The New Normal

I just saw a cartoon that a friend had posted on her Facebook.  A little girl was looking up at her mother and asked, “What’s normal?” The mother replied, “Oh, that’s just a setting on the washing machine.”

Not very long ago my normal was quiet and comfortable.  Our nest was finally empty so my husband and I began to date each other again.  If we were hungry we ate.  We cooked for each other and practiced the skills we watched together on The Food Channel shows.  We made tasty, nutritious meals, working on our “presentation” and “carmelization” techniques while relearning the art of cooking for two that we had begun 36 years earlier.  We spent quiet hours absorbed in our own special projects and had a good chance of finishing them because there were no interruptions.  If we wanted to go out for a beer or see a ballgame all we had to do was put the puppy in her crate and off we went.  We saved money because we didn’t need much.  Those were halcyon days of getting reacquainted with each other and remembering why we married in the first place.  All of that came to a screeching halt a few months ago when the oldest called to tell us that she was separating from her husband and moving back with her two boys, ages 10 & 11.

First, let me state on the record, that I absolutely adore my grandsons.  There is nothing I wouldn’t do for them.  I loved them the minute I first heard their little cries at the hospital.  I delighted at the joyful squeals of “Grandma’s coming” as my car turned the corner of their street.  No statesman or queen ever received such a royal welcome as these two little boys jumping up and down with excitement on their porch steps as the car pulled up.  It was great…they lived there, we lived here.  They could come over anytime and I would feed them gobs of junky food and candy.  When they became too wound up I’d send them home for their parents to deal with.  That was my job – chief spoiler.  Then one day they learned that they would have to move many, many miles away.  We held on to each other at the airport and cried.  My heart broke seeing their little faces as they waved goodbye before disappearing through the doors.  Eventually we got used to communications by email, posting photos on Facebook and sending Christmas gifts by way of Amazon.  I missed them, but soon became accustomed to being a grownup again.

Now they’re back carrying the baggage of their parent’s breakup, but happy to be back home in familiar surroundings.  They’ve grown.  They’re taller and stronger.  They eat like a pack of wolves, and don’t care a wit about my presentation techniques.  They want carbs and sugars and anything they can find in the refrigerator.  They bring friends over and play the noisy war games that boys have played since the dawn of time.  They wrestle with the puppy who always wanted a boy in the house.  They watch dreadful cartoons with characters that have whiny voices that  crawl up my spine like a frozen centipede.  They stay awake till all hours playing with the tablets that I bought them for Christmas from Amazon, barely fitting in the bunk beds we got for them when they were smaller.  And they talk..and talk…and talk…and talk.  They bicker and fight about everything.  Everything is a challenge.  Everything is amusing.  Everything needs noticed and explored.   Everything is an opportunity to correct or affirm.

So this is my new normal, and it’s okay.  It’s been an adjustment, but I have  to keep reminding myself that whatever happens does so for a reason.  I may never know what this one is, but I’m content with it.  It’s another opportunity to realize that things really are never in my control.  It’s the first of the 10 Commandments….I am God and you’re not, so have a little faith.

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Testing Faith

Today I played my friend’s grandson’s funeral.   He was thirty years old, good looking, quick to entertain his friends with a joke or story and much loved by his friends and coworkers.  He prayed the rosary daily since taking a trip to Medjugorje with his brother, helped with the parish youth group, was a good son to his parents, and volunteered at the drug rehab center.  Yet one morning last week he got up and dressed for work as usual.  He stopped and kissed his mother goodbye as always.  Then he purchased a gun at a local  retail store, drove to a beautiful spot in the mountains and made the pain go away.

It was so terribly heart wrenching to see his mother and father follow the casket of their firstborn into the church, one holding on to the other to keep themselves from falling onto the  floor and pounding the ground in anger and grief.  It was painful to see my friend, his grandfather walk slowly but steadily up the steps to the ambo to read the first reading from Wisdom: “The souls of the just are in the hand of God and no torment shall touch them.”  Somehow he got through the reading and managed to return to the pew next to his wife of 45 years, the grandmother who once held a tiny baby, her first grandchild with such joy.  Like all grandmothers, she cuddled and fondled him, kissing his little fingers and biting his little belly to make him chortle.  She adored him from the moment she laid eyes on him.  Now she was loving him back to his creator.  She knew that her job now was to be strong, and  so she was.  She held her daughter tightly during the sign of peace, whispering comfort into her ear.  She sang “Eagles Wings” as if it were any Sunday when she would be going home after Mass to prepare the spaghetti for the family.

