Monday, December 22, 2008

Manic Monday: Tree

The tree boughs were sagging with the weight of the white blanket that the sky gently laid down. They looked tired. I stared at them for a long time wanting to go and give them a good shake to relieve them of their burden. I smiled because that's just how I felt- relieved of my burden. The funny thing was, I didn't even know I carried the load until I woke up dreaming bad dreams about today.

I dreamed that the program was starting. I was in charge and I was at the back of the chapel. I thought that I was supposed to be there, but then I realized that I was in the wrong place and I needed to be up front. Strangely, as I realized this, the chapel was suddenly about two miles long and I knew I'd never make it up there in time because it had already started and the pianist was waiting for me to cue them to start.

I panicked, so Dustin and I ran outside and he drove me to the front of the chapel (which had become an ultra long trek). When I ran in the door, the Primary Chorister had brought all the Primary kids up to the stand early since I wasn't there to coordinate it. The pianist (Maria, for real) was playing the intro of Joy To The World over and over waiting for me. As I got up to where I would lead, the Primary kids were in the way and the pianist and the organist couldn't see me. I moved them several times, but they just kept drifting back in my way and I hit them with my arm as I led the song. I woke up in a panic and everytime I'd fall asleep again, I 'd dream something else bad. Finally I gave up and got out of bed at 7:30 on a Sunday morning... unheard of for me!

Needless to say, I was nervous and felt the weight of coordinating and carrying out my church Christmas program. Had I thought of everything? Had I miscalculated the time? Would the speakers go on too long and make us get out late? Would I remember to stand the choir up before they sing? Would someone bump my music stand in the shuffle of singers and send my music flying with a loud crash? Would I forget the cut-offs?

I was so busy worrying that I couldn't even enjoy it or tell if it was going smoothly or not. It felt choppy and disjointed. Don't get me wrong, there were tender moments... hearing the speaker talk of a Christmas in her childhood when she got a single stuffed bear for Christmas and her joy was full... hearing my brother sing with tender strength about Joseph guarding the baby Jesus... seeing my little Ella and her friends Emma and Angie sing "Away In A Manger" with their sweet, little, child-voices... hearing Maria's piano solo and letting the beauty of that performance make me feel buoyant and light... but those tender moments were constantly buried by the bigger worry about the clock, the time signatures and the cut-offs. Was anybody feeling the spirit and the message or were they picking up on my freaky-worried vibes? Was that a blank, bored face I just saw, or was he just absent from his body as the music carried him to a place only he could see and experience? I was neurotic. I was a roller coaster.

Then... the final cutoff came. I listened as the prayer blew threw my wind tunnel ears... I couldn't hear it, but it didn't matter. It was over and I was relieved. Relief was something I expected. What I didn't expect was fulfillment. There was a need in me that had somehow eluded my awareness and was now making itself known.

As person after person came to me with tears in their eyes expressing the beauty of the last hour, tears began to fill mine. My own aunt hugged me, crying, and told me that I had "saved her Christmas". Someone else told me that was the best church Christmas music program she had ever experienced. Another person held my face in her hands as she thanked me over and over. And yet another held my hands and told me how perfectly wonderful it was and how it was just what she needed. There were more... my mom, my dad, the Bishop, the Bishop's wife, a few choir members... they just kept coming and I was totally overwhelmed.

I really didn't do that much... except shoulder some responsibility, execute a plan that I had a lot of help with (thank you), and listen to other people make beautiful music.

It was the spirit of the music, the people and the Savior, Jesus Christ, that did all the work. It was touching to so many people and, even though I was too busy worrying to notice, I was bombarded with feelings joy and gratitude and service when it was all over because people shared how it touched them. I couldn't believe that I missed their joy and that I actually wondered if people were bored and thinking "Enough music, already!".

And then, as I went home, I was overcome with gratitude to my Heavenly Father for giving me the gift of arranging all of this, participating in it, and working with the many people who helped pull it off. I was overcome with the Spirit and I felt joy and love pulsing from me like a heartbeat and I thanked Him for my joy and my experience.

I feel humbled and gratified in a way that was so very unexpected. The world will never know, but for this little bit of my blog, the gladness of my heart and the magic of song, season and service.


