I’m looking toward Easter and resurrection - bringing new life into what is dead. Raising someone who is truly and literally dead as Jesus was is full on resurrection. I love the words of Luke 24:6, (the angels say) "He is not here; for he is risen." I love those words for so many reasons, one being they remind me of God's incredible goodness and that God still continues to bring life out of death.
Being on the wholehearted journey means we also take seriously the invitation to resurrect in our lives what we fear is dead because the shame gremlins tell us it is so.
What keeps us from resurrecting something we know has in the past or believe will give us life? Our joy might be stolen by thoughts and messages like:
I’m too old to do that.
I gave up playing the piano years ago.
I’ve always been scattered; I have a million unfinished projects around my house.
Where would I even start?
You never finish what you start.
Looking back, I realize becoming a mom 7.5 years ago, opened my heart and world up in beautiful ways . . . I love being a mom, I'm deeply grateful for our children . . . but becoming a mom also made my world smaller. I started to think about the things that fed my soul as BC activities - “Before Children” and being in AC time - "After Children" - the messages cropped up that these things are actually self-indulgent and I can do them when - when the kids are in school, when the laundry is folded, when the toilet is cleaned. . . Which sounds like a reasonable agreement but there’s always one more ‘when.’
And how does listening to the conditional 'when' honor the God given talent I have in singing? Or the sacrificial investment of training my parents made? Or the vocal scholarships Concordia College and McPhail School of Music awarded me? Quite simply, it doesn’t.
How does listening to ‘when’ continue the legacy of music past from my grandma to my dad to me and hopefully on to my children? How does silencing my voice model for my children our family values of ‘we do hard things’ and 'the Ciavarri's never give up?' Quite simply, it doesn’t.
And how am I making the world a better place or serving my neighbor by listening to that ‘when’? Quite simply, I’m not.
I believe more strongly than ever what St. Irenaeus said centuries ago, “A life well lived is the best gift one can give back to God.” Our wholehearted lives are a process of knowing what to let go of and what to fervently hold on to; what serves us well (and by extension, others) and what steals our joy; what puts fire in our bellies and what drains our energy.
So, I’m resurrecting my singing voice.
The back story: I used to sing and I was pretty good at it; some people actually paid me to do it, I cut a CD. It brought me great joy and has been integral in shaping my self-identity. I could sit at the piano and play and sing for truly hours; simply in flow - lost to myself and time and always wanting to sing or play just one more song.
And then I became a mom and lost my voice.
I didn’t practice long breathing tones; I didn’t run scales. There wasn’t the time. Over the years, I got to the point where I wasn’t sure what was going to come out when I opened my mouth - was my voice going to crack on the D (where my break sits)? I still sang in the worship band but my voice was far more fatigued afterwards than it should have been. And then the gremlin of comparison hunkered down and I compared my current state to what I had been able to do.
I didn’t even want to hear my own voice.
But I do now. I’m singing again. I’m learning to trust my voice again. I’m running scales and extending my range (hello high A. Remember me? Can you introduce me to your neighbor, high B?) And to my great delight I’m not resurrecting what is died but what was dormant. I’m not starting over from nothing; this gift had been there all along . . . the shame gremlins just had convinced me it wasn’t any more.
I’m singing again. And you know what? I’m liking what I hear :).