Father’s homily was predictable.  What can you say, really?  How much comfort can you bring to people who have just lost so much for such a terrible reason?  He knew that there wasn’t anything he could preach about that would make a difference.   The young man was gone.  God didn’t do it, he did it himself because he had been given free will.  God was with him in those final moments, and God did truly take him home.  We understand that this is true, but still it’s so hard to understand, especially for us who grew up during a time when deaths such as this were called a mortal sin, a time when people had little hope of seeing their loved ones again in heaven unless they begged God for mercy and clemency.

I sat at the organ bench watching my friends endure this liturgy and wondering how they could stand there so calmly and sing, “For to his angels he’s given a command to guard you in all of your ways, upon their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”   Really?  Where were the angels when he made the last decision of his life to squeeze the trigger?  Why didn’t they do something …anything?  How could any parent or grandparent be expected to  go on after this?

I know the answer… it’s faith, pure and simple.  This family has such a great faith that they will endure it.  They will not give in the the temptation of despair.  And I wonder, would my faith be strong enough to survive this and not hate God?  But at the same time I pray, “please, dear God, please don’t let me find out, because I’m so afraid of that kind of pain.  I don’t want to know if I have the faith to get  through something this awful”

Faith done right is very, very hard.

Postscript:  I  found out tonight that while the family was at the funeral, their home was broken into and robbed.   Sometimes it’s easy to love God, but not always easy to love his creatures – especially the ones with no hearts.  I guess God’s going to have to explain this one to me someday, because right now I can’t wrap my brain around it.

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Fixing Holes

I suppose it was bound to happen.  It starts out so innocently; a movement that makes you yelp a bit and rub a part of your body that you didn’t really worry about before, a waistband that doesn’t seem to settle at the waist, a desire to put the feet up and watch something totally mindless on television when every one else is ready to party.  The next thing you know you’re actually paying attention to articles about retirement planning and insurance.   This wasn’t supposed to happen to us.  We were born to be wild, forever young.  We were going to either live forever or go out in a blaze of glory.

In the lyrics of his song Beautiful Boy John Lennon wrote, “Before you cross the street, take my hand.  Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans,”  and that’s pretty much sums it up.  We were part of the revolution.  We wanted peace, justice and equality.  But one by one we all sort of  wandered off and began to settle into a familiar pattern, the lifestyles of our parents and grandparents.  We went from concerts to swim meets, protests to potty training, seekers to soccer.   Soon the generation that took drugs to expand their minds began to take them to stop their minds from wandering.

Last night I visited with a dear friend from back in the day.  He was very much a part of the revolution – a talented artist, a dreamer, a writer.  His art reflected  a self-deprecating sense of humor and ran the gambit from political cartooning to portraits to landscapes.  His colors were vivid and bright and the progression of his works through the years evidenced his life’s journey, the one that took him around the circle from  revolution to the Catholic Church.

I lost track of him for many years until he came to teach art at the same Catholic school where I was teaching music.  He quickly became a beloved teacher who possessed a keen eye for finding the kids who needed him the most.  He would change their lives without them even knowing he was doing it, by getting them involved in an art club or letting them clean the brushes in the mornings when there was  danger of them being bullied in the halls.  His classroom reflected the artistic messiness of his talented mind, yet the kids felt the absolute freedom to express themselves without any fear of criticism or reproach.  His patience and gentleness with even the most hardened souls earned the admiration of the entire faculty and parents.  He spent his summers teaching art to underprivileged children in the city and his evenings teaching art to inmates in the state penitentiary.

Now retired, he looked forward to spending his days in his basement studio painting whatever struck his fancy.  He booked shows and began to market himself in a cartoon series about a retired teacher.  Yet, something was going wrong.  He was having trouble finishing projects so he began painting to music, not painting the music, but he found that having music on helped keep him focused.  He started to worry when he found that he was having problems remembering how to do the basic forms of drawing that he taught for years, so he painted abstracts.  Finally his wife convinced him to go to the doctors.  With a catch in his voice he told me the diagnosis, Moderate Cognitive Decline on the Global Deterioration Scale.  It took me a minute to realize what that meant – early onset dementia.