Emilee said...

Next year we are wanting to come...INVITE INVITE INVITE! I know you and I know you are SOOO talented but the fact that you were worried tells that you are humble and modest in your thoughts. I wish I could have been there lady. REALLY...missin ya...Em

Maria Hart said...

Nice try kiddo. You are as bad as my kids when asked, "Who made this mess?" Inevitably "Not me! I don't know! It was Keller!" fill my ears. At some point you need to learn to sit back and bask in the glow of accomplishing something big, and hard, and wonderfully beautiful. You did the planning, the preparing, the scheduling, the assembling, the coordinating, the stressing, the leading... that is big... hard work. You deserve every bit of the effusive praise you received, and more of the unspoken praise that was thought and never spoken. It is profoundly satisfying as a musician to participate in that calibre of a program. Thank you for letting me be a part of it. (And I am extremely sorry my nerves could not settle my shaky bow arm - your brother deserved a little better!)

Ginny said...

although i am sorry about the anticipation dreams, i am thrilled that you got to create in a way that is your core. oh how i would have loved to have been there. i agree with Maria (although she has much more clout in her comments since she was there and took part) that you should sit back as a tree saved from the weight of the dense snow and enjoy the glistening beauty of which you are an integral part!

well done, miss clancy!

Polly said...

Well, just reading it made me cry, so I'm sure that it was beautiful.

I had no idea that you were coordinating/leading the Christmas program! Kudos and Congrats.

You'll have to type up the general outline.

Love you!

Genene said...

Hello My Darling One,

It's so interesting to read your post and know more about the depth of your unspoken, "un"-obvious feelings during the whole process of the "Christmas Program"!

I'll just comment to say, in front of any of your readers, that it was THE VERY BEST CHRISTMAS PROGRAM I've seen or participated in. Part of the reason for that is the fact that it was so similar in feeling and spirit to the Christmas's of my youth. Part of it was the Spirit that was that was there as a result of your planning, intuitiveness and creativity. (this is another chapter's worth! All excellent choices made by you for voice caliber, song choices, pianist, organist, speakers etc., etc.,) Part of it was the willingness and desire of ALL the participants to partake in creating something meaningful and give of themselves. And yes, part of it was the Spirit of God & Jesus the Christ who rejoice in that kind of celebration, because of the feelings it engenders in most of us about the birth of the only begotten of the Father, and because it sustains and renews the feelings that make it all seem real & worthwhile.

I feel grateful for you & your efforts in the Christmas program and the feelings it brought back to me of the depth of "true" feeling I have for Christ.

Thank you Clancy
I love you

Leah said...

I LOVE reading your manic mondays... You word things so well and generally take a different spin than I would have thought to have done.

Travis said...

Maybe someone video-taped it so you can watch it back and enjoy it. Next time, be sure to build your own enjoyment into the program!

Cheers and Joyous Yule to you!

Kristin said...

It sounds wonderful. I wish I could have been there. For our Christmas program I was in and out dealing with Daniel (feeding, getting him to sleep, dealing with a blowout). I felt bad because I was totally not "there". I'm so glad yours turned out. You have been blessed with a wonderful talent. You clearly use it well!

Love ya'!

Kristin said...

Okay, so I like to leave my comment before I read others, so you get my immediate response. However, I just read your mom's comment and cried. Still lovin' you!

Merrianne said...

great story!!! i hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

bv said...

Clancy, my love. You continue to amaze me. Oh how I love and adore you. I read this and knew instantly just how beautiful it was. Then I read Maria's, Ginny's and your Mom's comments and my heart swelled even more. You are nothing short of an angel and beautiful in every way. Merry Christmas, my talented and blessed friend! xoxo

Teri said...

Way to go, Clancy. Jim and I always enjoyed being part of your choir. I also miss singing and playing guitars together. We should have done that more.

Ashley said...

Wow it must have been an amazing program! I wish I could have been there! I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Emilee said...

I saw your cute little ma in Sams yesterday and had to run her down and tell her what a WONDERFUL daughter she made. I have learned SO much from you and try to be like you in so many ways....Have a Merry Christmas. Love Ya...Em