Saturday, 19 April 2014

The song in my heart

I heard it again the other day: “Do what makes your heart sing.” It’s become a common saying, and the sentiment is good.  But... (there’s always a “but”, isn’t there?) there’s something about the phrase that niggles at me. I’ve been noodling about it this week.

My first memory of a heartsong moment is when I was 4 years old, sitting in church between my parents. When the congregation rose to sing a song I knew, one with a rousing refrain, I sang along with great joy. It was a formative spiritual moment: music sung in a community that enfolded me.

Another heartsong moment occurred when I was 10. On a springtime Saturday morning, I took off on my new bike, all by myself. On the trip I noticed blue flowers growing in the ditch. I knelt in awe beside the beauty. My heart sang in this experience of freedom, beauty and solitude.

I’ve had  many more heartsong moments: cuddling a tiny baby; watching children play alone in all innocence, lost in their own world; walking in the woods, with beauty all around; quiet moments at home with the resident sweetie; working for hours in my studio, writing or quilting. I’m sure you have your own moments that make your heart sing, and it’s an important practice to remember them.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could orchestrate heartsong moments and always live in them? We could string them together like pearls on a necklace, and life would glow with beauty. Our lives would be one long Alleluia.   

But ... but ... there’s more. Feeling joyful and safe in church was a highlight when I was four; being in church with grumblers and gripers when I was 14 almost put an end to the song. Biking the backroads and finding beauty in the ditches was lovely; but roads have hard hills, and ditches also sprout garbage. Tiny babies get up in the night and disturb your sleep, and children can only be lost in their own worlds for a little while before deciding to pick a fight with their sisters. The RS and I aren’t always content (I’ll spare you the details; they’re off the record.) There are so many forces at play that try to extinguish the song of our hearts.

Right now, my heartsong is muted. I am working on a project that got me all excited weeks ago when I was learning a new skill. But now the new thing is getting tedious. I need to finish it, but that’s drudgery, and taking way longer than I want it to. What happened to the song? Has the music died?

There is progress on my improvisational quilt, but where to go from here?

 A friend described a mutual acquaintance as a person who had a sense of the song in her heart, and the courage to follow it. Ah, there’s the rub. It’s easy to do the thing that makes your heart sing when the song is loud and clear. It takes courage to follow the song in our hearts, and especially to believe in the song, when the volume is turned down, way down, drowned out by other noises.
Today is Easter Sunday, the day that rings out with songs of joy. Whatever your spiritual persuasion, you can still be stirred by the universal message of the Easter story. It’s all about having a heartsong and the courage to follow it. The Creator had a heartsong and acted on it. We – all God’s creatures, and the creation we live in – are the result of that song. The thing planted within us that makes our heart sing is part of who we are. 

When the song within us was lost, Courage stepped up and in love, did the hard thing to restore the music. The message of Easter is that the song planted within us cannot die. The name of the song is Love, and love is stronger than death.

I did screw up my courage and work on the improvisational quilt project, which came out okay, after all. (More about that next week.) And then I created an Easter crow. Do crows sing, or do they only squawk and make noises? Do squawks and caws sound like wonderful music to crows' ears? I choose to believe that even the crow has a song in her heart, and sings it out to the world. I name this piece Easter Morning Alleluia. Working on it made my heart sing – I hope it makes you happy too.

Check out my friend Joy’s blog Life by the Swake for a story about hope at Easter. Here's the link to her page:

And here’s an Easter morning story, and an Easter morning song, that tells far better than I can what it’s all about:

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