I’m still struggling with this.  I guess there are worse things that can happen to a person, but at the moment I can’t think of any.

I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in
and stops my mind from wandering, Where it will go.
I’m filling the cracks that ran through the door
a
nd kept my mind from wandering, Where it will go.

And it really doesn’t matter if I’m wrong, I’m right.
Where I belong I’m right, Where I belong.
See the people standing there who disagree and never win
And wonder why they don’t get in my door.

I’m painting the room in a colourful way and when my mind is wandering,
There I will go.

And it really doesn’t matter if I’m wrong I’m right
Where I belong I’m right, where I belong.
Silly people run around they worry me
And never ask me why they don’t get past my door.

I’m taking the time for a number of things
That weren’t important yesterday, and I still go.
I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in and stops my mind from wandering,
Where it will go.

-John Lennon & Paul McCartney

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Is it Time for Bible School Already?

     Today we began our annual summer test of endurance and fortitude, Bible School.   Since I’m the parish music minister,  my job is to get 75 children from preschool to grade 5 to sing about how awesome God is while happily dancing and waving their arms as they watch a video of other children singing about how awesome God is while happily dancing and waving their arms.  It’s not easy since I can’t even get the adults to sing and dance happily.

The children in the video smile broadly and look like they’re having the time of  their lives dancing  in fun places like amusement parks and water parks.  They dance on skateboards on streets and playgrounds and they dance on flowery hills.  They have a representative child from various ethnic groups for diversity and and one child in a wheelchair to be inclusive.  They are freshly scrubbed and neat as pins.  They are so happy that that they look strikingly similar to kids who dance on television commercials because mom bought their favorite breakfast cereal.   These children are not real.  They are paid actors who are being directed to look that dorky.  Either that or they’re kids from another planet.  They bear little resemblance to the children in front of me who are poking each other through the opening prayer.  One towhead tot looked me in the eye as I was singing, dancing and waving my arms and said, “You’re not going to get me to do that!”  Okay, if I was a child looking at some old silver haired grandmother singing and dancing and waving I wouldn’t want to do it, either.  But that’s beside the point.  This is Bible School and you’re supposed to be joyful, darnit.

It’s not that I think they should be chanting and carrying rosaries.  But truthfully, the music is abysmal and not very Catholic at all.  If it wasn’t so gosh darn happy it would be depressing.  The kids put up with it patiently for the most part, although this is not music they would choose to listen to, nor would I choose to listen to it.   It sounds so… so…80’s.  I liked the music of the 80’s but now it’s more appropriate as background music at the grocery store.  It’s not very appealing to the Hip Hop generation.  Sesame Street has hipper music than this.

So if I were to write a Bible School program I would start with the music.  Surely we can come up with some young Indie or Hip Hop musicians who could write something about how much God loves them, carefully leaving out the expletives, that the kids would relate to.  I’ve seen young people dancing to that music.  As my husband says, they look like gerbils on a hotplate,  but they don’t wave their arms and they don’t look like someone who is being forced to be happy.  I’d make the kids in my video look at bit more realistic.  My video kiddos would look like they were just wrestled out of bed, dragged to a car wearing shorts and an unmatched wrinkled t-shirt then plopped down in front of some silver haired grandmother who is singing, dancing like a dork, and waving.

The DRE sees my frustration and tries to give me some words of advice.  “But the kids love the peppy music.  They’ll get into it  by Friday.”  Peppy?  Really?  Chances are better that I’ll get this drivel stuck in my head and it will become the sound track for the rest of the summer.  Granted, the themes are basic and so simple that even a preschooler can pick up a catch phrase.  God loves you.  Don’t be afraid.   Trust God.  God will make everything better.  Nothing very deep.  But then again, it’s summer.  Nothing should be any deeper than the thoughts of a kid lying on his back watching the clouds drift overhead.

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Questioning Angels

Zechariah never saw it coming.  There he was at the temple burning incense at the altar after having been chosen by lots, and suddenly an angel appears at the side of the altar and tells him he will have a son.  If he hadn’t already been an older man, married with no children for so many years, perhaps he wouldn’t have taken it so lightly.  But he had the nerve to question an angel and so he was struck dumb until the  day of John’s circumcision.  It shook all of his friends who saw him go into the temple.  What could possibly have happened to their friend?  Obviously, he wasn’t able to explain.

