Making Miracles

Posted: March 23, 2010 in Making Miracles

March 22, 2010

I could feel it in my throat. No, I could literally taste it as the pain pulsated from my stomach into my neck. My muscles tensed and the constant reminder of the collecting droplets caused my mind to vibrate.

I literally felt myself releasing my bladder and peeing my pants.

I walked around an unknown area trying to find a corner, but none would suffice. I was uneasy about the possibility of getting caught or possibly disturbing an unseen stray animal. I walked back towards the church, yelling out my objections to locked doors and waited to be let in. I tore towards the bathroom. My phone fell inches away from landing in the toilet. I shrugged:

Oh well, I can use a new one.

I returned to the main cathedral and took in the sights.

Rows of benches lined a room half the size of a football field. A balcony could be seen in the back, creating more space to… play. I fought every urge within me to climb the rafters and lean over pretending I was on the bow of a ship. I turned around towards the front.

My eyes took in the pulpit and podium as I imagined what the church looked like filled with music and full of people. I shimmed through one of the rows. I paused:

Hmmm, they have little padded foot rests. That is such a good idea for when people take their shoes off and need a little comfort.

I took note.

Kristin’s voice broke through my astonishment and I remembered why I was there.

It was a benefit rehearsal for her aunt who has been struck with a terrible illness. Every time I sweep through Kristin’s page, doing my regular stalk her blog patrol, I can’t help but fall upon images of her aunt. I create pictures in my mind using the words Kristin has spoken to describe her. I massage my compassions for her through my thoughts. I faint, slightly, within. My daydream lifts me a little:

Aren’t you glad you are going to help?

I nodded.

I turned towards the piano and walked up to five guys circling the bulky instrument, three of the faces I have never seen. We exchanged names and handshakes and I felt a solid feeling within. I spoke to myself:

“Where is your nervousness?”

My mind traced back to the beginning of RENT. I always held that nervous monkey inside my chest at the slightest disturbance. I was a foreigner in an unknown land, an outcast, not a theatre person. Yet, there I stood amongst unfamiliar faces readying myself to sing and nothing within me twanged, not even a slight tremor.

My right cheek moved skywards as my eyes twinkled behind frames:

I like this!

The song started. Chris, the soloist for Lean on Me, began. My thoughts lifted him:

Wow, this dude has an amazing rock style voice.

I smiled. Still, nothing gripped me that resembled unsteadiness. Dominic tore into his solo:

WOW! I have spent five months with this dude and I didn’t know he had such an amazing soulful tone.

I felt myself playfully nudging him as my words sprang out:

”Do the Dang Thing!”

My mind flew:

I love his voice!

Soon, the five of us, with the sixth playing the piano, were cascading through the song with complimentary ease. Each added riffs and embellishments as the song neared the end and it seemed as if we had all been amongst each other, known each other for years. We laughed and supported one another as lifelong friends.

It was all too comfortable.

Next came Oh Happy Day.

When I received the e-mail of this selection I jumped at the love I felt for the song. I remember pretending I was the shy guy singing the solo, dancing through the hallways pretending pews were to the right and left of me.

I screamed, yelled and hollered my way through the piece and when I reached his pinnacle of notes, I soared to it and through it with ease. Within me laid pride, accomplishment, around me were the huddled voices of my family, demanding my silence.

That was pre-puberty.

As I sped towards the church, finally remembering to listen to the song, I forgot how high it was and how much deeper my post-puberty voice had gotten. I mastered the note, amateurly, twice in the car and contemplated going for it during rehearsal. I spoke to Kristin:

“Do I have to hit that note?”

She replied:

“You don’t have to, but just go for it and see what happens.”

I tried belting it a few more times, feebly, and decided to just go for it when the time came.

With the women joining the men, I had a full backing. The beginning solos were beautifully performed by Dominic and Tommy, and I waited for my ad-libs to come about. They reached my part:

“HE TAUGHT ME HOW!”

I felt it again.

I saw myself back in my hallway singing to the empty air. I danced down the aisle of this unknown church and felt every part of me being lifted towards the sky. With each note I felt higher, lighter, more secure. I was experiencing feelings beyond fun. Then my time came about. I started:

“When Jesus washed!”

The chorus repeated. I went in for the second lead:

“When Jesus washed!”

They repeated.

I felt my confidence reach towards the ceiling, scaling the beams that held the roof in place. I just knew I could hit the note. I took a deep breath. I looked towards the balcony. I felt a surge of energy run through me like an alternating current of joy. I knew I could hit it. I went for it:

“When Jesus Waaaaaaa!”

If there were a dying cat it had planted its last screeching breath into my throat. The note was loud and proud. Above all, it was sinfully wrong. If I were a car that was the moment when I applied my brakes, hit a patch of black ice and spun out of control. In my spin I hit a tree.

The tree’s name was Kristin.

