quaker meeting this morning. For quite some time. Gun-shy. Because I had an Unpleasant Confrontation with an aquaintance in relation to my last vocal ministry.
How convoluted is that?
Here is the normal-person translation: I sang out of the silence during our unprogrammed meeting and someone didn't like my song.
This should not be earth-shattering. Not every "message" is meant for every person. Quite often I hear messages that do not speak to me. Sometimes things that people say don't strike me as terribly messagelike. But who am I to say?
Still, I wanted to make extra super double-triple SURE that the song had "risen to the level of vocal ministry."
This is Quaker-speak for sitting with the "message" (whether song or speech) inside yourself for long enough to see if it makes you physically uncomfortable. At least thats how I test to see if I really have a message to deliver.
Often I have a song that is playing over and over and over in my head. And sometimes the song is just a meditation. An internal chant. A way to focus my thoughts or unfocus my mind and center.
But sometimes when the song plays over and over and over it is fighting to get out. And to tell the difference I sit with it and see what happens. Meditative songs make me feel calm. Songs as messages make me feel jittery and light-headed.
This morning when my internal soundtrack went on continuous repeat I waited until I was taking deep shuddering breaths and my heart started to dance an unpleasant jig. My fingers were tangled in knots in my lap and my spine was stiff...
So I figured that I would just have to bite the bullet and let the song out and deal with whatever unpleasant consequences might follow because otherwise I was not listening to the small voice within. And it was rapidly becoming a big voice within. And it was starting to get really, really irritated with me.
So I sang. And it was not a song that particularly spoke to my own condition. It was about someone who is grieving and trying not to look back, but can't help herself. And can't let go. And is now forgiving herself for those feelings.
...and if the truth be told I'm a pillar of salt...
And when I was done singing the zizzing energy went out of me and my heart slowed and my whole body relaxed and I didn't care if there were going to be unpleasant interactions surrounding this particular song because it was so clearly a message for someone.
And there was one person at the meeting who had a small child... and had stayed away from meeting since the loss of that child's twin. And the song was a healing experience. A gentle welcome.
I am amazed at my own non-theism sometimes.
I don't need to understand what happens in meeting. I just need to listen.
Quaker, teacher, parent,