Elizabeth didn’t have the same problem.  She was speaking just fine, although she, too, was changed.  She was pregnant.  She was also apparently privy to a divine secret for when Mary came to help her through her pregnancy, Elizabeth knew her immediately as the “Christ-bearer.”  “Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”   When the day of John’s circumcision came, the elders worried about what name to give the child.  Elizabeth demurely, yet factually, told them “his name is John.”  Of course, she was only the child’s mother, so the men appealed to Zechariah to write down the child’s name.  Once he wrote that the child’s name was indeed John his lips were opened and he immediately proclaimed a beautiful canticle of praise.

It makes me wonder…have I ever questioned an angel?

Throughout both the old and the new testaments, Angels act as messengers from God, alerting mortals that something big is going to happen and filling them in on how they will help God to accomplish it.  They often pop in on someone, totally unexpected, and deliver the news.  They may come to give divine assistance if it’s needed for an assignment to be accomplished.  Sometimes they appear in dreams.  Sometimes they come in disguise.

It’s a strange time.  I’m not living in the same world I grew up in and sometimes it’s hard to recognize it.   There’s upheaval in the world among and within nations, and there’s upheaval in my life.  I’m a child of the 60’s, a baby boomer.  I’ve gone through upheavals before and I’ve never been afraid of change.  As a matter of fact, I relish it.  I thrive on it.  But like Zechariah, I’m getting on in years and I’ve been afraid to face the angels that are being sent to me.  What could God possibly have in mind?  Why do these changes have to happen now?

How many of us walk past our angels without noticing them, or miss the message they deliver?  How many angels go unrecognized and overlooked?   So I’m trying to look for the angels in my life so that I can recognize them when they come and not let their message blow by me.  I want to be more like Elizabeth and Mary who didn’t question their angel, but accepted the message and let it be done.

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All in the Family

A family is a aggregate of personalities and habits molded and bound together by the forces of time and love.  It is a collective memory encompassing blissful days of laughter, loving and joy, enduring, striving and surviving.  It is legends and tales of sunshine and rain, snow and ice, dark and light.  It is a corner cupboard drawer filled with the hurts and regrets from things said but not really meant that will be opened in time so it’s contents can be examined and thrown away.   It is the stories, told over and over, of those who have gone before that point to marks in an unfinished timeline saying, “There, that’s where you began, that’s your story.”  It is a communal song whose tones are unrecognized by those who aren’t part of the chorus, but whose melody can be learned by the ones who resonate with it’s timbre.  It is genetic chains of smiles, eyes, bone structures, wit, dispositions and predispositions, thought and talent.  It is new branches grafted onto the trunk of the old tree, growing in a new direction, yet becoming part of the whole, making it even stronger.

Children come into the world as tender blossoms in the spring.  They are strangers, gifts whose giftedness is only revealed through time and nurture.  Although they are family, they are not entirely familiar because their hearts and minds are sprung from a vast pool of possibilities, all bequeathed to them by generations of genetic estates.

Days pass and growth continues until, unexpectedly, the tree is shaken to its core by the turning of the earth and the blowing of the wind.  Yet because it’s roots of love are so deep and wide, it is anchored tight and remains standing, in spite of the winds of storms or the heat of drought.  All at once, the wind will calm, the rain will be gentle, the sun will provide it’s warm benediction, and fragrant blossoms begin to paint the landscape once more.

This family, whose seeds were planted by long forgotten generations of fathers and mothers, nurtured by love, blessed at it’s beginning by promise, held together by covenant and braced by prayer and the grace of God, is once again proving itself to be stronger than the forces that seek to topple it.    The branches are reaching to the sun and giving thanks for the light.  A divine institution, indeed.

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School’s Out!

This year marked the first June since 1959 that I wasn’t excited about the last day of school because for the first time since 1959 I wasn’t in school.