I looked back towards the group, hoping that, somehow, everyone went deaf and my folly went unnoticed. It wasn’t. It had slammed head on into Kristin. I could tell.

Her face fell to the piano and her body began the first stages of a collapse, her legs losing strength. Laughter filled her lungs as my vocal wreckage hit her body. She found her resting place underneath the piano, and soon, as I spun to a stop, I joined her, overcome with hysterics.

The rest of the traffic tried to move on; however, I had begun a vocal pile up – vocal traffic jam.

People lost their places and I tried to sing through my laughter but my wheels only spun out of control. Pretty soon the constant flow of vocal traffic was dazed and confused.

It was my fault.

Kristin called for attention, finally recovering from my fatal blow:

“Okay, can we go back. We kind of lost it after that thing Jeremy did.”

I smiled. It was a beautiful mistake, and I enjoyed every part of it. My voice recovered from the wreckage and, anchoring on the crutches of cautious, I belted the tune out again and again.

Every now and then my wheels skidded, but I stayed on course.

The girls moved into their selection and I took solace in my mental monologue:

It feels good to be able to sing with no pressure. For once I get to use my full, bullhorn voice without restrictions, constraints or rules. Yeah, I’m loud….

I moved over to two faces I didn’t know and commenced to converse. I talked to Chris first.

He seemed to be full of life and wrapped in the enjoyment of a new day. His radiance reached outside of him with every word spoken. I appreciated his energy. Then there was Kevin. He seemed a bit more reserved and respectfully quiet, humble even. The expressions on his face told more of a story than his words and I enjoyed reading each new movement he brought forth. Finally, we were brought together to sing the finale of the event.

I laughed:

“I don’t know this junk.”

I kindly wedged myself between Dominic (double RENT) and my dance partner’s sister, Barb. They had a better grasp of the song and I decided that I would sing whatever came to me, using them as bridges to my next note. I turned to Barb:

“I don’t know what I am doing so I am just going to sing Next.”

She paused, I finished:

“Basically, that means I am gonna sing whatever note the person NEXT to me is singing.”

We sprinted, walked and crawled through the song until we finally found a pace. With each passing through of notes I found myself easily grasping my parts. I fell into self-created harmonies and oddly gripped the words that were, minutes before, foreign to me.

I blanketed myself in the comfort of the feeling. It felt nice.

Finally, we all began preparing for our departure. I grabbed my bag and inched towards the door hanging onto any lingering second I could spend with the people surrounding me.

I took no thought of denying myself a dramatic embrace with Brendan (one song glory) as I pretended to lose my footing as if I hadn’t seen him in year’s time. I sprang to my feet, proclaiming:

“Okay, that’s it. Enough love.”

I brushed myself off and turned

He chuckled and I moved closer towards the door, still hanging on to the presence of those around me. My march was interrupted. Joe, the gracious piano player, began to speak to me:

“Hey…”

I turned my attention to him, laughing as he repeated the false name I gave him.

“…Jeremity, do you sing in church or something?”

I nodded my head yes, knowing what would come out of his mouth. My mind placed the words:

You are very loud…

He continued:

“Yeah, I figured you must…”

I waited still for that defining proclamation of my bullhorn, unseasoned voice box. He finished, an approving smile brightening his reddening face:

“…you have a GREAT voice.”

My insides were stunned, jolted. I tried to mutter a thank you. I felt my lips move and form one, but my mind took no notice to my voice anymore. It was shocked, frozen in time, rehearsing his words:

Me? Great voice? Huh?

I stared at him, half smiling half dumbfounded that he looked past my vocal screech. As I applied the training wheels to my rendition of Oh Happy Day, I was astonished that he saw a ten speed, a Yamaha Cruiser.

I lost track of person, place and thing:

A stranger simply stated I had a great voice. He took in the entirety of my vocal chords, for the first time, and rated it approved. Most have labeled it loud, overbearing, volumesque, but never great.

I stared into Joe’s face trying to read between his smile. It sparked approval in me.

I lost connection to words. His were enough to feed my unsteady soul.

I muttered a few phrases back to him; my shock still refused to allow me to hear myself. I silently prayed a thank you was mixed in there. I watched him walk away, I felt appraised.

I found myself in my truck, driving to work, fueled on the kindness of a stranger.

Earlier in the night, Karen had paid me an uplifting compliment as well:

“Jeremy, I’m sorry, I just can’t look at you without smiling.”

A bigger smile spread across her face, hugging the same expression she had put on mine.

Karen’s words sparked my insides. And then Joe came along and ignited my soul

I know that night’s rehearsal was meant to usher in a miracle for Kristin’s aunt, but somehow, along the way, God sent a miracle to me. He thrusts unsolicited kindness at me causing scales to fall from my eyes.

The kindness of a word may cost nothing; however, its effectual worth is immeasurable, better than gold, surpassing platinum – priceless!

—————————————–

People may not remember the things you say, or what you have done; however, they will ALWAYS remember how you made them feel! ~Unknown

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