Spirituality, singing, and being a musical cripple.

I’ve realised in the last little while that my intellectual life is rich and varied – and my spiritual life is barren, a void. Howling winds was the image that came to mind when I was asked to describe my spiritual life as a landscape: cold and searing and bleak; un-nourishing. 

So this is something I’ve been focusing on: learning to feed my spirituality, become one with it, allow it to feed me. Learn to live the fact that I dwell within the love of the divine Creator. Learn to flourish in that, to allow that knowledge to permeate my very being; Learn to face the Source of love, vulnerable and hurting, without cringing away from the compassion It cannot help but offer.

It’s funny, because singing is such a huge part of my life, that I’ve never really acknowledged singing as an activity of spirituality. I’ve never really owned to myself just how great a portion of my spirituality comes from my singing – and therefore just how great a grief it is that singing is so hard, so debilitatingly painful, right now. But I think that, until I do own up to that, I’ll never work through that grief. I’ll never work through that difficulty, that pain, my body and mind’s uncontrollable response to the trauma I’ve experienced – a response which is now triggered, horribly, by the very beauty of the music I sing every week.

I don’t know what to do about it, but I think that all I can do is remind myself that I dwell within the love of God in everything I do. I am held by a compassion so great, and so kind, that I cannot possibly understand it, cannot possibly withstand it, but must open myself to it in tremulous trust that I will not be swept away and destroyed by it.

And my singing is part of that. As I open myself to the Creator, to the Source of my being Which is closer to me than my own breath, I hope that the peace of the Origin of peace will flow through me into the music I sing. I hope that the great and gentle Mystery in which I dwell will become manifest in music, in the movement of air through lungs and larynx to become pure and beautiful sound, merging with the voices of others in harmonies I can’t begin to describe.

One day, I want to be able to sing the mystery of the Mass. One day, I want to be able to sing the reality I’m only just beginning to discover, to explore, to trust. One day, I want to live it.

For now, though, I’ll settle for not being a musical cripple. That’ll do nicely, to start with.

 

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2 thoughts on “Spirituality, singing, and being a musical cripple.

  1. How can you write this stuff and still say that your spiritual life is barren? IT’S NOT! Don’t keep beating yourself up about it, accept that we all respond differently … and none of us ever reach the perfection that you demand of yourself. GOD UNDERSTANDS!

  2. Your intellectual life is indeed rich and varied. Your spiritual life operates in a different way but is still more active and energized than many that I know. Don’t view you spiritual life through an intellectual lens. When you view your spiritual life through a spiritual lens you will see that God loves and understands you; God doesn’t demand perfection, just honesty and a yearning to live in the Spirit. So rather than being a barren void with howling winds, your spiritual life is in reality a journey of honesty and integrity towards, and in the strength of, the living God.

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