My school career began in a wonderful little kindergarten run by the Sisters of Mercy.  I started a year early because I was so hyperactive that they needed to get me out of the house.  And so I was thrust upon on poor Sister Damien, an apple cheeked, jovial nun who eventually wrote a book about the hilarious things her students said over her 50 years of teaching.  “P is for Puppy so lively and quick” was my part of the graduation ceremonies and I can still remember the dress I wore for my first public performance.  I enjoyed kindergarten, but, sadly,  I was made to move on to the educational equivalent of the third ring of hell.

In first grade Sister Christine discovered that, although I was pretty intelligent, I was a handful so I spent many a day in a corner thinking about what I did wrong.  The problem was I couldn’t remember why I was in trouble, so I didn’t know what I did wrong.  In second grade, Sister Thomas Ann used me for the Confession practice dummy so she could mention sins that I’d surely forget once I got there.   We had to list our terrible crimes, venial and mortal and the number of times we committed them;  how many times you hit your sister, sassed your mother or spit on a classmate.  I had no idea.  Dozens?  Hundreds?  Sister was quick to supply the number; two-hundred and eighty six lies, seventy-two times disrespecting my teacher.  In third grade, Sister Ann sent home a card expressing her concern for the health of my mother.  I couldn’t do my homework because my poor mom was at death’s door.  Actually, she was just fine.  You get the idea.  The educational system and I were never on good terms.  School was torture, plain and simple, because no one knew what to do with me.  They hadn’t invented ADHD yet.  Perhaps I did.

Despite the trials and tribulations of getting through the Catholic School system, I managed to graduate from college with a teaching certification.  There was no question that I wanted to teach in a Catholic School.  I didn’t even consider public school, and so I shopped my music degree to local parishes.  Eventually I was hired as both  a music teacher at the school and music director for the parish.  I’ve never left that position – until this year.

An older teacher friend of mine told me that I’d know when it was time to put my chalk away.  She was right.  After thirty-five years I realized that my passion was beginning to become a job, so  this year, for the first time since I was four years old, I wasn’t in school, even though I’m still working at the parish.   I did miss the kids, though, and the great times with my fellow teachers.  I always loved it so much, but it was time to move on.

I received a message from the school last week, asking me to play for  the closing school Mass.  Because of another commitment, the music teacher who had taken over for me was unavailable, so they needed me and I came happily.   The last day of school is awesome.  It was so wonderful to be with the kids again, sharing in that unique blend of excitement and joy that happens on the last day of school when endings and beginnings meet.

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Happy Birthday To Us All

Pentecost means so much more this year.  As Director of Social Media and Evangelization, I’m in charge of all the electronic communications and evangelization in the parish.  So I sent a special invitation to our Daily Inspirations subscribers to join together to pray the Novena to the Holy Spirit each day from Friday, the day after Ascension, to Saturday, the Vigil of Pentecost.  We got around 100 subscribers, more than I thought we would.  It was a very cool thought that at least  100 of our  friends were praying the same prayers each day.  What an incredible blessing for our parish!  I’m waiting to see what the fruits were.  I know it helped me  come up with a new creation –Hymn to the Holy Spirit .

So anyway, on Pentecost I always want to play “Happy Birthday” after we sing, “Thanks be to God, Alleluia!  Alleluia!”  However, I get to do the Golden Sequence, so I’ll take that instead.  This year Father decided to do something really awesome – he had someone carry the Easter Candle out of the church with the ministers at the recessional representing the end of the Easter Season.  He’s very big into visual representations and I thought this was quite powerful.

Thinking about the apostles crowded together in the upper room when the Holy Spirit came on them I have to smile.  It must have been a sight to see, probably chaotic to say the least.  They poured out of the room and started preaching and healing and teaching and here we are.  So anyway, Happy Birthday, Church of God, Elect and Glorious!

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What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Marriage is big news these days, especially since the president said in a recent interview that he now supports gay marriage.  People from the left and right are weighing in.  Some point to the constitution, some to the bible.  Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden are insisting that this statement is in line with the way they understand the teachings of their Catholic faith.  Really?

Recently, Discovery news published an article called “Marriage’s Bumpy History.”  According to Discovery, marriage between the ancients originated as a way to give a man complete access to a woman and insure a his paternity of their children.  Eventually it evolved to become  a contract between two families as a means of increasing power, status and mutual protection by strengthening bonds between their households, tribes or fiefdoms.  Of course, it was the men in the family who did the arrangements.  Women didn’t figure into the equation at all.

They were currency, little more than slaves with no rights or say in how they would spend the rest of their days or with whom.  If they were contracted to a ferocious or abusive man, so be it.  According to Discovery the Church didn’t get into the Marriage business until the 11th Century when a thoughtful monk got the great idea that marriage should be a consent between the two people who are marrying.  And so in the 12th Century the Church formalized the marriage vows and it took it’s place as one of the seven sacraments.  In many countries even today parents will still arrange the marriages of their children and women are still considered property, first of their father and then of their husband.

Somehow in America this notion of women as property has been elevated to the revered status of “tradition.”  Recently I was trying to help a young bride choose music for her Wedding liturgy.  There are now several options for the processional into the church.  The bride can choose to have both her father and her mother bring her down the aisle.  In the same way the groom may choose to be escorted by his parents.  Another option allows for the bride and groom to come in together.  When I mentioned this the reaction of the bride was of total shock and horror.  You would have thought that I suggested that she enter the church wearing fishnet stockings and black leather boots.  How could she even think about letting the groom see her in her dress before she got to the altar?  It’s bad luck, don’t you know, for the groom to see the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony.  I tried to explain that this particular tradition began during the time of arranged marriages, when a bride and groom might not even know who they were marrying until they reached the altar.  It’s a relic of the days when marriage was a legal contract between fathers or a girl’s father and a young suitor, sometimes even decided when children were infants.  The father would walk his lovely young daughter down the aisle and “give her away” placing the girl’s hand into the grooms as well as the understanding of the exchange of money, property, goats or chickens.  He brought a dowry so that the young man would take her off his hands.  The groom would lift the veil and check to make sure the father brought the goods and didn’t try to pull a fast one.

“You mean my Daddy wouldn’t walk me down the aisle?” she asked wide eyed.  “You mean I wouldn’t get to walk my little girl down the aisle?”  This last statement came from my husband when I told him about the meeting.  “No one’s going to tell me I can’t walk my little girl down the aisle.  I’m with the bride on this one.  It’s my prerogative  as a daddy.  She’s my little girl, not some puppy I raised just to give away to some slacker…”  He was genuinely worked up and on a roll.   I can understand that a little girl, especially in America, dreams of the day her daddy will walk her down the aisle to “give her away” to that special someone.  I didn’t realize that it just might be daddy’s dream to walk his little girl down the aisle and look into a young man’s eyes as if to say, “You’d better be good to her or you’ll be dealing with me.”   Okay, honey, but do you realize….never mind.

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All in a Day’s Work

The laptop shut down yesterday for no good reason.  Just turned black and the lights went out.  Luckily I was able to get it up long enough to get everything backed up, but my fate was sealed.  I was condemned to spend the day with Tech Support.  The guys in tech support are from – well, I’m not sure, but I prefer to use the chat feature for two reasons: 1) I don’t have to spend extra brain seconds interpreting what I think they’re saying and 2) They take over the machine from wherever it is that they work and fix it for me.  I can’t hear the sound of their voices so I don’t know whether or not  they’re making fun of me for having such a stupid problem, but I don’t care.  That’s what they’re there to do, give help to the helpless.

I’ve been around the block long enough to know that when you buy a laptop and work it as hard as I work mine, you buy a good warranty with premium tech support.  They have to be nice to you when you’ve done that.  So Vinyh and I spent some quality time together yesterday that resulted in me spending more quality time with Noor last night, but the problem’s fixed and that’s all I care about.

So now I’m back to working on a through composed Gloria to use for Ordinary Time.  The new Roman Missal translation is difficult to try to score because the language is so awkward and disjointed.  There has to be enough repetition to make it learnable, but not too much so that it becomes boring.  It needs to sound joyful, after all it does open with “Glory to God in the Highest,” but I was unable to make 6/8 rhythms works without doing a refrain-verses form.  So I managed to compose one that’s in 4/4 and in a reasonable key.  Everything I do has to be in a reasonable key or I hear about it from my congregation – nothing higher than a D1 and don’t go there too often.

So I crafted one together and I’ll try it out on my choir tonight.   They’re pretty honest about my compositions and I can tell when they don’t care for something.  They’re honest, sweet people who give the church their time and talent in the music ministry but they all have day jobs, so if it flies with them I know it will fly with the congregation.  We’ll see how it goes.

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